It’s easy to fixate on flowers or swoon over the beauty of bridesmaid dresses. These delightful details are what make wedding planning fun — so much so, that we can put off or stress over the larger picture paperwork, such as the all important marriage license.
A marriage license is a document issued by either a religious organization or state authority authorizing a couple to marry. Without this document, your marriage is not legal, making it the most vital detail of your wedding day.
With many couples travelling from throughout the United States and the state of Florida to get married on the Emerald Coast, some of the most common questions that SunQuest Beach Weddings receives are about marriage licenses. Kristi Summerlin, marketing and sales director with SunQuest Beach Weddings, spoke with Northwest Florida Weddings to provide all of the details for securing a marriage license.
Couples can obtain a marriage license from any courthouse in any Florida county, and it does not have to be the same county you are getting married in. All that you will need to bring with you is a form of photo identification, whether it’s your driver’s license or passport. The process differs for in-state and out-of-state applicants.
Out-of-state applicants do not have a holding period on obtaining their marriage license and can walk in and out with one in the same day. Summerlin does advise that out-of-state couples arrive at least two days early to get their license in case they encounter any complications.
Florida residents who apply for a marriage license have a three-day holding period. Florida residents can receive their marriage license the same day only if they have taken a four-hour premarital course that has been approved by the county you’re applying in. Out-of-state residents are not required to have premarital counseling.
The paperwork for receiving a marriage license is fairly standard, simple and requires basic personal information. Once the marriage license is issued, it is valid for 60 days.
The only restrictions for marriage licenses are you must be 18 years of age, or if you are younger, you must have a parent present. If you have been divorced in the past six months, a copy of your divorce decree is required.
After county and state fees, most licenses are $95. If you complete a premarital course, you receive a discount that brings the total to $61.
Most courthouses are open Monday-Friday from 8 or 8:30 a.m. until 4 or 4:30 p.m. Be sure to check with your location beforehand. You should also keep in mind that holidays could affect hours of operation.
To make your marriage license official, it must be signed by whoever conducts your ceremony, whether that is a minister, an officiant or a notary. Typically, your wedding planner, venue coordinator or officiant will take care of mailing in your marriage license after your ceremony. Be sure to check with one of these people to make sure this task is handled.
On average, couples receive their certified marriage license in the mail one week after the wedding.
The process of receiving your marriage license is about ease and convenience as long as you are prepared.