Acquiring a valid marriage license is a prerequisite
before the main wedding ceremony in most states. Marriage
license laws for the bride and groom can vary from one
state to another. Regardless of the difference in laws,
the marriage license should be recognized by all the
other states as well.
Validity of a marriage license
- The marriage license should be issued by a county
clerk or clerk of the court who will issue the certificate
for exchange of a fee.
- The bride and groom should be 18 years of age or
more and need to present credentials regarding parent
approval or that of a judge if they are younger in
- Verification of immunity or vaccination reports
from specific diseases
- Credentials that are proof of termination of a
prior marriage if any.
- Certification, that the persons to be married have
a sufficient mental capacity.
- Mutual consent
- The to be married persons can’t be close
blood relatives. In some American states first cousins
are permitted to marry.
Marriage license waiting period
Once a marriage license application is made, couples
may be required to serve a waiting period.
The waiting period can extend from one to five days.
The reason behind such limitations is to provide a little
time to both parties to rethink their wedding vows and
even change their minds if they wish. This waiting period
is not always enforced if the acting officer sees good
reasons to waive off the period. In America, 26 states
require to-be-married couples to serve a waiting period.
The states, categorized according to the waiting period
in days, are as follows:
- 1 day: Illinois, South Carolina, Delaware
- 2 days: Maryland, New York.
- 3 days: Iowa, Florida, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, Missouri, New Hampshire,
Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, Alaska,
Kansas, Maine, Oregon,
- 4 days: Connecticut.
- 5 days: Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Information regarding marriage licenses
In most states, 1 or 2 witnesses need to sign the marriage
certificate. Recording of the marriage license is done
after the marriage ceremony is concluded. After this,
the individual who performs the wedding ceremony is
responsible for sending a copy of the marriage certificate
to the related state body that records the same. Do
keep in mind that individual state and county marriage
license requirements are likely to change without any
prior notice. At all times, it is important to make
enquires regarding the recent applicable laws and regulations
that will help legalize your wedding vows. As such,
it is essential that you look into details at the local
marriage license office or county clerk.
The cost for a marriage license may vary from state
to state. Certain states require that the couple applying
for a marriage license should undertake an HIV test.
If they do not take the test at the time of application,
then they are to be provided adequate information about
AIDS and related tests. At present, no American state
requires a compulsory premarital HIV/AIDS test in order
to receive a marriage license.