Congratulations, you’re getting married! Chances are, thoughts of dresses and flowers, first dances, and menu selections are flurrying in your mind—it’s only natural! But there are some other wedding planning tasks you have to take care of before the big day, like getting a marriage license.
Because the process of getting a marriage license can vary so much from state to state, you’ll want to make sure you’re well versed in the process before you head out to get one. We spoke with planner Melody Hall for her expert insight and helpful suggestions on how to get a marriage license in Minnesota.
Meet the Expert
Melody Hall is the owner and Lead Planner of Events by Melody in Savage, MN.
Where to Get a Marriage License in Minnesota
Contrary to other states where you may have to head to court buildings or municipal centers, Melody explains that in any county within Minnesota, you can head to any service center or DMV. But, you must do it in person!
To make things a bit easier, Minnesota has an online feature called MOMS (Minnesota Official Marriage System), which was created, designed, and managed by Minnesota counties to help you navigate the process (Note: Scott and Washington County do not participate). Through this site, you can click on your county for more specific information and instructions.
All applicants will have to complete a formal application which you can begin online, and though you may be able to do it onsite, Melody says, "I encourage you to print and complete an application prior to [your visit]." She also highly recommends scheduling an appointment instead of just showing up.
Minnesota Marriage License Requirements
Within the state of Minnesota, marriage applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Both partners must appear together and present a valid photo ID. The marriage ceremony must take place within the state, and once issued, your license will be valid for six months.
A unique feature of Minnesota’s marriage license process is its Premarital Education program. The program is 12 hours long, with the teacher being a licensed/ordained minister, a person licensed to practice marriage and family therapy, or an authorized officiant who can legally solemnize your marriage in Minnesota.
If you complete this program, the hefty standard $115 marriage license fee is reduced to $40. It is payable by check cash, or credit/debit card.
There is some key information you’ll need to have, too. Be prepared with:
- Legal names of both applicants
- Current addresses
- Dates of birth
- State/country where each person was born
- County in which each applicant lives
- Social security numbers
- Information on any previous marriages
- Full name the applicants intend to have after the marriage
- Mailing address for the marriage certificate to be sent (post-wedding)
Time to get married! Melody says, "There used to be a waiting period in Minnesota, meaning you'd need to wait a few days after obtaining the marriage license to get married. However, that is no longer the case." So, you can tie the knot as soon as you get your license! Or, you can wait a bit as, "the marriage license is good for six months after you apply."
Remember, the marriage license is only a formal approval for permission to marry. It doesn’t mean you’re married! That’s where the marriage certificate comes in. Don’t confuse the two!
On your big day, don’t forget the license. Melody suggests giving it to a trusted person, like your wedding planner, best man/maid of honor, or officiant. Then after the ceremony, your officiant must file the license with the county that issued it.