Q&A: Wedding Details: When to Apply for a License?


My boyfriend and I just got engaged. We haven't set a date yet and it may be over a year before the actual event—do we need to apply for a marriage license now or hold off?


Don't bother with getting the license until you've set the date. Most states have both a waiting period after you apply for the license (usually just a few days) as well as an expiration policy that dictates the length of time a license is valid. This can range anywhere from a few weeks to six months, but if you're not getting married for another year, why waste time hauling yourselves to city hall, the town clerk's office, or the local marriage license bureau to apply if there's a chance it might expire before the ceremony? Forget about it! Once you've set a date, and then give your local marriage license bureau a buzz to confirm their guidelines and make your plan for a license to wed.

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by The Knot