For brides and grooms-to-be, the ceremony and reception are usually the biggest to-do items on their wedding planning checklists. But, there are other, perhaps less fun but equally important tasks to plan for, too. This includes getting your marriage license, a legal document you’ll need in hand prior to tying the knot that, once signed, will result in a marriage certificate being issued.
Obtaining your marriage license can be a bit of a chore depending on what state you live in, but thankfully Utah makes it a relatively painless process. To help us navigate this undertaking, we tapped Jess Drawhorn, Utah wedding officiant and photographer, for her expert insight and tips.
Meet the Expert
Jess Drawhorn is Utah wedding officiant and photographer at The Drawhorns Adventure Elopements.
Where to Get a Marriage License in Utah
To legally be married in Utah, you’ll first need to get your marriage license and then have that solemnized by an authorized officiant. Thankfully, you won’t have to travel too far, as you can get a marriage license at any county clerk’s office in the state. You must fill out the application in person and both applicants should be in attendance.
What is perhaps most unique about getting a marriage license in Utah is that there is no waiting period in between getting the license and when you can get married! Drawhorn advises, "Unlike some states, there’s no waiting period in Utah so you could get your license up until the very day you’d like to sign it! But, it pays to plan ahead and grab it a few days in advance so you’re not running crucial errands on your wedding day."
Once you have the license in hand, you have 32 days to get married and have it signed and returned, or it will expire. Drawhorn suggests asking your officiant or a family member to be responsible for returning it so "some of the stress is off your plate and you can just enjoy the honeymoon."
Bring Your Documentation
There are a few pieces of paperwork you will need to get a marriage license in Utah. Check, and then double-check you have them with you for your in-person appointment.
- Personal Information. Be prepared to share your full names, addresses, dates of birth, and places of birth. You'll also be required to share the names and birthplaces of both parents of both applicants, including maiden names.
- Social Security Card. You'll need to show your Social Security numbers for both applicants unless an applicant doesn’t have one
- Identification. Be sure to bring a valid photo ID to your appointment. Your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or state ID card work!
- Money. In most counties in Utah, a license fee is charged, which includes two certified copies of the license. According to the state’s webpage, some counties do not charge a fee for the license but do charge for certified copies.
Drawhorn suggests ordering a few certified copies, especially if you’re going to be changing your name. "They’re only a few dollars apiece, so I recommend requesting one per entity you’re dealing with—the DMV, Social Security office, bank, insurance companies, etc. are all going to want their own copy," she says.
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. Once your license is in hand, there are a few important things to remember when it comes to the wedding and signing of the document.
Drawhorn advises, "Your officiant should sign with their official title like Judge, Reverend, Chief, etc. Both parties should sign with their normal signatures and you’ll also need two witnesses to sign your document."
She also says that a lot of peoples’ first thought is to grab a parent as a witness, but if your parents have already played a big role in other areas of your wedding, she suggests "this would be a good time to share the love a bit and bring in your best friend or a sibling."
Make It Special
Getting your marriage license doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Instead, make it a special moment to remember and turn it into a day of celebration! Take your witnesses out to lunch, pop a bottle of bubbly once you get home, get all dressed up, and take all the photos! It’s the second-to-last step before officially being wed. So, congrats!