Welcome to our guide to filling out a marriage license! First, let’s quickly cover the difference between marriage certificates and marriage licenses. A marriage certificate is an unofficial document that couples often purchase to commemorate their wedding ceremony. You might see one framed and hanging on the wall. A marriage license, on the other hand, is an official legal document that both the couple (and the minister) must fill out and turn in. Doing this correctly is really important!
We understand that filling out a marriage license can be confusing, which is why we’ve created a sample version below to help familiarize ministers and couples alike with the various steps involved. The guide is split into two main parts: the couple’s section and the minister’s section.
When you hover over an individual box, a small bubble will pop up to clarify what you need to include. We recommend studying this sample version of the marriage license so that when the time comes to fill out the real version, you’ll be well-prepared. Scroll down to get started!
Marriage License Application: Explained
When a couple goes to apply for a marriage license, they will fill out this portion first. In this section each person will input their personal information including full legal name, address, date of birth, and the names of their parents. The county auditor will usually sign here as well. Hover over each box to learn more.
The officiant section gets completed after the ceremony is over. In this section the officiant will enter their personal information along with several other details. The officiant must also sign the document. If witnesses are required, they will also sign in this section. Hover over each box to learn more.
I certify that the undersigned, by authority of license issued by the County noted above, did on this day join in lawful wedlock with their mutual consent in the presence of witnesses. In testimony whereof, witness our signature:
For applications in Hawaii, provide our address instead of your home address.
1425 Broadway Ste. 67
Seattle, WA 98122
That’s it! Once the marriage license has been completed it will be returned to the office where it was issued, and the marriage will be official! A quick note: most states have specific requirements for when the marriage license must be returned by, ranging from a few days to several weeks or more. Please see our State Marriage Laws page to learn more about the specific requirements in your area. Regardless of what the local laws stipulate, it’s best to return the marriage license to the issuing office as soon as possible after the ceremony.