I have conducted over 150 weddings in Texas over the past 6 years and we have coached hundreds more. The MOST common question we get from a bride and groom is, “how do I get my marriage license?” Whether you are getting married or know someone is getting married this blog is for you. Here they are “the 5 things you need to know about getting your marriage license”
#5 – Take Advantage of TwogetherinTexas
What is TwogetherinTexas, you ask? It was created several years ago in Texas to encourage healthy marriages– it rewards engaged couples completing CERTIFIED pre-married courses, counseling, and coaching by waiving the state filing fee (currently $60) for the marriage license. Don’t think of it as a free marriage license but instead think of it as the state giving you $60 toward helping you have a great marriage. In addition, it is good for a year, so you can get pre-married help before the final crunch. Many have asked us if they really need pre-married coaching. Here is the litmus test:
- Do you ever have unresolved conflict?
- Do you ever miscommunicate?
- Have you learned everything about your future spouse’s personality?
- Do you ever have stress?
- Have you unpacked everything about sexual expectations, finances, spiritual beliefs, and both of your families?
#4- You Go to The County Clerk
Not all counties are created equal. First you can get a marriage license in any county; you DO NOT have to get it in the county you are getting married in. Many states will let you use a Texas marriage license in their state the officiant will just write the county and State (this means you could still get $60 off your marriage license). You will need to get the license 72 hours before the ceremony unless you complete a TwogetherinTexas course. In addition, different counties charge different amounts; you can save a little extra money by choosing wisely.
#3-You Both Need to Be There with Valid Identification
One person cannot get a marriage license, you both have to be there each with one of the following from Collin County Clerks website:
- Valid government issued photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include: drivers license, passport, military ID or an identification card issued by Texas or another state, the United States or a foreign government.
- Social Security number. You are not required to show your social security card.
PLEASE NOTE: The name listed on your marriage license MUST match the name on your identification.
#2- Don’t Wait to Get Your License
Many people do not realize the license is valid for 90 days. However, DON’T wait to get it. When you are in the final sprint to your wedding why add this to the mix? Go ahead and get it out of the way. Then PUT IT SOMEWHERE SAFE (many counties will reprint it free of charge if something happens to it).
#1- Only the Officiant Needs to Fill it Out
Unlike some states, Texas only requires the officiant fill out the marriage license. Some counties allow for a witness signature, but it is not required. It is interesting how many couples I tell this to, but then they call and ask me after the ceremony. Many times it is because their family has convinced them they need to do something. In addition, it is your officiant’s job to get it back to the county clerk. Most licenses come with a self-addressed envelope, and can be hand-delivered for faster service. After the officiant mails it in, allow an average of 14-21 business days for it to get back to you.
There you go! The top 5 things you need to know. But as a bonus here is a link from our friends at The Knot on how to change your name. Remember we are here for all of your needs and the first meeting is always FREE!
Scott and Abigail