A wedding is a time for joy and celebration, it represents love and the joining of two families. However, nobody can ignore the stress or effort that goes into planning for the big event. Most couples do not worry about the legal side of weddings, their focus is on the day itself.

Fortunately, the state of Florida makes sorting out the legal portion of your wedding a fairly simple task. Read our step-by-step guide on how to easily take care of the legal aspects of your wedding.

Step 1: Marriage Preparation Course (Optional)

The state of Florida encourages couples to take a marriage preparation course before they go through with the ceremony. This course includes conflict management training as well as information about financial and marriage responsibilities.

Couples that take the course get a discount on their marriage license, as well as the ability to pick up their license with no waiting period.

Step 2: Apply For A Marriage License

Apply for a marriage license at your county’s Clerk of Court office. The application is fairly straightforward and easy to fill out, but check with the clerk’s office that you have everything you need.

Bring identification to submit alongside the application. The traditional form of identification is a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, and Social Security number. However, in lieu of a Social Security number, you can use an alien registration number.

If your application is approved and you did not take the course, you must wait three days for your license to take effect.

Step 3: Proof Of Eligibility (Optional)

If you have been previously married, you must attach proof that you are are no longer married to your previous spouse. As a divorcee, make sure that the court has the documentation that your marriage was dissolved. If your spouse passed away, you must provide a death certificate.

Step 4: Wait Three Days

Wedding licenses in Florida become effective three days after they are issued. For instance, if it issued Monday, it may be used on Thursday. 

Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days after they are issued. It is vital that you make sure that your marriage license is valid on your wedding day.

Step 5: Have The Ceremony!

The only legal requirement placed on the ceremony is on the person performing the ceremony. They can be an ordained minister or similar religious personnel, a state judge (including a retired one), public notaries of the state, and clerks of the circuit court. 

Check with your county for information on contacting a clerk or public notary.

Step 6: Have The Officiant Register The Marriage

Finally, the record of marriage should be returned to the Marriage Department in the County Clerk office within ten days of the ceremony. 

Additional Factors For Weddings in Florida

  • Get a permit for weddings on public property. Outdoor weddings at parks and beaches are common in Florida, because of the beautiful weather. File all the paperwork properly to ensure for a smooth wedding day.
  • There is a spot for two witnesses to sign a Florida State marriage license. These signatures are not legally required, but having two witnesses who are willing and ready to answer questions is a good idea if there is a chance that people will contest the marriage.