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Marriage License

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 age.
  • 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.

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