(Closed) I feel so stupid! I thought the marriage license was the marriage certificate.

posted 8 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Did you mail it in to the county clerk AFTER the wedding?  We mailed our license in, then the exact same thing got sent back to us but was now “certified”.  We do not have a license AND certificate.   Does that make sense?  It may be differnet in other states?  

Post # 4
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I brought my license into the same place I got it from and they certified it then and there. It all depends on the dmv or wherever you got it, I think only certain offices do it, if your local one doesn’t, mail it in and you’ll get your official one back.

Post # 5
1599 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Yeah I think it depends on the state.  In CA you’re not given a copy of anything, you have to either mail in for a copy or go to the county recorder to pick up a copy of the certified marriage license.

Post # 7
3054 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Where I live, the license was mailed in and then I had to go pick up the certificate. Then I sent that to the SS office and then went to the DMV. 

Post # 8
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

hmm..that’s interesting.  The same certificate that we picked up when we applied for the license, was the same form we signed on wedding day, and that was what we mailed to the clerk and what was then mailed back to us.  If we want copies of that, we have to pay additonaly, but our our orignal was mailed back (and what I took to the SS office).  I wonder if I’m mixing things up, or if other states have 2 seperate certifcates?  

Post # 9
526 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@Leemarie:  What state are you in? The thing they mailed back should be your marriage certificate (the form that the officiant signed that was then signed by the clerk when it was officially recorded). It serves as your license prior to getting married (ie allows you to get married) and then certifies that you have been married after the event.

Post # 10
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@Leemarie:  Our certificate is our license, filled out, mailed in, and returned with the seal of the county on it.

Post # 11
7439 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

From what I’ve read / experienced many jurisdictions handle the legal paperwork differently…

For example…

First time I was married (circa 1980), was in Canada… back then we didn’t get a Marriage License… because if you are marrying in a religious ceremony… they just publish “the bans” of marriage for a couple of weeks (lets the world know your intentions to marry)… and then after the Ceremony you sign the Church Register, and get a copy of a pretty certificate with everyone’s signature that becomes your Legal Marriage Ceritifcate.

This time round, I was married in Florida.  We went into a County Courthouse a few days before, filled out a form with our details (becomes the Marriage License).  Read some info / brochure about Domestic Violence and swore an oath that we could legally marry without impediment infront of the Clerk.  They inturn “stamped & sealed” the Marriage License and we were legal to go.  We handed the Marriage License to our Officiant on our Wedding Day.  They verified that it was filled out, signed & sealed… performed the Wedding Ceremony… signed the Marriage License and sent it off to the County Court House.  They inturn recorded the pertinent info (Date & Location of Marriage, and who performed it)… registered it and recorded an official number… stamped it onto the Marriage License… gave it another official stamp & seal… and returned it to us… and NOW it was the Marriage Certificate.

I understand that different States do things differently… in Florida it is one piece of paper thru the whole process…. License to Certificate.  In some other places there is seperate papers issued for each.

In our case the Florida Marriage Certificate was mailed to us after it was processed by the County Court House… but in some places I do believe you have to go pick it up (or file it on your own if it isn’t something that your Officiant does for you)

Hope this helps,


Post # 13
729 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

In the several states I’ve been in license = certificate, but at different stages. As others said.  Before you get married you get a license. Some states require varying waiting times (or none) before it can be signed officially by your officiant and you both, usually after/before wedding or could just be at the courthouse with a judge… however you get married.

But anyhow, you get the marriage license.  Then you get married (wedding or not) and the officiant signs that they married you, and you and your new spouse sign it.  Then you, or often the officiant, sends or takes it to the court to be certified.  The the court mails it back to you as your marriage certificate.

It IS confusing because it is often the exact document.  Signatures and the county recorders seal make it the marriage certificate.

Just to confuse matters more there is sometimes a fancy “certificate” you can get which isn’t legal to prove marriage but looks fancy on the wall and comes from the same place (for a price!).

I don’t blame you for being confused!!




Post # 14
8247 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I agree with the PPs.  We had to get a marriage license before the wedding and it was filled out and signed by us and the officiant.  Our officiant then sent that into the state where they process it and officially certify us as married.


In order to get a marriage certificate (post-wedding) I had to either go to the office downtown and pay for one or I could send them a check with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and they would mail a certificate back to me.

The topic ‘I feel so stupid! I thought the marriage license was the marriage certificate.’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors