Feb. 10, 2010, Blogspot – Traditionally, the minister returns the signed marriage license to the courthouse after the wedding. This is not a requirement of the law, but it is a courtesy the minister that really started as a way to assure that the marriage license gets back to the courthouse.
The marraige license is technically for the officiant, because it gives the officiant the legal right to perform and pronounce the couple a legal marriage.
As the officiant, I usually mail the signed marriage license back to the courthouse, and keep a copy for my files.
In Alabama, when you purchase your marriage license from an Alabama courthouse, they will ask you for a mailing address where they can send the Certificate of Marriage to you.
The Certificate of Marriage is what the bride will need to change her last name on legal documents.
Now, there are times when a couple may prefer to take the marriage license back to the courthouse themselves. There are four instances that I have had were a bride and groom have signed the marriage license and returned it immediately to them so they can return it:
1) Military couples do need to have a copy for themselves if they are living on base.
2) Couples leaving on a cruise for their honeymoon, who wish to carry a document of proof of marriage, just in-case it may be needed.
3) Couples boarding a plane for their honeymoon, who have bought the tickets in the brides newly acquired married name or who wish to carry a document of proof of marriage, just in-case it may be needed.
4) Couple who simply want to return it themselves, because of convenience or because they would prefer not to expose personal data which is on the marriage license to the officiant or potentially anyone else.
Have a question about your upcoming wedding ceremony? Please visit my wedding officiating website and drop me a note! I’ll be happy to respond!