How to File a Marriage License

by Tiffany Raiford

Officiants must file marriage licenses after the ceremony.

weddings bouquet image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com

Marriage licenses must be filed in order for your state to recognize your marriage. Typically, priests or officiants file the license for you with your local courthouse after your wedding, when both the bride and the groom, along with two witnesses, sign the marriage license. The courthouse where your marriage license is filed mails a copy to you once they receive and record your marriage license.

Step 1

Apply for a marriage license prior to your wedding date with your local courthouse or the courthouse in the county where you will be married. All states require both parties be present to apply for a marriage license. Both parties must be 18 years of age or older, or they must meet the state's age requirement for minors and have a parent or legal guardian present to give permission for a minor to marry. Other rules vary by state, and each state charges different fees for marriage licenses. Some have waiting periods before licenses become valid.

Step 2

Sign your marriage license once your ceremony has been performed. All states require that the bride, groom and two witnesses sign the marriage license.

Step 3

Confirm that your officiant or minister intends to file your marriage license on your behalf with a local court. The person who conducts a marriage is usually the one who sends the marriage license to be recorded with the county and the state.

Warnings

  • Engaged couples should check with their states regarding specific marriage license laws.

Photo Credits

  • weddings bouquet image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.