Proposal? Check. Wedding date? Sorted. Now don’t forget the most important item you need to legally tie the knot in Texas—a marriage license.
Here’s everything you need to know for two to legally become one in the Lone Star State.
Where and When to Go
For a formal marriage license, the newlyweds-to-be need to visit any County Clerk’s office in Texas. Both parties must appear in person to sign the application. Some counties have an online application form to be filled before the in-person appointment. Also, different counties in Texas have their own business hours and all are closed on national holidays. And, you don't need to be a Texas resident to apply for a marriage license in the Lone Star State.
It’s best to start thinking about your marriage license well in advance, as there are some time considerations involved. In Texas, a 72-hour waiting period applies so you’ll have to wait for three days from the time you obtain your license to be able to have your ceremony. This three-day waiting period can be waived for active-duty military personnel and those with a written waiver from a judge or a waiver from a Twogether in Texas premarital counseling program. Blood tests, medical exams, and witnesses are not required in Texas.
Your ceremony must be performed within 90 days from the issuing date. If you haven’t gotten married before the expiration date you will need to purchase a new license.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some counties are experiencing backlogs for marriage license appointments so it is advisable to contact your local office as soon as possible.
You can also get married in any other state or country that accepts Texas marriage licenses. Renewing your vows? Texas state law requires couples who are already married to still apply for a marriage license for a vow renewal.
Bring Your Documentation
There are a few items you will need to get a marriage license in Texas. For your in-person appointment you’ll need:
- Proof of Identity and Age. To get married in Texas, you have to be at least 18 years old and each party needs to have government-issued picture identification and proof of age. This can be in the form of a United States or foreign passport, driver’s license or ID card issued by Texas or another state, an original or certified birth certificate, or military ID card. Your forms of identification cannot be damaged, torn, or laminated. The marriage license will be prepared with your legal name exactly as it appears on your identification.
- Proof of Divorce. Both applicants must not have been divorced within the last 30 days. If your divorce was finalized within the last 30 days you will need to present a certified copy of the divorce decree stating that a judge waived the 30-day waiting period.
- Money. Love doesn’t cost a thing, but a marriage license does. A Texas marriage license costs between $60 and $85 and this will vary according to the county. $100 is added on top of this for out-of-state residents. Texas strongly encourages pre-marital counseling and couples that do so with a Twogether in Texas-approved counselor can receive up to $60 off their marriage license fee. Note that some counties only accept cash as a form of payment while others only take credit cards to which a processing fee may be applied.
- Social Security Number. Know your social security number for the forms. Some counties require the physical social security card, too.
Wedding bells can finally ring! Couples are required to bring their marriage license with them on the day of their wedding to be signed by the person conducting the ceremony.
Authorized wedding officiants in the state of Texas include current or retired judges, ordained or licensed Christian ministers, priests, Jewish rabbis, and officers authorized by religious organizations.
The person who officiates the wedding shall record on the license the names of the people getting married, the date and county the ceremony took place in, and also sign it. Said person will mail the original license to the County Clerk that issued it no later than 30 days after the ceremony. Once the office receives the license, it is copied, filed and the original is mailed to the couple at the address indicated on their application.
Make it Special
Getting that all-important document means you can legally say “I do,” which in itself is worth commemorating. Dress up for the occasion, invite a loved one to join you, take photos, or savor your favorite meal. With your real license in your hands, you can really get married and that’s definitely worth a confetti toss (or two)!