How To Register for Marriage

Before you can legally get married in your state, you need to register for marriage. You'll need all the right paperwork before your marriage can be made official and you'll have to complete the application process correctly. So follow this guide on how to register for marriage.

Step 1

Give yourself plenty of time. Registering for marriage takes some time, so it's definitely not something that you can leave to the last minute when you're planning a wedding. Some places take several months to finalize marriage registration papers. You don't want the waiting process to hinder your marriage plans, so apply for your marriage license and registration early.

Step 2

Get in touch with the right government office. You will need to find out the right place to go in order to get your marriage registration in your state. Every city, county or state likely has a slightly different application process. Contact the government offices in the state in which you're getting married, and inquire about the process for applying or registering for marriage. In some states, this office is known as the Registrar; in others, it's simply Public Records. If you're not sure who to talk to, dial in to the main administrative phone number and ask for help.

Step 3

Come prepared.  Waiting periods and requirements vary somewhat by state. But in general, you'll need to come fully prepared to the government office if you expect your marriage registration to go off without a hitch. Even though most states only require you to register for marriage 3 days before your actual wedding ceremony, this is definitely cutting it too close. Go early and go prepared so that you leave time for the unknown.

When you do arrive, get ready to wait. You never know how long the lineup will be. And if you've only left yourself a certain amount of time in the day to complete this errand, you might run into trouble. Go in the morning to avoid longer lineups and be prepared for a long wait before you can talk to someone about registering for marriage.

When you visit the government office where you'll register for marriage, you'll need to bring several items with you. Again, every state has slightly different requirements. But in general, you'll need proof of the bride and groom's full name  (birth certificate or passport), address, age, and any documents that are linked to previous marriages (such as divorce documents, annulments, or death certificates).

You should also be prepared to pay a fee when you register your marriage. Generally, it will be around a hundred dollars, but again, this number changes all the time and varies by state. Bring your credit card if you're unable to confirm the fees or cost beforehand.

Step 4

Make exceptions for unique circumstances. If either you or your spouse isn't an American citizen, or if one of you immigrated, you will likely be asked for paperwork concerning that as well. Look into the rules and regulations in your state about marriage to someone who isn't or previously wasn't an American citizen. You may need more paperwork than you knew about, which is another good reason to start this application process early to avoid disappointment.

Step 5

Follow through after the wedding. You should receive your wedding registration without any issues if you filed your application properly and gave yourself enough time. To complete the process, though, you will need to follow up with the government offices after you get married. See what they need you to file with them in order to legally register your marriage after you've tied the knot.


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