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Marriage License

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Bride signing wedding certificate
Nerida McMurray Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images
Definition: A marriage license is a document issued by a governmental authority that allows two people to get married. A marriage license is valid for only a specific time period such as thirty or sixty days.

In order to receive a marriage license, a couple is required to complete a marriage license application.

The regulations for acquiring a marriage license differ widely between countries and even within countries.

Remember, receiving a marriage license means that you are legally allowed to get married. It does NOT mean that you are married.

After a couple is married and after the marriage license is signed by the bride and groom and their witnesses, the officiant of their wedding files the marriage license with the local government authority that issued the license. With this registration process the marriage becomes part of the public record. A marriage certificate is then issued and usually mailed to the recently married couple.

Alternate Spellings: marriage licence

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