Need To Know and Do To Get
Can anyone get married to anyone?
You must meet certain requirements in order to marry. These
vary slightly from state to state, but include:
being at least the age of consent (usually 18, though
sometimes you may marry younger with your parents' consent)
not being too-closely related to your intended spouse
having the mental capacity -- that is, you must
understand what you are doing and what consequences your actions may
being sober at the time of the marriage
not being married to anyone else
getting a blood test, and
obtaining a marriage license.
What's the difference between a "marriage license"
and a "marriage certificate"?
A marriage license is the piece of paper that authorizes you
to get married and a marriage certificate is the document that proves you
Typically, couples obtain a marriage license, have the
wedding ceremony, and then have the person who performed the ceremony file
a marriage certificate in the appropriate county office within a few days.
(This may be the office of the county clerk, recorder or registrar,
depending on where you live.) The married couple will be sent a certified
copy of the marriage certificate within a few weeks after the marriage
Most states require both spouses, the person who officiated
and one or two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate; often this is
done just after the ceremony.
Where can couples get a marriage
Couples may apply for a marriage license at any county
clerk's office in the state where you want to be married. (In some
circumstances, you must apply in the county or town where you intend to be
married -- this depends on state law.) You'll probably have to pay a small
fee for your license, and you may also have to wait a few days before it
In some states, even after you get your license you'll have
to wait a short period of time, one to three days, before you tie the
knot. In some situations, the waiting period is waivable. If you wait too
long, your license will expire. Licenses are good for 30 days to one year,
depending on the state. If your license expires before you get married,
you can apply for a new one.
Who can perform a marriage ceremony?
Non-religious ceremonies, called civil ceremonies, must be
performed by a judge, justice of the peace or court clerk who has legal
authority to perform marriages, or by a person given temporary authority
by a judge or court clerk to conduct a marriage ceremony. Religious
ceremonies must be conducted by a clergy member (priest, minister or
rabbi). Native American weddings may be performed by a tribal chief or by
another official, as designated by the tribe.
Are there requirements about what the ceremony must
Usually, no special words are required as long as the
spouses acknowledge their intention to marry each other. Keeping that in
mind, you can design whatever type of ceremony you desire.
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