Marriage Licenses

Getting married isn't all fun and games -- there are lots of little details and technicalities you don't realize until you get into the planning. After working out whether you want roses or calla lilies, a DJ or band, the pricey photographer or the elaborate wedding gown, you've finally come to something rather simple in comparison. Getting your marriage license is probably the least exciting part of planning to be wed, however, you should be relieved that it is one of the least complicated things to worry about.

The first thing to do is check with a local marriage license bureau to see what the requirements are. This Web site, Marriage License Laws, has all the state information you'll need to get started.

You and your fiancé must often go together to the marriage license bureau in person. Check ahead of time to see what documents you'll need to bring and if there are residency requirements, what the license fee is, who can sign it, and whether or not you need an AIDS/HIV test. Be sure to bring the following items with you if needed.
* '''Valid Identification''' -- Driver's license and Social Security card, possibly a passport, or birth certificate.
* '''Other Documents''' -- Divorce decree if you are divorced or a death certificate if you are a widow or have been widowed.
* '''Blood Test''' -- Required in the following states: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
* '''Cash''' -- As little as $4 and as much as $90 depending on the state. The average cost in most states is $20-$40.

After you obtain the license you'll need to take the paperwork to the ceremony where the bride and groom, officiant, and the two witnesses will sign it. The officiant then mails the license to the license bureau and upon receipt you'll be sent the official marriage certificate. Sometimes this takes a week, other times it may take several months. It all depends on the state.

Related Guides

* Prenuptial Agreements
* Wedding Insurance