You are almost done planning the wedding and you're coming down the home stretch but the most unknown/scary part of the process can easily be something as easy as the marriage license.
We gotta make this thing legal and - turns out - getting a marriage license can be way easier than it sounds.
Where do I even get a marriage license?
Court. But not just any court. You'll want to go in the county you're getting married in, and you need to find Probate Court. So, for example, if I'm getting married in Bibb County, I need to Google "Bibb County Probate Court Marriage License" and the first thing that comes up will probably be the web page with the max amount of helpful info, like where in the courthouse you need to go and what you need to bring with you.
Does it cost money?
Probably less than $100. It's different in every county.
Can I get a discount?
Good news! If you did premarital counseling you can usually get a 60-70$ discount! How do you do that? Find that probate court website I mentioned in the paragraph above and look for the SPECIFIC FORM you need to print and fill out ahead of time. Sometimes they require you to get that form notarized, so read carefully.
Do we both need to go to get our marriage license?
Yes they are going to need forms of identification from both of you, so again, read that probate court website ahead of time.
Also - selfie or it didn't happen!
How should I get my ish together ahead of time...?
Things you will *probably* need:
+ Each other
+ Notarized premarital counseling completion form (if applicable)
+ A little time (sometimes you have to wait a few minutes but not always)
+ Two forms of ID. Just grab that file folder with your birth certif/passport/old highschool ID in it. You probably won't need all that, but can't be too prepared, right? It's like going to the DMV just bring a DNA sample and mail from every residence you've lived in. Kidding.
You can find a specific list of what you'll need to bring on your county's Probate court website. And let me apologize in advance for the lack of user-friendliness on most government sites.
Who signs the marriage license?
Once you have it in hand, just keep it until after your ceremony. If you have a wedding coordinator - even better! Give it to her at the wedding rehearsal. After the ceremony, your officiant needs to sign it. Bride and groom do NOT need to sign it, just your officiant.
Once we say "I Do"... is that it?
Once it's signed by the officiant it needs to be MAILED back to the courthouse. You have to complete that loop by mailing it in and saying, "Hey, courthouse, we got married, can you make this official?"
So then they make it official and mail you back a completed copy of the official document.
From me and my official other-half to you and your almost-married selves, happy licensing.
Photo Credit: Britt Croft, Lauren Carnes