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The Single Most Important Thing…

The Marriage License!

Yesterday Walter and I got our marriage license. People don’t really talk about this mundane, but very important detail of wedding planning. So, here is a little help for all you readers.

A marriage license in Hennepin County costs $100. However, if you do pre-martial counseling the cost drops considerably. I think it goes down to $30. That sounds like a great deal, but you have to pay for the counseling, which can run $200 – $400. Now I am not discouraging the pre-martial counseling, in fact Walter and I seriously considered it. If you want more information I would recommend calling Tairie Starr (Ceremonies by Starr), a non-denominational minister/officiant, at 612.823.7378. She gave me great information on what the pre-martial program entails.

To get your marriage license you first have to apply. When you apply, you will put your new name change, if applicable.

The easiest way is to apply online:

Once you submit the application online, you print out the confirmation page and bring it in to one of the government centers. There are several government centers around town, we went to the one by Southdale.

When you get to the government center they print off your application, have you sign a few things, pay the fee and then they hand you your license. A few things to note: you will need your social security number and a valid form of photo ID, such as your drivers license. Also, both of you need to be present at the government center or else the process gets a lot more complicated.

I was actually surprised that we left with the actual license. It was a little anti-climatic. No fancy paper, no pomp and circumstance. Just a “congratulations” from the government worker.

Even though they give you the license, you actually have to wait 5 days before you get married. It isn’t valid the day you get it. This is much different than places like Las Vegas, so you need to plan ahead. We got our license on Monday and it isn’t valid until Saturday. But don’t plan too far ahead, the license is only good for 6 months.

Finally, when you do finally get married, the license needs to be signed by your officiant, the bride and groom, and two witnesses. Typically the witnesses are the maid of honor and the best man. The officiant mails it in and it will arrive in your mailbox a few weeks later.

Then you can live happily ever after.

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