Certified to Marry

We did it! We got our marriage certificate!


We are now officially certified to marry! / Personal photo

This turned out to be, hands down, one of the easiest parts of wedding preparation! I did a little online research to find out Texas’s marriage requirements, to make sure that we weren’t forgetting anything. (Every single time I go to a government office for an ID-related issue—driver’s license, passport, etc.—I wait in a two hour long line, then realize I forgot something vital like my Social Security card. Not happening this time!)

If you’re interested, here are the rules of engagement (ha ha!) in the great state of Texas:

  • You and your significant other each need one valid form of ID: a driver’s license, a certified copy of your birth certificate, a US passport, a military ID card, a Social Security number, etc.
  • There is no residency requirement; neither person getting married needs to be a resident Texan to be wed here. According to my research, “Texas is a great locale for a destination wedding!”
  • The state encourages couples to attend a premarital preparation class. Mr. Wallaby and I did the “Looking Toward Marriage” class at my church, so we were able to check off this box—and save $60 on our marriage certificate! Cha-ching! Just kidding…
  • There’s a 72-hour waiting period between when you receive your marriage certificate and when you’re allowed to get married. Hence, why we decided to pick up the certificate early rather than the day before the wedding. If my darling procrastinator had it his way, we would probably swing by the courthouse on the way to the wedding to pick up the certificate.
  • Blood tests and medical examinations are not required in Texas. My parents told us they were subjected to blood tests when they got married in New Jersey in the early ’80s, but from what I’ve read, only eight states carry on this tradition.
  • If you’ve been divorced within 30 days, Texas mandates that you bring a certified copy of your divorce decree with a waiver of the 30-day waiting period. Neither of us has been previously married, so we didn’t read too much about this requirement.
  • You can’t pick up your marriage certificate any sooner than 30 days before your nuptials. Mr. W and I had passed the one-month mark, so we were (finally!) eligible to get our own certificate.

So Mr. W and I headed to the Harris County Clerk’s office in downtown Houston, where there wasn’t even a waiting line! We were out of there, marriage certificate in hand, in less than 10 minutes. We took a couple “We just got our marriage license!!” photos, and this is Mr. W’s favorite:


Personal photo

I was worried I would have recurrent nightmares that we forget to bring this to the wedding venue, or that we get too busy and forget to ask our officiant to sign it. The day of the wedding, Officiant J was responsible for signing the certificate, and we knew we’d have 30 days to return it to the clerk’s office. (We aren’t supposed to sign it ourselves, which was a surprise to me.) I’m planning on purchasing four or five certified copies of the certificate, because my married friends have advised me that I’ll need several copies when I change my name.

Does your state have any unique marriage license requirements? Did picking up your certificate make the wedding seem more “real”?


Mrs. Wallaby

Wedding Date:
November 2012
Two Names Enter, One Name Leaves
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    iswimibikeirun 1012 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:28 am

    Actually, if you qualify to get the discount because you’ve taken a class, you don’t have the 72 hour waiting period to get your license in Texas. Also, you can get one in any Texas county and use it in any other county in Texas. Some are prettier than others (so some people will go to a county that has a nicer looking certificate. Unfortunately, Harris County didn’t change to the lovely one you have until AFTER my wedding. :)

    The other hint: if you go in Texas to have it registered, ask for a certified copy when you take it in. If you need to make changes to insurance benefits at work, you have to do it within 30 days of your marriage and will likely need a certified copy of your license to do so.

  2. Member
    farinw 38 posts, Newbee @ 9:42 am

    How would you see what each county’s certificate of marriage looks like? Is there even a site for that?

  3. Member
    farinw 38 posts, Newbee @ 9:43 am

    Does anyone know if for PA I be able to bring an out of state officiant, or would there be a Pennsylvania form required?

  4. Member
    ahavah 519 posts, Busy bee @ 9:50 am

    @farinw: We had an out
    of state officiant and filed in Montgomery County Pa with
    no issues whatsoever and no requirements for paperwork specific to her.

  5. manatee Member
    manatee 31 posts, Newbee @ 10:28 am

    “According to my research” Dare I say it…is this a magic school bus reference?!

  6. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:29 am

    @farinw: PA is a Quaker State – there are no rules/regulations regarding who can marry you! :) You just have to have the license. My cousin from Georgia, who is not ordained (but obtained the certificate from the internet just in case 😉 ) is marrying us. I also know Mrs. Wizard looked into this pretty heavily because she had a self-uniting ceremony.

  7. Member
    farinw 38 posts, Newbee @ 10:59 am


    Yay! Didn’t know being in a Quaker state had it’s perks!

  8. msarmadillo Member
    msarmadillo 497 posts, Helper bee @ 12:07 pm

    OMG! This is such a helpful post. Mr. A and I will be at this point in a couple of months, so it’s nice to know about all the details surrounding marriage certificates in Texas. Thank you!!

  9. camel Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 5:46 am

    And what a cool-looking certificate it is too! Are all marriage certificates this cool looking? Something tells me no. . .

  10. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 2:03 pm

    Now I want to see Jefferson & Orange counties to decide where to get mine!

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    student loans india, Guest @ 8:59 pm

    nice information for thanks posting…..

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