Easy Guide to Marriage Certificates

Photographer: Amy & Stuart

Photographer: Amy & Stuart

I’m sure you already know you need a marriage license to legally get married (and if you don’t, now you do), but did you also know that you have to get another document, your marriage certificate, to prove it? These two things are not the same! This super important little document is what legally verifies that you and your new spouse are married, which will allow you to do things like change your name, share health benefits, file taxes, apply for loans, and a host of other adult things. While having your marriage certificate is incredibly important, it’s also incredibly easy to acquire by following these simple steps. 

First things first, you need to obtain your marriage license and get married! Chances are, if you’re looking through these instructions you’ve already done both those things, but in case you haven’t, check out my handy guide for getting your marriage license: http://www.perfecttheevent.com/blogs/2018/10/4/getting-your-marriage-license

Your officiant will mail your marriage license to the Clerk Recorder’s office (the instructions come included in your license packet). It takes 5 to 10 business days for the recorder’s office to process your license once it has arrived, so allow enough time for it to arrive and for processing before you show up.

One of the best parts about getting your marriage certificate is that you and your spouse don’t both have to be present to pick it up. One of you can work it into your schedule whenever you have time, all you need is your I.D. or driver’s license. You also don’t need an appointment!

When you’re ready, head on over to your local Hall of Records Office. We have a few branches here in Orange County where PTE is located, which you can take a look at by following this link: http://www.ocrecorder.com/about/locations. Remember that the Courthouse and Hall of Records are not the same thing, so you will not be going to the same place you got your marriage license! 

Once you are at the Hall of Records, you’ll sign in (usually through a computer), specify you are obtaining a marriage license, and wait in line to see a clerk (or not, depending on when you go!). Now is the moment of truth! You’ll show your Driver’s license or I.D. to verify you are an “authorized person,” meaning you are one of the two people who got married, make your payment (I believe in OC each copy is $15, I recommend getting at least two just in case you lose one or have to wait a long time in sending one off to get your name changed or what have you), and they’ll print it out for you right there. Done and done. Seriously, that’s it. 

Wasn’t that painless? You now have all the documents you need to prove you are legally married and can check another thing off your post-wedding to-do-list. Now, go forth and do all those wonderful official things married people do!