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What Is The Difference Between A Marriage License, Marriage Certificate & A Certified Marriage Certificate

marriage license

In the world of marriage-related legal paperwork, there are three main documents: the marriage license, the marriage certificate and the certified marriage certificate. Each has a unique purpose and filing method. Curious which does what? Read on for the full scoop…

A marriage license is the legal document that authorizes your marriage in the United States. You need to file for your marriage license prior to your wedding, or it will not constitute a legal marriage (oops). Each state, and many time each individual county, has a different set of rules around the timing of filing for your marriage license, how long it is good for, how much the fee is and who has to file for it. Thankfully MarriageLicenseNow has compiled all of the information brides are looking for into one free online resource!

A marriage certificate is a document issued by a religious institution (read church or synagogue) that commemorates your marriage. Many times this certificate features gorgeous calligraphy and images of faith. While a marriage certificate is lovely, it is a keepsake not a legal document that you can use to file for things such as legally changing to your married last name.

A certified marriage certificate is the legal document proving that you are indeed legally married. It is typically signed by the individual who performed your marriage ceremony and then mailed to the county clerk’s office. The county clerk then certifies the document with an official seal or embossment and mails it to the newlywed couple. A certified marriage certificate can be used to prove legal marriage status with any government agency. It is the document you use to file all of the forms for your married name change.

Now you’re in the know! Feel free to share this information with other engaged friends via Facebook, Pinterest or email.

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