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{ Let’s make it legal }

{ What you need to know about your marriage license }

Your wedding day is something you may have dreamed of your entire life, but who knew that one little piece of paper could make the biggest difference on your wedding day! Your Marriage License! The Marriage license can be one of the biggest stressors for couples before their big day! But have no fear!! Below is everything you need to know about obtaining your marriage license and making sure you make this thing official!

Step 1: Where and When?!

Before you can apply for your marriage license you must first set a date and location for your big day! Many states require that you apply for your marriage license in the county that you will be saying your nuptials in, however in the state of Georgia, as long as one of you is a Georgia resident, then you can go to any probate court in the state to apply for your marriage license. If you are an out of state resident, then knowing the location of your wedding is important because you must apply in the county you are to be wed in!

Step 2: Pay a visit to your local Probate Court

The next step is to pay a visit to your local, or specific, county probate court! Make sure you set aside a few hours for this due to wait times! The best thing to do, make a day of it! If your job allows, take the day off and spend it with your future spouse! Obtaining your marriage license doesn't have to be just another item on your to do list! Be sure to celebrate this moment with your future spouse and have some fun! However, there are a few items that you need to be sure you have with you before you head to the court house!

Essential Items:

- 2 Forms of ID. This can be your drivers license, your passport, or birth certificate.

- Parent’s Information. You will need to know both your parents’ full birth names, birthdates, and their birth state.

- If it’s not your first marriage, you will need to bring your certificate of divorce or the death certificate as proof so that you can legally remarry.

- Money. Unfortunately, there is a fee associated with applying for a marriage license, so be prepared to bring between $35 and $150 to cover the cost. You can look up online what the cost might be, so you can be prepared! Another great thing is that most probable courts will give you a cheaper rate if you have done premarital counseling, so this is a great thing to consider! This can significantly reduce the cost of the marriage license as well as teach you great

things about marriage before the big day! You just have to bring some kind of proof of marital counseling to receive the discount!

- A Witness. Some states require a witness (someone who has known you for at least six months) for the marriage license application. However, in the state of Georgia, you do not have to have a witness to obtain your marriage license!

Another thing to consider while you're at your local probate court is if you are wanting to change your name. This is the perfect time to do so! Consider what you want your new last name to be. Most brides take the last name of their spouse however, hyphenating your last names is another option. You don’t have to change your last name while you’re applying for your marriage license however, if you wait until after you’re married the only way to do this is by an official name change. This can be very costly, so consider this before making your decision.

Another great thing to do is go ahead and get an extra copy of your marriage license while you are there! We always suggest this so that you can bring a copy with you on your honeymoon, especially if you are going out of the country! We always pray nothing ever happens, but if something were to, then it's important to have proof that you and your new hubby are in fact married! We had a groom break his leg one time on their honeymoon and because they didn't have a copy of their marriage license with them, his wife wasn't able to make any decisions for him medically, so it's better to be safe then sorry!! :) So why not go ahead and pick up an extra copy!

Step 3: Get the Signatures

After receiving your marriage license, you must obtain some signatures to complete it. Many states require signatures from the officiant and two witnesses. There is a line for whoever legally preformed the marriage to sign in order to confirm that the union is legal. Two witnesses are needed to watch the couple sign the marriage license. This can be your parents, your maid of honor and best man, or any other friends or family over the age of 18. The couple getting married obviously must be present for these signatures, so it’s best to have this done after the ceremony or as soon as possible. However, in the state of Georgia, the couple isn't even required to sign the marriage license, since you already went to the court house to get it together, Georgia sees this as your consent! However your minster must sign the document and submit it!

Step 4: Turning in your Marriage License

You’re almost there! The officiant must then turn in your marriage license into the county clerk. This can be done in person or by mail. Often times the probate court will give you a pre-addressed envelope to help with this! After they have turned in your marriage license, you will either be mailed a certified copy, or be notified that you can come pick one up in person. Having the certified copy of your marriage license is important for many reasons. Yes, you are legally married without the certified copy however, you might need this copy for insurance reasons, for your credit cards or even social security purposes.

Obtaining your marriage license is just one of the many steps in planning your big day! Be sure to make this a priority as you plan for your wedding day. Enjoy the process and as always Happy Planning!

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