Obtaining a Marriage Certificate

The most memorable parts of saying ‘I do’ is the marriage ceremony and the reception. But that’s all they are. They are the parts you enjoy about tying the knot, but there’s so much happening in the background.

For instance, before you get married in the USA, you must apply for a marriage license. This license is a legal document obtained by the couple before the wedding ceremony. Once you have signed the license and returned by an officiant to the county, the marriage certificate is issued.

The marriage license proves you can legally marry, and the certificate proves you have indeed tied the knot.

One might wonder why you must obtain a marriage certificate if you have followed all the legal requirements and then tied the knot. The marriage certificate is one of the vital records issued by the state government offices stating that two people are married. This certificate is required for a number of things, such as to change the marital status for insurance, your bank accounts and credit cards, social security (if you are changing your name), etc.

In this guide, you will learn about the steps to be followed to obtain a marriage certificate in the USA.

• Find your soulmate and fix a date & venue for your wedding

This is important because you cannot get married without a groom or bride. So, find your soulmate and then move on to deciding the date of your wedding. Marriage licenses tend to have an expiration date, and it can be anywhere between thirty and ninety days. That’s why you must choose a date within the deadline to avoid problems re-applying for the license.

Most states in the USA don’t allow couples to marry as soon as they have received the marriage license. Therefore, you would need a minimum of seventy-two hours to pass before you can say, ‘I do.’

The venue of your wedding is equally important. The wedding location will impact the county from which you can get your marriage license.

• Go to the county clerk

The next step is to visit the county clerk to obtain your marriage license. When you visit the county clerk’s office, you must carry the following things:

1. Identity proof
2. Information regarding your birth dates, parents’ names, etc. If your parents have expired, you will need their death certificates.
3. A witness (if applicable) in the form of a family member or friend.
4. If you have been married before, carry proof you can legally remarry. This can be in the form of a death certificate of your ex-spouse or a divorce certificate.
5. Cash payment for the fee may range between $30 and $150 based on the state you wish to obtain the marriage license from.

If you have all the required documents, you can apply for a marriage license at the county clerk.

• Arrange for the required signatures

The signatures required differ from state to state. However, you would typically require signatures on your marriage certificate from the following people:

1. You and your partner
2. Your witnesses
3. Your officiant

The officiant is someone who will legally ordain your wedding. It might be a judge, priest, or even a friend. You must get their title and signature for your marriage license.

• The officiant sends the completed marriage license to the county

Finally, get ready for the D-day. Don’t forget to have fun. The wedding ceremony and reception are the most exciting as you’ll meet your near and dear ones.

After the wedding ceremony, it is the responsibility of the officiant to return the marriage license to the county clerk. This can be done in person or by mail.

And you’re all set!

The certified copy of your marriage will either be mailed to you, or you may have to pick it up in person. Again, this will depend on where you live.

What Will Obtaining a Marriage Certificate Cost?

The cost of obtaining a marriage certificate varies from state to state. You may have to pay extra if you need more certificate copies.

Typically, getting a marriage certificate is between $5 and $26 for the first copy. After that, if you wish to obtain additional copies, you may have to pay between $3 and $15 for every copy.

The Bottom Line

A legal document seals the deal, and that’s what a marriage certificate is. It is relatively easy to obtain a marriage certificate in the USA. The hardest part is to find someone to love, set a date and decide on the wedding venue.

You’ll find it pretty smooth once you have been through the whole process. However, as you obtain the marriage certificate, it will feel like you are bound to your partner for life.

So, congratulations on tying the knot, and follow the steps mentioned above to get your marriage license and certificate.

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