Need to KNOW: Marriage License!

November 17, 2013

Though you’re busy enough meeting with your florist and picking the table linens for the reception, you can’t forget one important detail: the marriage license!  A marriage license is a legal document stating that the two of you can get married, and the temple won’t even perform a sealing without one.

To get a marriage license, you’ll need to contact your county clerk.  Start at your state or province’s website if you’re not sure who to speak to.

The requirements for receiving a marriage license vary from state to state, but in general you must:

• Both be present.

• Be 18 or older (or have parental permission).

• Present valid identification, like a driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport.

• Fill out the marriage license application form.

• Pay the associated fees.

You must get your license in the state where you’ll be married, and you may or may not be required to be a resident of that state.  If you live in a state other than the one where you are getting married, call your county clerk for details.

In Wisconsin, residents should obtain a license in the country where they reside.  For non-residents in Wisconsin, obtain your marriage license in the country where your wedding will take place.

Fees for obtaining a marriage license vary by state and county, but you can expect to pay between $20 and $50.  The Brown County fee, where sash&bow is located, for a marriage license is $110.00!

Most states and provinces give you your marriage license immediately when you apply, but require a waiting period of 1-6 days until the wedding can actually be performed.  So be sure to get your license a week or two in-advance, but not too far in-advance!  Most marriage licenses have an expiration of 30 to 90 days.  In Brown County there is a 5-day waiting period; however, you can wave this waiting period by paying a $25.00 waiver fee.

You must bring your marriage license to your wedding to have the officiant or temple sealer sign it and mail it to the clerk’s office.

You won’t automatically receive a copy of your completed marriage certificate.  You must request a copy and send in the appropriate fee (usually around $15.)  This is an important document for proving that you are legally married, or legally documenting wife’s change of last name.

Getting a marriage license can be sort of a pain in the neck, but it’s a necessary part of the whole wedding planning package.  To make it more fun, set aside an afternoon with your fiancé to apply for your marriage license two or three weeks before the wedding, and make a date out of it!