How to apply for a marriage license
Obtaining a marriage license in Georgia and Massachusetts is a simple procedure*, and I recommend that you get this legal component of your wedding out of the way two to four weeks before the day of your ceremony. If you still have questions about your license after reading this page, email me and I will do my best to confirm the best way forward.
1) Visit your county’s courthouse to apply for the license. Both partners must be present. If you plan to wed in Massachusetts, apply in person along with your fiancé to any city or town clerk in the Commonwealth. This is true both for residents and for people who live outside Massachusetts.
If you are a Georgia resident, you may obtain your marriage license at the licensing office of any Georgia county. If you are a non-resident, however, you must apply for your license in the county in which you are getting married.
2) Though prices will vary depending on the county, bring to the courthouse approximately $70 (for Georgia) and $50 (for Massachusetts, though prices will vary in MA because each community sets its own amount) as well as two forms of ID (for each partner) such as driver’s license, birth certificate, US passport, Armed Forces ID card, or Resident Alien ID card. When you present your money and information, you will be asked to fill out an application form.
3) Bring to your wedding ceremony the license that the courthouse gives you. Some courthouses will mail you this license shortly after your visit, while others will give it to you in person after paying and filling out all of the forms. Depending on your ceremony plans, Tyler will sign the license during or immediately after the event.
4) Designate a dependable member of your wedding party (e.g., best-man, maid-of-honor, family member, etc.) to take the signed license from Tyler and mail it back to the address assigned by your courthouse within days of your wedding ceremony. In truth, your county typically allows you thirty days to mail in the marriage certificate, but it’s best to send it in early. And by having a trustworthy friend or family member mail it for you, you will avoid forgetting in the midst of your exciting wedding day events.
5) Finally, wait. The courthouse will (in their time) mail you a copy. Should you lose your copy or desire extras, visit the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics or the Georgia Department of Human Resource’s Vital Records website to obtain more copies.
OTHER GEORGIA INFORMATION:
If divorced within six months of your wedding ceremony, you will need to bring to the courthouse a copy of your divorce decree. Some counties require a final divorce decree no matter how long you have been divorced. You can obtain a copy of your final divorce decree from the Superior Court in the county in which you filed for divorce.
OTHER MASSACHUSSETTS INFORMATION:
Massachusetts has a three-day waiting period when applying for marriage certificates. You may go to court and obtain a court order to waive the three-day waiting period. If either of you are close to death, or if the bride is near the end of her pregnancy, a request by your attending physician or clergy-person will suffice and the clerk can issue the license immediately without a court order.
ONE MORE THING WORTHY OF NOTE:
Courthouses sometimes issue two types of marriage licenses: One requiring the signatures of both the couple and the officiant; and the other requiring the signature of the officiant only. If you desire the former either for your records or to incorporate the signing of the license into your wedding ceremony, you must make a formal request when you apply. Without a formal request, the courthouse most likely will send you a license requiring only the officiant’s signature.
Have fun at the courthouse!
*DISCLAIMER: Because marriage laws often change, the above information should be regarded as guidance and not sound legal advice. Laws can be verified by your county’s marriage license office or city clerk, and it is best to do so before making travel plans.