5 Things to Know When Getting Your Marriage License

Updated 02/23/16
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Photo by Julian Ribinik Photography

You've spent months planning your wedding and building up the internal anticipation to take those memorable steps down the aisle. But, even if all the items on your to-do list are sitting there with a check mark, there's still one more thing you'll need to do to make it "official" — get your marriage license. If you're wondering how to do it — and do it right — here are six things to know before heading to get the license that makes you and your fiancé a married couple.

1. Where to Go

The easiest place to go for your license is the county clerk's office. Make sure you carve out a couple of hours for this, as there may be a wait. You can even try to make an appointment before you show up so that you don't have to wait too long.

2. What to Bring

Make sure you don't show up empty-handed! Each state is a little different, so be sure to check the state's website before going. But, the main items to bring are your birth certificate, a photo ID, and if you're under 18, consent from a parent. You may also need a witness in certain states, so remember to ask a friend to come with you (who has known you for at least 6 months).

3. How Much Money You'll Need

The price varies from state to state, so be sure to look this up before heading to the office. The range is anywhere between $35 to $100 dollars. Also, some states require cash only — so be prepared!

4. You May Have to Wait

Once again, some states will hand you the marriage license right then and there. Others will send you it in 24 hours or even a couple of days.

5. There's an Expiration Date

You don't want to get the marriage license more than a month before your wedding, because some states have an expiration date for how long you can have it without it being signed by the officiant.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

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