You know you need one for your marriage to be official, but you’re not sure what the deal is. Here’s a few basic tips about getting your marriage license to get you started!
You’ll get your marriage license from the local courthouse in the jurisdiction where you’re getting married (which is not necessarily the same place as where you live). Each local jurisdiction has different rules regarding the process so it’s best to go right to the source to determine how far in advance you need to submit your marriage license application (ours required an in-person visit), what the fee may be, etc.
If you are getting married by an ordained, registered officiant, he or she will sign and complete your marriage license paperwork, returning it to the courthouse following your wedding to make everything official. Alternatively, you may be having a friend or family member marrying you and in that case, you’d want to go to the courthouse and have your marriage made official with a judge there in advance so that on the day of your actual wedding, when your “unofficial” officiant is presiding over the ceremony, you will be legally wed!
After all of the paperwork is filed, you can submit a request and a small fee for several copies of your official marriage certificate with seal. You’re going to need this if you’re planning on changing your name! I decided to go this route and you’ll be faxing, emailing and mailing copies of that certificate all over the place in order to get all of your personal information updated with your new name.
A quick point on changing your name: your very first step will be a trip or application to the Social Security Administration for a new card to make it legal after which you can visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles for a new license. After that, these two IDs along with a copy of your marriage certificate with seal will help you get everything else changed from bank to insurance accounts.
Each locality may vary slightly from what I’ve outlined above, but this was my personal experience and gives you a good place to start as you go to get your marriage license and are well on your way to being an official married couple!