Washington Marriage License FAQ
Washington Marriage Requirements and FAQs
This page contains information and FAQs regarding your Washington State Marriage and Marriage Licensing, services we provide as part of the officiant duties, and resources to help you find a good Seattle wedding venue as well as information on permits for wedding ceremonies in Seattle Parks.
When and Where The Marriage License Can Be Used To Get Married in WA
- Washington State marriage licenses become valid for use on the third day following application and are then valid for 60 days. For example, if an application is made on Wednesday, the first day the marriage license can be used is Saturday and the last day it can be used is 60 days later.
- The wedding ceremony must take place within this period; if not, the couple will need to apply for a new marriage license.
- Under no circumstances can the three-day waiting period be waived.
- If a couple applies for their marriage license less than three days before their established wedding date, they will need to have a separate ceremony within the period the license is valid (in which the parties assent or declare, in the physical presence of the officiant and at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife). The marriage license forms will be completed and signed using this date.
- A King County marriage license can be used to get married only within Washington State. A wedding ceremony on a boat must be in Washington waters.
- A marriage license purchased from any county in Washington State can be used to get married anywhere in Washington State. The permanent record of the marriage certificate will be recorded with the county from which the marriage license was purchased.
What does the Marriage Cost?
Where Can We Get Our Marriage License in Washington State?
Marriage License Locations throughout Washington State:This link will take you to all the counties in Washington State so you can apply for your marriage license.
This is the direct link for the Greater Seattle area and King County
Can your Wedding Officiant provide your Marriage License for you?
According to the laws of the State of Washington, marriage licenses must be applied for and picked up by the Bride and Groom, not the officiant. If you are both Washington residents you must apply for your license in your county of residence but you can use it to marry anywhere in Washington. Out of state residents must apply in the county where the ceremony is to be performed. For more information, check with your county clerk’s office.
Who Completes the Marriage License Forms?
If you choose to work with us, as required by the state, within 30 days of the wedding ceremony, we will return the completed Washington State Department of Health Certificate to: King County Marriage Licensing, 500 4th Avenue, Room 311, Seattle, WA 98104.
Commemorative Certificate of Marriage (Red and gold copy)
The look of your actual certified marriage license may surprise you – as it’s both informal and looks as if you just printed off your computer. If you like, as your officiant we will complete the red and gold commemorative certificate of marriage which is suitable for framing.
This form, up to the signature portions,is generally completed prior to the ceremony.
The date of the license (‘marriage license bearing date…’) can be found on the back of this copy: first the year (2009), then the month (10), and finally the date (14). (That is the date the couple purchased the license.)
We fill in our officiant’s title at ‘the undersigned, an officiant or minister (your choice)
The rest of the blanks can be filled in by referencing the Marriage License or the Health Certificate of Marriage included in your marriage license packet from the state.
As your officiant we will obtain your “bride and groom” signatures, both witnesses’ signatures, and complete the Officiant portion. The bride must sign in the name with which she applied for her license, not her new married name.
We will give this copy to you “the bride and groom” following the marriage ceremony.
This red and gold copy is for commemorative and decorative purposes. It is not an official copy.
What do we do with the Washington State Department of Health Certificate Of Marriage?
The couple should present this form to the officiant with the Groom and Bride sections completed up to their signature blocks. At the wedding ceremony, the couple will sign and date their section, and the witnesses will sign. (Again, bride signs in application name, not new married name.)
The officiant will complete the top “Officiant” section of this form. We will check ‘Religious’.
After the wedding, as your officiants, we will return this copy to King County Marriage Licensing in the pre-addressed envelope provided with the marriage license packet within 30 days of the wedding ceremony.
After review to confirm that the form has been completed correctly, it is scanned and recorded by King County Records, and then forwarded to Washington State Department of Health, Vital Statistics Division. A certified copy of this record is considered an official copy. When they applied for their marriage license, the couple was given printed directions on how to obtain certified copies of this certificate.
This information can be verified by clicking here.
Washington State Marriage Officiant Choices
There are really two choices when it comes to getting married in Washington – the officiant can be any justice or judge of Washington State supreme court, court of appeals, courts of limited jurisdiction, or superior court commissioners, or any regularly licensed or ordained minister or priest of any church or religious denomination.
In other words, a religious affiliate may be connected to your church or it may be an independent and non-denominational wedding minister, officiant or celebrant which is what we are.
According to the King County Gov site, they describe Religious Affiliates as:
Any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest of any church or religious denomination.
Can a Wedding Minister from another state marry you?
A minister from a church in another state can perform a wedding ceremony in Washington State and is not required to register with the State in order to do so.
If You Help Us Create A Marriage Ceremony Could A Friend Marry Us?
Washington State does not license persons to perform weddings. In this sense, the word, ‘license’, is not an official governmental function of issuing a license or permission to perform weddings, but more a function of recognition by the religious affiliation. If the minister or priest is recognized as ordained or granted the power by the religious organization to officiate wedding ceremonies, that person is ‘licensed’ to do so in Washington State.
Washington State does not grant a one-day license for persons to perform wedding ceremonies.
What Makes Our Wedding Ceremony Officially Recognized by Washington State?
The two parties must be physically present before the two witnesses and the officiant in order for the ceremony to be performed. Proxy weddings (where someone stands in for the other party) are not recognized.
A minimum of five persons must be present at the wedding ceremony: officiant, the couple, and two witnesses.
A wedding ceremony must take place; simply applying for and obtaining a marriage license does not make you married.
The parties must assent or declare, in the physical presence of the officiant solemnizing the marriage and at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife.
Two persons are required to witness the exchange of vows. The officiant can not serve as a witness.
State law does not specify the age of witnesses; however, the persons are witnessing a civil contract. As such, a witness is deemed competent for this purpose usually at the age of 18. If applicants wish to have persons under the age of 18 witness the ceremony, we recommend they have two other witnesses who are over 18 also observe the exchange of vows and sign the marriage certificates. More than two witnesses may sign the certificates.
Signing the Marriage License Forms
All forms must be signed with current name, the one with which the party applied.
Here are the details for marriage ceremonies by Municipal Court Judges
Please note that if you choose this route you would not be able to fully customize your ceremony as you would with our officiant wedding ceremony services.
Municipal Court of Seattle Judges are empowered to perform marriage ceremonies under the laws of the State of Washington. Marriage ceremonies check-in is in the Judicial Chambers at 4:30 pm Monday through Friday in the Seattle Justice Center.
Will a Municipal Court Wedding Ceremony Save Us Money?
The Municipal Court Charges a base Wedding Ceremony Fee of $80, weekend weddings start at $225. Our ceremony services are $150 – $800 depending upon the level of customization you would like for your wedding ceremony.
Marriages performed on the weekend cannot take place at the Seattle Justice Center, so you will need to select another location.
To request a marriage ceremony by a Municipal Court Judge please complete and submit the following Marriage Ceremony Request form.
Bring the following required items to your ceremony:
- Marriage License
- The license has a three day waiting period before it is valid for use. For more information on how to obtain a King County Marriage License, click here or call (206) 296-3933.
- $80 cash for ceremonies here at the Seattle Justice Center Monday through Thursday.
- $225 cash for ceremonies here at the Seattle Justice Center on Fridays.
- $225 minimum for weekend ceremonies performed within King County. This fee increases with distance and time commitment involved.
What are some Seattle locations and venues for our Wedding Ceremony?
To help you select a location you may want to take a Virtual Tour of Seattle to give you ideas.
How To Get Married in a Seattle Park Basics
Do we need a special permit to have our wedding ceremony in a Seattle Park?
Your wedding ceremony location is up to you. We do recommend that you research and clarify that you are able to have your wedding ceremony in your desired location. As well you you will want to make sure you don’t forget to obtain additional permits for additional locations for wedding pictures. Your wedding planner and/or wedding photographer will have more information for you.
Here’s some links to resources and information that can help you plan your wedding ceremony at one of the Greater Seattle Parks.
Seattle Parks Wedding and Ceremony overview. There are over 400 parks in the Puget Sound area available for your wedding ceremony. This link also provides information about park size, parking, etc.
How to Make a Reservation and Schedule a Wedding Ceremony in a Seattle Park – please note your reservation and permit payment must be at least 14 days in advance. Some Seattle Parks and Gardens are booked a year in advance.
Seattle Park Wedding and Ceremony Fees range from $120 and up. FYI there are lower additional fees for second park locations for photos.
Where do we go to get our wedding ceremony Seattle park permit?
7201 E Green Lake Dr N
Seattle WA 98115 (Map It)
The contents of this webpage are not intended as a comprehensive digest on marriage licensing and should not be construed as legal interpretation of the law or advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights or obligations with regard to marriage, you are encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney.