3 Things you must organize to get married

3 Things you Must Organize To Get Married

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So, what is required to be legally married in the USA?

There are actually only 3 things you must organize to get married.

To assist you to assess what is actually necessary to include on your wedding day, I thought that it would be beneficial to strip a wedding right back to just the 3 essential elements that are legally required – the Marriage License Application, a registered/approved Marriage Officiant and Witnesses.

This is a reminder that everything other than what is legally required for marriage is a choice for you to make. Yes, most couples organize more than this but they are decisions for you to make together.

My focus within this article is on marriage within the USA.

If you are marrying outside of the USA then you will need to research the legal marriage process for that country and region to ensure that you prepare all of the necessary documentation.

Marriage License

1. Marriage License Application

Within the USA, each state and even each county will have slightly different Marriage License Application requirements.

You need to check with both the county for where you are getting married as well as double-checking with your local county for where you live, just to ensure that you are applying at the correct marriage license office.

It is usually the local marriage license office (The County Clerk’s Office) for the location of where you will be married that is the place to go to get the accurate information that you need.

In some states, if you live in that state then you need to do the marriage license application in your local county and then you can marry anywhere within the state.

The associated application fees vary from county to county.

Indeed, most of the rules around getting married vary slightly from state to state.

Rules around what age you can marry at, how many witnesses you need, how long the license is valid for, and who can perform the marriage ceremony do vary from state to state.

Be sure to read all of the information and check all of the details for the county that is relevant to you.

The website U.S. Marriage Laws is a great starting point for all of the information that you require.

The Marriage License is required BEFORE the wedding ceremony.

The Marriage License is then signed at the completion of the wedding ceremony and is then RETURNED to the relevant license office.

The person who is responsible for returning the license and within what time frames varies from state to state.

It is often the marriage officiant who returns the signed marriage license. Make sure you check these details in your county.

Marriage Officiant

2. Marriage Officiant

You must have a marriage officiant who is authorized to perform your marriage.

Like with the marriage license application, the requirements for officiants do vary from state to state.

Be sure that your marriage officiant is licensed to perform your wedding ceremony within the state that you are marrying.

If you need to find a marriage officiant, the website US Marriage Laws has a search function to help you find one to suit you.

There are preference options to tick for the type of ceremony and type of officiant, as well as other preferences.

There is a pricing guide listed that will help you to budget for an officiant.

Marriage Witnesses

3. Witnesses

The number of witnesses required at a marriage ceremony varies from state to state.

For example, there are no witnesses required in Hawaii. One witness is required in California (but there is space on the form for a second witness who is optional) and two witnesses are required in Nebraska.

The number of witnesses required is something for you to be aware of when you are considering the size of your bridal party.

Traditionally, the wedding party were your witnesses. These days, there are often many more in the bridal party than are required as witnesses.

Only two people at the most are required to be witnesses and sign the documentation.

So, when organizing your wedding starts to feel a bit overwhelming, just remember that other than you and your fiancé, there are only three other things that you must organize to get married – your Wedding License Application, your Marriage Officiant and Witnesses to your marriage.

Everything else that you plan for your wedding day are actually optional extras for you to consider if you want them or not.