Friday, April 9, 2010

Do you need a marriage license BEFORE the wedding?

So the big fiasco this past week?  Getting our marriage license!

Em over at Burning River Bride recently posted about getting her marriage license.  I planned on having the same kind of post with a pic of us outside of the courthouse with the license in hand.  I had been wanting to get it for weeks, but Mr Fix It kept putting it off. 

So on Friday April 2nd, I told him, "We have just two weeks before the wedding!  It's time to get the license."

Well, of course on Friday afternoon, he calls me and asks "Babe, can we please get it another day?  I am just so not in the mood today."  Why do you have to be in the mood?  Really?

So I am not happy at all but tell him fine and tell him that since I work full time every day except Friday that he is going to have to meet me down there after work on Tuesday before they close at 5 pm to pick up our license.  He agrees.

Tuesday comes around, I get to the courthouse and call to see where he is.  He's in traffic on the freeway.  I walk up to the courthouse door and they are closed!  GASP!  What?  It's only 4:20 pm!  Don't most government buildings close at 5:00 pm?!?  WTF?!?

So I tell Mr Fix It who then proceeds to scream and cuss at me about all the time he has wasted and how he has 'so much to do.'  Then he yells "With everything you've been obsessed with about this wedding, you didn't think to call and check what the hours were before I drive all the way down here?"

Well, I tried to ask Jesus to keep me patient and calm but it didn't work well.  Because I began yelling at him about how it's all his fault because he kept putting me off and I wanted to do this on Friday when he blew me off!

We hung up and 5 minutes later he calls me back apologizing profusely and asking me to please forgive him, he's just totally stressed.  I told him I was sorry that I didn't call to check first (I thought about it and always do that but for whatever reason just sat with the assumption).  He told me there was no way he was going to let me apologize for anything with all the work I've been doing and he was totally wrong to scream at me like that.

No biggie, we're both over it and we just went to dinner and he helped me finish assembling the escort card favor boxes.  So we're going to go today instead.

Funny thing is - in the course of him yelling, he asks me why we even need to get the marriage license now anyway?  I told him I guess we won't be legally married on the 16th and he responds with "You can just fill it out and sign it later and date it with our wedding date.  It doesn't get mailed in until after anyway."

Now, I don't know much about it, but for some reason I am thinking you need to PICK UP the license BEFORE your actual wedding date!  Am I wrong?


Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Stacey, the license is valid for 90 days, like in most states.

People get it before the wedding because the officiant of your wedding signs that day with your 2 witnesses (this was part of our ceremony in the church). Yes it gets mailed in after, but it is validated on the day of the wedding. Hope that helps!

More info here:

Em said...

Huh...interesting question. I was always under the impression that you needed it before the marriage date.

Here is what my officiant told me: say vows, exchange rings, say I do, officiant pronounces in front of witnesses that you're husband/wife, walk down the aisle, sign license immediately following all of that, then finally the officiant takes it and drops it in the mail.

Yeah I'm pretty sure you need it before. Plus, why would you want the hassle of doing yet ANOTHER thing after the wedding? Plus, I just did a little Googling and it does look like most states require the license to be issues before the wedding. I'd check w/ your officiant and your state (or county) to get the facts, though.

Heather Martin said...

I just got my marriage license on Monday and you are supposed to get it before the wedding. I know in Texas you have to wait 72 hours to get married after receiving your marriage license. Also on the form the person who marries you is supposed to fill it out and send it in.

You should check the requirements for your state because if you have a wait period there is no way youll be able to get married first then apply for the license.

JEM - Aqua Bride said...

It seems that every where I look, there's a requirement to wait a certain number of days after getting the license to be married, so I'm assuming that it's pretty standard to get it before.

If for no other reason just for your piece of mind, you should get it. You wouldn't want to be on your honeymoon and find out you're not legally married yet.
That would suck big time.

A. Marigold said...

You have to get it before the wedding to be legally married on your wedding date. Since you guys are going right out of town for your honeymoon, you should have it ahead of time! You can't backdate a marriage if you don't already have the license (if you HAVE it and then sign it later--the registrar needs to receive it within ten days of the actual date of the wedding) then that is probably okay.

Bicoastal Bride said...

Yes, you need it before the marriage date, since an officiant should not perform a marriage ceremony unless you present him or her with a valid marriage license. At our church, the witnesses will sign it at the rehearsal, and the priest will sign it after the marriage takes place. If you went in to get one after the date of your actual marriage ceremony, I don’t think the county would still grant you one.

PartyPlannerGal said...

Haven't looked into the rules yet, but these ladies are a wealth of knowledge, as usual! I'm glad you and Mr. Fix-it were able to get past this argument. I imagine there is so much stress right now, but you two are doing a great job handling it all. Hang in there :)

Bee @ BP Wedding said...

I'm so glad that you asked this question because I had no idea that you needed one before the actual wedding day! I loved reading all of the thoughtful responses that you got and will now make sure we go and get one before the big day!

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