Fast Track to the Altar – A Brief Wedding Checklist

In September 11, 2014

Congratulations, you’re getting married! Whether it’s you or someone close to you, getting married is a big step and once you have decided to tie the knot, the hard work really begins. Finding a dress, choosing flowers and hiring a photographer are all challenging (and at times expensive) tasks. However, do not forget about the legalities of the matter! While the exact process varies from state to state, a few common documents may be necessary to get the license, change your name and get moving with the process. Be sure to check the actual requirements of your state, but keep in mind these important papers that are often required by law to obtain a license or to start the process of changing a name.

  • Identification Cards – A driver’s license or state ID card is a must have for getting married in every state. It is important that to provide proof of your identity before the license is issued.
  • Social Security Card (or Number) – A social security number is necessary for getting married, and the actual card may be required to change the name. If you do not have the card, the process for obtaining one from the Social Security Administration may include providing a birth certificate and valid photo ID (such as a driver’s license or ID card.)
  • Birth Certificate – Changing your name on your driver’s license may require showing an official birth certificate copy. States are beginning to require more information to change a name on the license, so you may want to have this document before beginning this process.
  • Death Certificate – If you are a widow or widower, you may need to prove the death of your former partner to receive the marriage license.
  • Divorce Decree – If you or your future spouse has been divorced in the past, the state may require that you provide information about the divorce, possibly with a copy of the divorce decree.
  • Proof of Marriage Counseling – Marriage counseling is a requirement for obtaining a marriage license in some states. If this is the case in your area, you will need to provide a form signed by your counselor or minister.

As you can see, there can be a number of documents necessary to get your legal ‘ducks in a row’ before marriage. Try not to worry too much about these little details—most of these forms can be easily obtained from an appropriate government organization or their authorized ordering service. If you are planning a wedding, start obtaining these documents early so that you can spend the time before your big day worrying about cake and your crazy family instead of whether your birth certificate or other documents will arrive in time!


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