How to apply for a marriage license?

What’s the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate? Many couples spend hours researching these questions like these. In this blog, read up on the important details for applying for a marriage license. 

You need it, and you need to do it right. 

With your wedding day quickly approaching, you’ve got a million things on your mind. Although your to-do list may be long, don’t forget to go to the courthouse to fill out the legal paperwork before the wedding. After all, obtaining a marriage license is the most important thing to do before you say “I do.” You can’t legally get married without it. 

What is a marriage license, and why is it so important? 

It’s more than a piece of paper. Without it, our professional nebraska wedding officiants cannot marry you! Even if you have misplaced or lost the license before your big day, there’s nothing we can do. Talk about a nightmare! 

Before you start worrying, take a deep breath! Every single married American has taken the steps necessary to obtain a marriage license, and you and your fiance can, too. 

A marriage license is the official legal document that signifies a marriage as a legal document. This is important for tax, insurance, and banking purposes. It needs to be filled out correctly so that your union will be sanctioned by the government, including signatures from the bride, groom, officiant, and sometimes witnesses. 

A marriage certificate is the marriage license’s artistic sibling, something you can keep on the wall of your home or place in an album. There are hundreds of styles, from quirky to classic. So, there’s a design to suit the taste of every couple.

When should you get your marriage license? 

The answer depends on where you’re getting married. You can read up on to read up on the marriage license requirements by state. There are different rules about how long the marriage license is valid. However, it’s common for a marriage license to be valid for 30-90 days. However, some states and counties may have waiting periods when you obtain the permit. So be sure to do your research well in advance of your ceremony. 

Suppose you can call to make a reservation to get your license. Not only will this save you waiting time, but it’ll also help lesson pre-pick-up jitters (which are common when dealing with marriage legalities). 

When I apply for a marriage license, what documents should I bring? 

In most states, you can apply for a marriage license in person during regular business hours. However, you’ll need to review the Marriage License Requirements, complete the application and submit the proper paperwork to apply correctly. 

Pro-tip: Save yourself some time and energy by downloading the marriage license application and filling it out digitally. Then, you can print it off and submit it to the state. Not only does this save time, but digital print can be easier to understand than handwriting. 

Expect to pay a fee for a marriage license. In Nebraska, the price is normally around $25. In addition, you’ll want to pre-pay for a certified copy for an additional cost, which is required to change the name on a driver’s license and Social Security record. 

Nebraska Quick Links:

Who can legally get married? 

Any person who is at least 19-years old may apply for a marriage license. 

If you’re under the legal age, a notarized consent form must be signed by the applicant’s father, mother, legal guardian, or custodian, giving consent to the marriage of a minor. If the individual giving consent is a legal guardian or custodian, the appropriate paperwork must be presented to show the relationship to the minor. 

Are same-sex marriages allowed in the State of Nebraska? 

Absolutely! The State of Nebraska does recognize same-sex marriages. 

Do you perform same-sex marriage ceremonies? 

As a professional wedding officiant, I want to be as engaging, friendly, and inclusive as possible for all my clients. Love is Love, and you’re always welcome here. I’d be so honored to perform your wedding ceremony. 

How do you handle destination weddings? 

If you’re planning your wedding outside of Nebraska or Iowa, it’s best to speak to one of our professional wedding officiants via phone or in person. Speaking over the phone can help cut back on miscommunication.

We recommend taking care of your marriage license and having a small civil wedding ceremony where you currently live. Before you jet-set off, taking care of this can relieve the potential stress of dealing with out-of-state government agencies. You’ll rest easy knowing your paperwork is legal and properly handled. 

Additionally, it can get quite expensive to marry in a country where documentation is not prepared in English. Translation costs start to add up. And keep in mind, these are just a few obstacles you may have to encounter. 

When do we complete & sign the marriage license? 

In most cases, we’ll want you to sign your marriage license during the ceremony rehearsal. This is a good idea because it’s one less thing you’ll need to remember during your big day. 

If you’re not having a wedding rehearsal, our Omaha wedding officiants will ask you to complete the paperwork immediately before the wedding ceremony. 

After the wedding, we’ll offer to mail the documentation in so that the state can help issue you a marriage certificate. 


Obtaining a marriage license properly can seem overwhelming at times. But, with preparations, you and your partner will be ready to say “I do” the right way in no time at all. Be sure to look up the requirements in the state that you’ll get married, prepare all paperwork and documents ahead of time, and call for an appointment, if possible. 

Another benefit to hiring a professional wedding officiant is the help and experience we’re able to offer. So if you’re ready to book us for your big day, please reach out via email or schedule an appointment here

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