How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage Certificate?

Marriage certificates are your legal proof of marriage

By Suzie Faloon

Marriage Certificate with Two Rings
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Your official wedding certificate is your legal proof of marriage. It is registered with the state that you are married in and certified by the clerk that provided you with the marriage license. You'll need a certified copy of your marriage certificate to accomplish name changes at government agencies, apply for a passport and as evidence in legal proceedings such as immigration cases.

Marriage License

A couple must apply for a marriage license before the wedding ceremony takes place. The license, which is the first step to acquire the marriage certificate, is signed by the couple, witnesses and the officiant at the wedding.

License Process

The license is signed and returned by the wedding officiant to the municipal office where it was originated. The clerk will file the license and issue a wedding certificate when requested or as a matter of course, depending on the rules of the office or of the state.

Marriage Certificate

The municipal clerk of record in the town or city where the couple was married will issue a certified proof of marriage for a fee set by the state. Contact the office, usually in writing, and request a copy.


The clerk will enter the names of the couple, marriage date, location and the date the marriage was filed. The state proof of marriage certificate is printed on security paper and sealed by the clerk of records.

Marriage Certificate Copies

A copy of a marriage certificate can be ordered from the office of the municipal clerk where it is kept on file or from the state Bureau of Vital Statistics. The municipal office is the best contact when you need a copy quickly.


The official certified copy of marriage will be needed for proof of personal identification. Marriage certificates are needed to obtain passports, collect pensions or insurance benefits and to change the bride's (or groom's) name for Social Security purposes.

About the Author

Suzie Faloon is a floral designer and a freelance writer.

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A shelter of branches under which a couple stands to exchange vows. Can also be made of latticework covered with vines.

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