When it comes to getting married there are so many things to think about. The food, the flowers, the dress, the venue- shall I go on? One of the most important items that may not be at the front of your mind is…
THE MARRIAGE LICENSE! Oh yeah, kind of an important detail!
A marriage license is the legal document obtained by you and your lover prior to the big day. This document legally binds the two of you together and will play a big part in changing your name if/when you decide to do so. It also must be picked up in the state that you get married in - this is important to note if you're planning a destination wedding!
Below is a list of 3 helpful hints for obtaining your wedding license.
Step 1: Set a Date and Pick a Place for Your Wedding
Before you can apply for your marriage license you need to know when and where you plan to make it official.
Unlike some states, in Utah, there is no waiting period in between the time you get the license and when you can get hitched. However, once you have the license in hand you only have 32 days to tie the knot and have the form signed and returned or it will expire.
Asking the officiant, a trusted friend or family member, or even someone in your bridal party, to get this returned for you is a great idea! Then, when the big day comes to an end you can relax and enjoy your honeymoon without a care in the world!
Step 2: Plan and Prepare to Visit the County Clerk’s Office
Now that you know where and when you plan on tying the knot we can discuss what you will need when you visit the County Clerk’s Office in the area where you are getting married. I recommend doing this AT LEAST one week prior to your wedding. Each state has different requirements so be sure to contact your county clerk to ensure you are prepared.
Both you and your soon-to-be husband will need to be present when you apply for the marriage license. Some states require a witness (someone who has known you at least 6mos) to be present as well. So, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a friend or family member along. Instead of making it a chore, celebrate this day! Take your witnesses out for dinner and/or drinks! Enjoy yourself and take lots of photos to commemorate the special moment! <3
Here is a list of the items each of you will need to be prepared with (at least for the state of Utah!).
· Identification (State ID card, driver’s license, passport and/or birth certificate)
· Social Security Card
· Personal Information (Full name, address, date and place of birth)
· Your Parents Personal Information (Names, place of birth, birthdates, date(s) of passing [if applicable] and maiden names for each set of parents)
· Payment (typically $30.00 - $150.00 depending on the state; check or cash, most offices don’t take credit cards)
· Divorce or Death Certificate of former spouse (if applicable)
Tip: If you plan on changing your name this can be done in the same visit and will save you a trip back to the Clerk’s Office post-wedding.
Step 3: Get Required Signature’s and Turn in the Completed Form
While requirements vary from state to state most states require signatures from the following individuals:
You and Your Spouse
I suggest getting this taken care of immediately following the ceremony as this is the one thing you DO NOT want to forget!
Typically you will need 2 witnesses; however, in some states, you only need one. The witnesses need to be at least 18 years old and must be present when you put your John Hancock on the form.
Your witnesses can be your mom and dad, anyone in your bridal party, your childhood best friend or really anyone who has known you for at least 6 months.
Whoever performs your wedding ceremony must also sign the form. This could be a friend that was ordained to do so, a church leader, or, a local judge.
Now that everything is signed and ready to go the officiant will typically return the form (in person or via mail) to the County Clerk’s Office. In some states they will mail you a certified copy of the signed marriage license. In others, you may be required to go into the Clerk’s Office to pick it up. While you’re there it is a good idea to request a couple extra copies for your records. This may cost you a couple dollars but there are several reasons you will need these. Some may include changing your name on your bank account, changing your name with the Social Security Office and/or updating your marital status with your insurance carrier.
If you opt not to get some extra certified copies you can contact the Clerk’s Office and request them any time in the future.
That's it! Getting your marriage license is an important step that isn't talked about too often. It might not be glamorous but it certainly makes it feel that much more real because once you have that license in hand, you are SO CLOSE to being married.
More questions?! Let us know!
Happy Planning, Lovers.