When Should You Apply for a Marriage License? (How Far in Advance)

when to get a marriage license

People often get confused about marriage licenses and certificates. While they may sound like the same documents, each one serves a different purpose and each one is necessary for your marriage — in different ways.

The marriage license is the document that grants permission, by the state, for you and your partner to wed. The marriage certificate serves as proof that your marriage ceremony occurred in accordance with the state laws where the license was issued.

But, when do you need to get your marriage license so your wedding can move forward as planned? Here’s what you need to know about timing your marriage license application.

How Do You Apply for a Marriage License?

In most U.S. states, you must go to the county clerk’s office in your county, together, to apply for a marriage license.

While this is inconvenient for many, especially those managing multiple work schedules, living in different cities, or who have jobs that do not accommodate time out of the office during the county clerk’s hours, it is necessary that both parties are present when applying for the license and that you provide appropriate documentation and information.

Luckily, solutions exist today to apply for a marriage license online, regardless of the state or country in which you reside.

How Long Before the Wedding Do You Need to Apply for a Marriage License?

Marriage licenses are documents issued by the state. They grant you permission to get married. Each state has its own requirements for issuing a marriage license, how long the licenses are valid, requirements for a marriage license, and waiting periods between the issuance of a marriage license and the wedding ceremony.

Because of these differences between state jurisdictions, it is impossible to create a one-size-fits-all guide for applying for a marriage license. Especially when it comes to the timing of said application.

For instance, the state of New York requires a 24-hour waiting period between the issuance of the marriage license and when the marriage can take place. The state of Nevada, on the other hand, has no such restriction. You can apply for your marriage license one minute and get married the next.

The other thing to consider is the difference in validity for marriage licenses. For instance, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days in the states of Indiana and New York. However, they are valid for one year from the date of issuance in the state of Nevada.

While you want to make sure you have plenty of time prior to the wedding, you don’t want to run out of time by applying for your marriage license too soon. Two weeks before your intended wedding date is usually a good rule of thumb to consider when applying for a marriage license. That is, unless you have special concerns to work around such as international weddings, in which case you may desire to begin the application process a month before the anticipated wedding date.

Can You Apply for a Marriage License Online?

Technology is a wonderful thing. It is changing the world in so many ways. One of those ways is that many states are now allowing people to apply for marriage licenses online. What does this mean for you? More than you might realize at first. These are just a few of the benefits of applying for your marriage license online through MarryFromHome.

  • Convenient. Apply when you’re off work and not during office hours.
  • Apply for a state in which you do not reside without having to travel.
  • Apply from two different locations (especially beneficial if you live in different states or countries prior to your wedding).

While this option is not universally available in all U.S. states, you do not have to reside in a specific state in order to apply for a marriage license in that state.

Can You Also Get Married Online Legally?

Yes! Thanks to the power of online weddings conducted via MarryFromHome, you don’t even have to be in the same room to be legally wed.

We use Zoom wedding ceremonies to allow you to share your marriage celebration with friends and family around the world while marrying in accordance with the laws of the state in which you received your marriage license. Contact us today to learn more about the freedom of online weddings, their legality, and how to get started planning your big day!

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