How to Get a Florida Marriage License
Your wedded bliss won’t be official until you obtain your Florida marriage license. Here’s everything you need to know before you head to get yours.
by Victoria Lynne
We here at Intimate Weddings of Tampa see the stresses that often accompany the wedding planning process. In the middle of the crazy that swirls around the organizing your wedding and honeymoon plans, it’s surprisingly easy to forget that you actually have to get married legally. A marriage license is basically your permit for marital love—the legal confirmation that you and your partner are free and eligible to marry one another. Sure, it’s paperwork, but it’s still exciting (not to mention necessary).
So where do you even start? The internet will likely be your best bet here. Most, if not all, states have a government website with ample information on what materials and documents are required and the office’s contact information.
Once you know in which municipality (state, city, and county) your nuptials will take place, you’ll need to locate where to obtain the license. In Florida, the local county Clerk of Courts office usually has all the answers that you will need. The Clerk may be located in a city hall, or the local courthouse of the county, or vicinity you are getting married. In some counties you can simply download a marriage license form, fill it out, and bring that with you when you go to get your license. The license itself will be issued once you turn it in at the courthouse and pay your fee.
Other than the physical paperwork, it’s important to be wary of timing. The State of Florida requires a three-day waiting period between granting the license and your nuptials taking place, if you are a Florida resident. Also, most marriage licenses are only valid for a window of time—60 days—during which you must have the ceremony, have your officiant sign the marriage license, and return it to the Clerk of Courts office no later than 10 days after the ceremony takes place.
Another option in the state of Florida, is to use a marriage license procurement service such as Married by Mail. They can save you the hassle renting a car, driving through traffic, and waiting in line to get your marriage license. They deliver your marriage license to the person officiating the ceremony, someone you designate, or the wedding planner, before the day of the wedding.
Requirements do vary by state, but they all want to confirm the basics: that you have proper identification, that you’re not currently married to anyone else (if you previously were, you need proper divorce or widowhood papers if it is less than 5 years) and that you’re of legal age to marry. A good checklist of necessities includes:
- Birth certificate
- Parental consent if underage (usually under 18); you may also need court consent in this case
- Photo identification (driver’s license, state ID card, or passport)
- Social Security number
- Divorce decree if divorced (if less than 5 years)
- Death certificate if widowed (if less than 5 years)
If you are changing your last name we highly recommend having that discussion before you file for your marriage license. Of course, if you’d rather wait to decide, you can. In that case, work with a service like MissNowMrs to make the name change process as seamless as possible after the wedding. Just don’t book honeymoon plans in your married name as most people will not have time to change their passport before the trip.