What is a marriage license?

A marriage license is a legal document that you must obtain prior to your marriage ceremony. A license can sometimes be confused with a marriage certificate. The certificate is a document that simply shows that you were legally married.  You’ll get a marriage certificate after the wedding ceremony.

How do I get my marriage license?

To start, you need proper identification and your social security number. Then you can head to the county clerk office and get the process started. Valid identification includes a valid driver’s license, passport, government issued identification, etc. The beautiful thing about Texas is that you’re not limited to applying within your local county, you can go to any county clerk office in Texas to get your marriage license. Once you apply for your license it’ll be valid in all counties within the state.

Can I submit my marriage license application online?

Actually, you both will have to go to the county clerk’s office in person and pay for your marriage license. Make sure to check the hours of operation for your nearest county clerk office. Typically, the offices are available Monday through Friday, not including national holidays. You can find the forms online at the county clerk’s website if you want to get started with filling out the papers before you head to the office. Unfortunately, the application can’t be submitted online. 

What if my spouse is in the military?

Often times some members of the military can’t be present to obtain a marriage license from the county clerk’s office. “Texas allows the military applicant to turn in a notarized absentee affidavit. Affidavits can be notarized on base. This affidavit can then be returned to the county clerk without the person being present, to obtain the license.  The 72-hour waiting period is waived automatically for all military couples.” 3 Continue reading to learn more about the 72-hour waiting period to see how it applies to civilians.

How much does a marriage license cost in Houston?

As of 2021, the cost of a marriage license in Houston Texas is $72 but may range anywhere between $60-$85 depending on the county. However, you can check the county clerk website for any updated pricing.

Is my marriage license valid? Does it expire?

Once you receive your license, technically it isn’t valid for the first 72 hours. After this short waiting period, you’re all set to get married! Just make sure to get legally married within 30 days or your marriage license will expire. You can always have your official wedding ceremony well before your big wedding if you still have months to wait.

How do I get legally married?

As long as you have an authorized officiant perform your wedding ceremony then you’ll be legally married. Both of you and your officiant need to sign your marriage license. It needs to be returned to the county clerk in order for you to get your actual marriage certificate mailed out. You can expect it in the mail within a couple weeks.

Resources Used:

  1. Texas State Law Library
  2. City Applications TX
  3. Texas Wedding Ministries
  4. County Clerk Harris County Texas

I hope you found this information helpful. Happy wedding planning! If you want to meet the photographer behind the blog? Click here to learn more about Joy.

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