How to obtain a marriage license no matter where you tie the knot

Your wedding should be bliss! Here are some tips to obtain a marriage license, no matter what country you tie the knot in!

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  • Soon you will tie the proverbial knot, and say "I do!" to the person you've been dreaming about. While you're floating above the clouds on your way to the ceremony, don't forget your license. No, not your drivers license, although that may come in handy — your marriage license. What?! That's right, you need a license, and sometimes more, to get married! Don't worry, we're here to help. Here are tips for obtaining a marriage license, no matter what country your getting married in.

  • Because license requirements can be very different depending on the country, we'll cover only a few specific places here.

  • America

  • You will need a license, and sometimes a blood test, to get married. Licenses can be obtained from the local court house with a copy of your ID or your birth certificate. Some states require both. Almost every state has a mandatory waiting period from one to five days before you can marry. The fees range from $25 to $100. You'll both need to be present to sign the certificate. Here are some links to help you in your search for happiness, but it is best to contact the city you are getting married in directly for updated requirements.

  • Marriage License by township
  • Some cities let you apply online
  • Europe

  • Belgium and the Netherlands require you to apply before hand, it's called Ondertrouw, it can be quite a process so it is best to start a few months early.

    • Here is a link to the steps required for the Netherlands and in Belgium.

    • In the United Kingdom, you need 16 days notice before getting married. Here is the link to information for obtaining licenses in the UK, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

    • Germany you will need a civil ceremony before a religious one as well. You will both need to be present and obtain a certificate stating that you are free to be married with no legal attachments to anyone else.

    • Italy requires you to post your announcement for a period of time before you are allowed to be married. If you are not an Italian citizen this is not required.

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  • Asia

    • In the Philippines, they have a Family Code, and you will need to register before you can be married.
  • Japan

  • requires that men be at least 18, and women 16 to be married. However, they will need parental permission if you are younger than 20. Here is some information on the legal requirements to obtain a license to marry in Japan.

  • Africa

  • South America

  • Argentina

  • requires at least one person being married to be a citizen of Argentina.

  • Jamaica

  • Here is a website that has some very basic information for nearly every state or country's marriage license procedures.

  • Every country, county, state or city has slightly different requirements for marriage. When you know where you'll be married, start planning by calling the local court house or registrars office to find out the specific requirements for obtaining a license and what documents you will need when you arrive for your special day.

  • Before you get overwhelmed by regulations, remember, marriage is special and romantic, no matter where or how you are married. Remember this quote from Barbara De Angelis, "The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make — not just on your wedding day, but over and over again — and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife."

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Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.

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