Apply for a Marriage License
What will I need for the marriage license application for my wedding?
Prior to the wedding date, the bride and groom will need to fill out the marriage license or wedding permit application. The typical items asked for on a marriage license application for the bride and groom are: the bride's and groom's name, where the bride and groom were born and when, the bride's and groom's personal contact information, information on any previous marriages, the bride's and groom's education and occupations, and each of their father and mother's names. You will also have to pay a small fee in order to have a license for the wedding. Some states require the couple to appear in person (and bring proof of identification), and some even require a blood test for the bride and groom. Apply for a marriage license now by finding your state using the map below.
Why do I need a marriage license for my wedding?
As part of the wedding ceremony the married couples are given certain rights and obligations under the federal and state laws of the United States, so it is necessary to ensure that the man and woman have entered into a binding contract that will be legally recognized and recorded on the government’s books and records. In order for the wedding to result in a binding marriage under law the man and woman must have the capacity to consent to and consummate the marriage, meaning they must be of the appropriate age and have the mental capacity to make the decision and understand the commitment they are making during the wedding ceremony when they make their wedding vows. The wedding ceremony must also be conducted by an individual with the authority to solemnize the marriage by law. The marriage license application process is meant to ensure that these criteria are met for the wedding.
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To find more information about a marriage license in your state choose the state below.
What do I need to do to validate the license for the wedding?
A marriage license is usually only valid for a wedding ceremony during a specific period of time and then it expires (between 30 days and 1 year depending on the state). Additionally, some states require a short waiting period (usually 3 days) before the license becomes valid to ensure that the couple is not rushing into marriage and to avoid annulments or divorce. You must solemnize the marriage in a wedding ceremony within the prescribed time period and have the marriage license signed by the wedding officiator and usually one or two witnesses. After the wedding, the marriage license must then be returned to the designated government office to be finalized and placed on the official records. A marriage certificate will be sent to you within a few weeks. If the bride wishes to change her name, the marriage certificate must be taken to the social security office and have her name legally changed. She would also have to change her name on her driver’s license and car registration at the department of motor vehicles, on her passport and any other memberships, credit cards, bank accounts, etc. The name change for the spouse is not automatic.
Who can perform the wedding ceremony?
A wedding ceremony can be performed by any officiator who has the legal authority as designated by state law. Who can perform the wedding ceremony and what the processes are for obtaining certification to perform a ceremony differ by state. Normally, an ordained minister can perform a wedding ceremony at any location, whether a chapel or outdoors, or a judge can perform the wedding, often called a civil ceremony, at the courthouse. Civil ceremonies will require an additional fee. Some states allow for individuals to be deputized to perform wedding ceremonies for the day of the wedding, allowing you to have a close friend or relative perform your ceremony.
How old do you have to be to be married?
In most states, the man and woman must be of the legal age of 18 years old in order to be married; however, some states allow for persons under the age of 18 to be married with the consent of the parents and the agreement of a judge. Even without the consent of the parents, minors may be able to marry with a court order. The legal requirement is usually that even if they are under 18 years old, the man and woman must have the required mental capacity to enter into a binding marriage.
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To find more information about a business license in your state choose the state below.
This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.