Weddings

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
Photo by iStockphoto.comBookmark and Share

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.

Features

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.

Significance

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.

Related Guides

What to Consider When Choosing a Ceremony Venue

VIDEO: Choosing a Ceremony Venue

When choosing a ceremony venue for your wedding, consider such factors as location and size.... Watch Video

Planning Reminder:

guy painting house

Begin home repairs

Whip your house into shape if you plan on holding your ceremony or reception there. If that spot on the hardwood floor has always bothered you, start repairs now before it becomes a source of stress later. Places where guests could injure themselves need particular attention.

View your wedding checklist!

Timeline:Budget:

Wedding Glossary

ARBOR

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

View the Full Weddings Glossary
Feedback
Log in

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Log In with your Facebook account.
We’ll never post without your permission.
If you previously linked your DexKnows.com account to a Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, Aol, or Windows Live login and don't have a DexKnows.com password, you'll need to create a new password to access your account. Click here to receive an email with your temporary password and then login using your email address and temporary password.
Or

Log in to your DexKnows account:

Forgot Password?
Sign Up

Already have an account? Log In

Log In with your Facebook account.
We’ll never post without your permission.
Or

Create a DexKnows account:

At least 6 characters
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You'll receive the DexKnows Tips email newsletter as well as email updates about your account.
Forgot Password

Please enter your email address so that we can send you an email with a link to change your password..

Change Password

Please enter your email address so that we can send you an email with a link to change your password.

Password

Please enter your new password

Email Address:

At least 6 characters
Link Accounts

Welcome!

Do you currently have an account with Dexknows?

Should we link this account to the one you just created?

Or
Please provide this additional information to register
Will be displayed next to your reviews.
Optional
Yes, I want to find out about great deals, local recommendations and more!
I agree to terms of use and privacy policy

Please share the issue you encountered with our search

I am a(n):

Issue(s):

Please check at least one issue checkbox.
Comments: