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Filling out a marriage license]A couple has asked you to perform their wedding ceremony. You are honored, and take the necessary steps in order to become an officiant by becoming an ordained American marriage minister. The ceremony is planned, a location is chosen, and everything is set for the momentous event. A key element to a complete and valid marriage ceremony is the marriage license. As an officiant, it may fall to you to ensure that the legal document is filled out correctly and returned within the designated time. Although the form varies from state to state (and country to country), there are common characteristics to most certificates. Here are a few general guidelines for how to fill out a marriage license.

Not Just a Piece of Paper

The marriage certificate is and is not just a piece of paper. The license is a physical thing with information and signatures. When documented, it serves as an official record of a marriage having taken place, and becomes part of the couple's legal identity within their community. It is a testament to the new legal obligations the couple has made to one another. The marriage license can also validate claims to Social Security and insurance, and can be referred to as well as for medical and survivor benefits. It is the secular seal on the event.

General Requirements

Although form to form the order of the information may look different, the content can be very similar. As a rule, there will be divided sections:

Person to be Married Person to be Married State or Official Area Witnesses Officiant

It is a wise idea to fill out as much of the form as completely as possible well before the ceremony. The day itself is likely to be filled with many distractions, so dotting one's Is and crossing one's Ts where possible helps to eliminate errors and omissions on the big day. The couple may be able to

correctly fill in and sign the certificate ahead of time. Then, it is only the witness and officiant signatures that must be added, preferably immediately after the ceremony.

The Officiant

For your part as minister to the wedding ceremony, you will be required to identify yourself on the document of the officiant. The form may ask for the following information:

Title: You are the "Minister," ordained by and accepted into the Universal Life Church. Church: "Universal Life Church." Through American marriage ministries like the Universal Life Church, you are able to perform marriage, as well as any other religious ceremony.. Religious denomination: "Non-Denominational" is a common choice for this space, although there may be cases in which the marriage is celebrated in accordance to specific religious structure, in which case another denomination may be listed.

By becoming ordained through American marriage ministries like the Universal Life Church, you are a representative of an interfaith church. If "Non-Denominational" is for some reason not allowed in certain circumstances, you may write "Universal Life Church."

Meet the Deadlines

There are two important deadlines regarding the marriage certificate. One is the time period between applying for the license and actually getting married. A typical time frame for this might be 60 days. Up to 180 days may be allowable for active military personnel. After the ceremony, the license will have to be delivered to an official destination, be it a state office or the county clerk. This may be done by hand or through the mail, often within 10 days, but this window can vary.

Being aware of how to fill out a marriage license properly is just one of the duties of the marriage officiant, and it is an important one. The license is the statement that declares a union binding under the law, and it can play a critical part in the civic and financial lives of its subjects. It is also part of the honor of helping the couple be recognized as such in the eyes of the world.

Category: Perform a Wedding

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