If you are getting married in the state of Alabama, you are in luck. The process for obtaining a marriage license in the state requires fewer steps than in other places. You simply have to print a form, get it notarized, and send it to the probate court. Fun fact: Alabama doesn't even require couples to say vows in front of an officiant or have any sort of ceremony to get married. Filing this form is all you need to be official under the law.
Still, there are things you need to do to get your marriage license. You have to fill out the form properly and send it to the state in a timely manner. To help get it right, we reached out to Alabama-based wedding planner Ann-Marie Leveille. Read on to find out her tips.
Meet the Expert
Ann-Marie Leveille is the owner of Leveille Creative Co., a wedding planning company that helps couples in Birmingham and Central Alabama.
When and Where to Get a Marriage Certificate in Alabama
Alabama is one of the few states that doesn't require you to appear in person at a courthouse or government building to get your marriage certificate. Instead, you simply download this form, get it notarized, and mail it to a probate court in Alabama.
But despite the process being easy, Leveille still recommends leaving plenty of time to get it done. "Set a calendar reminder 30 days out from your wedding date to go online and download your forms," she shares. Once your form is filed with the government you can secure a copy through the department of health by writing to this address: Alabama Vital Records, P.O. Box 5625, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5625.
If you would rather appear in person (maybe you have questions!), you can go to any county health department in the state of Alabama to obtain a form. A list of locations can be found here.
How to Get a Marriage Certificate in Alabama
Fill out the marriage form with your partner
"The process is actually fairly simple," says Leveille, "Most people actually overthink it." The first step is to download your form from the link listed above. Fill it out with your partner, but do not sign it yet—you will need to do that in front of the person notarizing it.
Get the completed form notarized.
The next step is to get a public notary to sign the forms. Most banks offer a notary service. Notaries are also available at public libraries, UPS stores, AAA, and some pharmacies. You and your partner will appear before the notary, and he or she will have you confirm the information on your form is true and sign it. "The date the forms are signed by you and notarized is your legal marriage date, so plan accordingly," Leveille reveals. "We also see couples forgetting to find a notary public and often scramble to secure one."
Mail or deliver the form to an Alabama probate court.
The last step is to mail or deliver your form to a probate court in Alabama. It doesn't matter where your ceremony is or where you live; any probate court will do the job. Your form must be delivered within 30 days of signing it. If you don't make that deadline your marriage will not be valid, so make sure to take care of it, reminds Leveille: "Assign a family member or trusted friend to mail the forms to the probate court immediately after your wedding if you are going on a honeymoon."
Remember, your ceremony isn't what is officially recognized by the state. Signing the form is what matters. "Wedding ceremonies with a licensed officiant are not even necessary to legalize the marriage," says Leveille. "Couples may 'self solemnize' their marriage or have a friend or family member conduct a ceremony, as long as the probate court receives the forms."
Alabama Marriage Certificate Requirements
You will need to fill out a form with your full names, addresses, daytime phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and the full names of both of your parents before their first marriages. Once you mail in your form you will be legally married in the state of Alabama.
If you want to get a copy of your certificate you must go through the Alabama Department of Public Health's Center for Health Statistics. $15 will get you a certified copy of the marriage certificate, and each additional copy ordered at the same time is $6. Checks or money orders should be made payable to "State Board of Health." Cash is not allowed.