You’ve been wedding planning away and it’s almost time for your wedding day! You are checking off your to-do list items one by one and counting down the days until your “I do’s.” While you are getting items checked off your list, there is one very important box that needs to be checked off before your wedding day: getting your marriage license.
Before we dive into the process of applying for your marriage license, let’s first answer the question: what is a marriage license? A marriage license is a document issued, either by a religious organization or state authority that you’ll need to apply for and get approved before you can get legally married; sort of like an application. This is different than your marriage certificate.
What is a marriage certificate? A marriage certificate is what you get after you are married. It is essentially legal proof that you and your new spouse are married. After your marriage license has been approved, you’ve had your ceremony, signed the marriage license, and your officiant has turned the license back into the county, then you receive your marriage certificate!
Let’s dive into the 4 steps to getting both your license and certificate below!
You may have already locked down your wedding date and venue, which is great! In order to apply for your marriage license, you will need your ceremony date and the physical address of your ceremony location. For our Eloise couples, see below for our venue’s address:
2212 County Road JG
Mount Horeb, WI 53572
County: Dane County
Village: Blue Mounds
If you are getting married off-site, you’ll want to get the physical address of that location to put on your application.
After you have your wedding date and ceremony location confirmed, then it’s time to apply! Let’s break it down:
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Visit Dane County’s website for all updated and official information: https://clerk.countyofdane.com/marriage_license.aspx
After you two say your I Do’s, it’s time to gather up the signatures you need on your marriage license.
For Dane County, you will need 5 signatures:
2. Your Spouse
3. Your Officiant
4. Adult Witness
5. Adult Witness
We cannot stress this enough, but make sure to read the instructions on how to complete your marriage license before your wedding date. This is an extremely important form with very specific instructions and you want to make sure you complete it accurately.
You don’t want to be combing through the instructions after your ceremony, trying to figure out what to do, and hoping you did it right. You’ll want to be out celebrating with family and friends, so make sure to read all of the instructions before your wedding day!
When you sign your marriage license after the ceremony, this is where you will note if you will be changing or hyphenating your last name. Again, this is a discussion you want to have before your wedding day as well as read over the instructions.
After your license has been signed, it is your officiant’s responsibility to return the marriage license to the county clerk. They can do this either by mail or in person. After that, you’re all set!
Check with the county clerk’s office to see if you will either be mailed a certified copy of your marriage license, or if you will need to go in person to pick up your marriage certificate.
You will need this marriage certificate to show proof of your marital status for insurance (car, health, etc.), Social Security (if you’re changing your name), your credit cards, and your bank accounts just to name a few things.
Once again, be sure to visit Dane County’s website for all updated and official information: https://clerk.countyofdane.com/marriage_license.aspx
Photography: Damaris Photography
Venue: The Eloise
Florist: Feisty Flowers
Hair Stylist: Allison Otte
Makeup Artist: Starstruck Artistry L.L.C.
Bride’s Attire: JJ’s House
Groom’s Attire: Nedrebos Formal Wear
Rentals: Chance Productions
Stationery & Calligraphy: Kalligraphy Kat
Models: Megan Schisel + Jacob Owen