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No brainer question for you: what is the most hated/most often forgotten wedding planning detail? You guessed it! Applying for your marriage license. Sure, maybe you answered correctly based on this post’s title, but if you’ve ever been married, you knew right away.

The thing is, applying for, and obtaining, your marriage license isn’t all that bad. It’s definitely not as time consuming as changing your name (which I will cover in another post!), but it is definitely inconvenient! You’re in the midst of wedding madness, planning your little heart out, crossing items off your one million checklists, and finding time for you AND your fiance to march your booties down to City Hall just doesn’t seem possible. Like I said: inconvenient.

That’s why I’m here to help! With a few useful resources and tips, you’ll be outta there in no time and actually might have fun in the process!

What to Know::

  • Do yourself a favor, and look up marriage laws according to your state HERE. You’ll need to bring some official documents with you, so be sure to check well in advance of your wedding date. Some states require a blood test. Weird, I know.
  • Check for the timeframe your license needs to be acquired within. You’ll have to have your license prior to your wedding (duh), but not too far out because it expires! For example, Adam and I had to squeeze time in during our wedding week because it was the only time both of us were in Tennessee within the timeframe allotted for a valid license. Whew!
  • Complete premarital counseling and not only glean priceless wisdom, but get a discount on your marriage license too! Each state has different requirements, but most offer a good deal for those who have already invested in their marriage. Be sure to complete the proper paperwork required for proving your counseling completion!
  • Check, and double check, for office hours! Some states will send you to City Hall, some will send you to the Clerk of Courts, some will send you to a good ol’ marriage office, but one thing they all have in common is government office hours. Meaning, they’re not normal business hours. Some open late and close early. Others open early and close late. Just be sure to get the address, phone number, and office hours of your particular office in-hand well before you plan to go.
  • Now, this tip is really just for fun: bring a friend! Mijanne came with Adam and I due to some other wedding errands we had to run that day, and the looks we got when the 3 of us asked for the marriage license office were priceless! She was also able to take our photo after we had the blessed document in hand.
  • Finally, be sure to have your officiant sign you marriage license RIGHT after your ceremony! In most cases, it must be mailed to the state within just a few days of your wedding. So, assign someone you trust with the responsibility of dropping it in the mail so you don’t have to worry about it on your honeymoon!

There ya have it! As inconvenient as acquiring this important piece of paper may be, it’ll take you one step closer to being officially bound to the one you love!