Everything You Need to Know About Completing a Marriage License

Couple Completing a Marriage Licence

As an ordained minister, one of the tasks you can expect to be called upon to perform often is officiating wedding ceremonies. While there is nothing like presiding over the ceremony to join a lovely couple in the presence of others as one, there is one very important step you need to complete before any union you officiate is legal. You need to know how to fill out a marriage license.

Marriage Certificates vs. Marriage Licenses

Marriage certificates are sold online for couples who want commemorative documents for their nuptials. These documents are very straightforward and easy to fill out. However, marriage licenses take a little more time to fill out because they are a little more complex.

You only have so much time to turn in a marriage license and you definitely don't want to make any mistakes while filling it out that could legally invalidate the union you just performed in. To better understand how to complete a marriage license, you need to truly understand the difference between a license and marriage certificate.

  • A marriage license is a document that's required by law. It contains vital information about the ceremony that certifies that it actually took place. This document is a legally binding agreement between the couple that is filed with the government.
  • A marriage certificate is more for cosmetic purposes. It is not a legal document. It is a piece of decorative paper in which the couple can record the details of their union for their own records so they can relive the moment whenever they want.

Minimize mistakes when filling out a marriage license after the ceremony by fill out as much of it as you can before the ceremony takes place.

Completing a Marriage License

Filling out a marriage license beforehand can save time and prevent costly errors, which is vitally important since every jurisdiction has guidelines in place that must be followed to facilitate the legal processing of the document. Check the guidelines in your area and discuss them with the couple well in advance of the ceremony date to ensure compliance. Encourage the couple to fill out their portions of the document before their ceremony to prevent costly mistakes and delays in getting their license properly filed with the government. Taking this precaution makes filling out the rest of the document at the end of the ceremony much faster and easier to complete with accuracy.

Marriage License
  • Fill in the groom's first and last name where the marriage license asks for it. Don't forget to include his birth city and state in the appropriate areas.
  • Repeat this process for the bride's information. However, instead of using her married name, you must use her maiden name.
  • Input the wedding venue information, as this serves as legal proof that the ceremony did take place. You need to include the date and time of the ceremony, and the city, state, and
  • church or venue name in which the ceremony took place.
  • Under officiant, put your legal name. Don't forget to include your title, which is "Minister."
  • Include details about the church or venue where you performed the ceremony at and be sure to include any religious affiliations.
  • You are ordained and certified to marry people from any denomination, be sure to note it on the marriage license where it asks for the couple's faith.
  • Have the couple check and sign their marriage license. You also need to have at least one witness from the ceremony to sign the document. Make sure everyone signs in the correct areas.
  • Double check the license for accuracy and send it off by email, fax, or regular mail as soon as possible to ensure that it arrives back to the office it was received from. Most states must receive this document within 10 days of the ceremony. Once the city clerk receives and records the marriage license, the marriage becomes legally binding.

You will receive a copy of the finalized marriage license. Inspect it again for accuracy. If you notice any discrepancies or mistakes, immediately notify the courthouse or clerk so you can find out how to correct the marriage license.

It is a privilege and your religious duty to be called upon to officiate over a wedding ceremony. Make it count by filing out the marriage license properly to honor and respect the couple's wishes and union.