Marriage License And Certificate: Everything You Need To Know.


A wedding can be such a joyous and pleasant celebration to witness and be part of. The ceremony is usually the major highlight of one and that’s why people tend to forget there has to be a marriage license to legalize the marriage and signing of that license is the major highlight as it leads to getting a marriage certificate.

These documents are very important as they give you a go-ahead to marriage and also a legal proof of legal binding if you plan on changing your name and so much more. Getting a marriage license is a very first step while the marriage certificate is a document that seals it completely. Although it is quite a multi-step process, it isn’t difficult and should be done before a wedding ceremony.

What Is The Difference Between A License And Certificate?

The difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate is that one basically leads to the other and they serve different purposes. A marriage license is the first one you get and this is an application to enable you her married. Whatever you fill into the license would determine if the marriage would hold or not and you apply for this at the county clerk of the state you which to get married in. You should note that it doesn’t have to be your state of residence.

When it get the marriage license, it would be signed on by the officiant and witnesses on your wedding day, preferably at the end of the ceremony. When the officiant returns it to the county, in a few days you would have you will have your marriage certificate mailed back to you, which is legal proof you are indeed legally married.

Before a couple can apply for a marriage license, it is important to know when and where you would be getting married. This us because marriage licenses tend to come with an expiration date and also because you would need to file your marriage license application in the exact county where you would be getting married.

As mentioned above, licenses expire and if you do not get married before it does, you would be required to apply for another one. They tend to expire after 30-90 days, depending on the state. So if you are not getting married anytime soon or it might take a year before picking a date, you can see just wait to apply for a marriage license when it is closer so you do not have to apply again because it can be quite tiring and you might have other important things to look into.

On one hand, you should know you can’t wait till the very last minute either as there is usually a waiting period before the wedding can take place. Some states just like texas have a waiting period of about 72hrs before you can get married with the marriage license ready just after application. So generally you would have to wait a total of days before you can get your marriage license and the ceremony can be done properly to avoid postponing due to waiting periods.

What Do You Need For Both?

Generally, for a marriage certificate, you just need your signed marriage license and your certificate would be mailed to you in no time. But getting the marriage license is where the procedure lies.

Most states require both partners be at least 18 years of age before being allowed to get married and they should be unrelated by blood. Even second cousins aren’t approved to marrying in all states in the US. There is also a requirement for both couples to be present for proof of identity. Proof of identification can include;

  • Birth certificate.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Social security number.
  • Any other ID chosen by the state.
  • Proof of divorce where it applies.

When all this is given, you would be required to pick a surname that can be indicated,  However, there does not have to be a change of name by either partner.

Both of these documents are very important for a marriage to be conducted and considered legal in the eyes of the law.   For more information, be sure to visit

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