Many couples aren't sure what needs to be done and how to go about obtaining their marriage license, here is a helpful guide to help you out!
TO GET MARRIED IN WASHINGTON STATE, A COUPLE NEEDS TO APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE, WHICH INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS
- Marriage License Retained by the person who performs the marriage ceremony (officiant). The license provides notice to the officiant that he/she is authorized to perform the marriage ceremony of the parties named on the license only between the dates specified on the license. The officiant can be any ordained minister or priest of any church or religious denomination, or any Washington State judge or superior court commisioner.
- Certificate of Marriage Retained by the bride and groom (parties). This red and gold commemorative copy is not an official copy; certified copies of Health Certificates can be ordered; see next paragraph.
- Washington State Department of Health Certificate of Marriage. Returned by the wedding officiant to the country from which the marriage license was purchased, recorded by the county and then forwarded to Washington State Vital Statistics. A certified copy of this record is considered an official copy and can be obtained from the county from which the marriage license was purchased.
RULES AND TIMELINES FOR APPLYING AND USING A WASHINGTON STATE MARRIAGE LICENSE:
- As of December 6, 2012, same-sex couples are eligible to apply for a Washington State marriage license.
- Both parties must be 18 years or older (parental consent required if 17) to apply for a marriage license. Washington State does not require witnesses, blood tests, birth certificates, or divorce papers (however, divorce must be final and filed.)
- Washington State law requires a three-day waiting period before the marriage license becomes valid. This means that you must wait at least three full days after the application is filed before the marriage ceremony can be performed. For example, if the application is made on Monday, the first day it can be used its Thursday.; if application is made on Wednesday, the first day it can be used is Saturday.
- The license is valid for only 60 days. The marriage ceremony must be performed before the 60-day expiration of the license. By Washington State law, any minister or priest of any church or religious denomination, and any Washington State judge or justice can perform the marriage.
- Be sure to use BLACK INK when completing the information on the application. Many county offices use an automated processing system that will not read an application unless written in black ink.
- A marriage license purchased from any country in Washington State can be used to get married anywhere in the State. Just remember that the permanent record will be filed with the county from which you purchased your license. The prices and exact procedures vary, but most counties require that In Person applications must be done with both bride and groom present to sign the application before a marriage license staff member or a notary. The marriage license will be given to the parties immediately.