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Getting married is an exciting time in a couple's life together. Wedding planning is the next logical step after the engagement announcement, and while couples often get swept up in planning their dream parties, it's important to note that ultimately the ceremony is the star of the day.
Before booking a wedding reception venue or getting one's heart set on a particular date, couples need to secure their ceremony sites as well as apply for a marriage license. In some instances, ceremonies are held at the same site as the wedding reception, while some couples choose to tie the knot in their church or synagogue. Each of these types of ceremonies will be governed by the schedule of the house of worship or civil site.
Finding a venue
Once couples choose a wedding date, it is a good idea for them to visit their ceremony site of choice to check the calendar. It helps to have some flexibility in the wedding date in case the first choice is unavailable. Although summer weddings used to be the most popular, today's couples are tying the knot more often in September and October than other times of year.
Even though a couple's wedding is special and unique to them, ceremony locations handle hundreds of weddings. Couples must recognize that competition for certain venues may be steep, so it helps to keep more than one venue in mind when planning a wedding.
Getting a marriage license
While laws may vary from state to state within the United States, getting a marriage license generally involves filling out the application and paying a fee at the county clerk's office. Both applicants are typically required to bring identification, such as a driver's license, passport or birth certificate. There may be a waiting period between submitting the application and the license being issued. Couples can pick up the license or have it mailed to them.
Canadian requirements vary by province. For example, in Ontario, applicants need to be at least 16 years old to marry and must show two forms of government-supplied identification to apply. The license is valid for 90 days from when it is issued.
A marriage license is not the same thing as a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate typically becomes available after the ceremony has taken place and the witnesses and officiant have signed off on the preceedings.
Getting married is a multistep process that begins with determining where the ceremony will take place and acquiring a marriage license. With these items in check, couples can focus on creating memorable wedding days.