Wedding Guide 101: Marriage Certificates vs Marriage Licenses

What is a Marriage Certificate?

A marriage certificate is a legal document that proves you are married. It contains information about the date and place of your wedding, as well as your names, ages and addresses. You can use this certificate to apply for things like a new passport or driver’s license.
If you need to get a copy of your marriage certificate from New York City Vital Records:

  1. Complete an application form (available at
  2. Include payment with cashier’s check or money order payable to “City Clerk” in the amount of $15 per copy requested; no personal checks accepted
  3. Mail completed application form along with payment to: City Clerk/Vital Records Division Attn: Marriage Certificates PO Box 922 Brooklyn NY 11201

What is a Marriage License?

A marriage license is a document that states that you are legally eligible to get married. It contains information about both parties, such as their full names, addresses and birthdates.
Your county clerk’s office will issue the license once they have verified that all of this information matches up with their records. Once you have the marriage license in hand, it must be returned to them before your wedding ceremony can take place!

Marriage Certificates vs Marriage Licenses

The Difference Between a Marriage Certificate and License

A marriage certificate is a record of your marriage that you can use to prove you are married. It’s also called a marriage license or certificate of marriage.

A license is required by law before you can get married. The license must be issued by the state where you plan to marry and it gives permission for two people who want to marry each other in that state, even if they aren’t residents there.

The Process of Obtaining a Marriage Certificate or License

Obtaining a marriage certificate or license is a relatively straightforward process. The steps are as follows:

  • You will need to contact the county clerk’s office in the county where you were married.
  • You will need to bring proof of identification, such as your driver’s license or passport. If one party does not have photo ID, they may bring someone who can verify their identity (this person must have valid photo ID).
  • You will be asked for information about yourself and your spouse (such as name, address and date of birth), along with details about how you met and how long you’ve been together. If either party has been married before, they must provide information on previous marriages including dates of divorce/annulment/death; names of former spouses; children born during those unions; whether there were any children born out-of-wedlock during those unions; etcetera.

The Benefits of Having a Marriage Certificate or License

  • Legal Recognition
    A marriage certificate or license is a legal document that proves you are married, and it can be used as proof of your marital status.
  • Tax Benefits
    In many states, married couples receive tax benefits when filing their taxes together. In some cases, these benefits include lower overall tax rates and/or higher deductions for dependents.
  • Other Benefits
    Marriage certificates and licenses also provide other advantages such as access to health insurance plans through your spouse’s employer or eligibility for spousal Social Security benefits after retirement age.

The Process of Changing a Marriage Certificate or License

The process of correcting a marriage certificate or license is the same as changing one. If you need to correct an error on your certificate, such as misspelled names or incorrect dates, contact your county’s vital records office and request an amendment form. You will then have to fill out the form and submit it with proof of identity (this can be a driver’s license or passport).

If you want to add information onto your marriage certificate–for example, if you’re adding children who were born after the wedding–you’ll also need proof of identity but no additional forms are required beyond those mentioned above.

If there has been a name change since getting married (for example: after divorce), then contact your county’s vital records office again; they’ll help guide you through this process by providing instructions on how best to proceed with updating their records

The Process of Renewing a Marriage Certificate or License

Renewing a marriage certificate or license is a simple process that you can do online. The first step is to determine if it’s necessary to renew your document, as some states require that you do so every few years. If so, the next step is to find out how often it needs to be renewed and how long the process takes once you submit your application.

In addition to providing personal information such as name and address (and sometimes photo ID), applicants must also provide proof of their current marital status by submitting one of the following:

  • A copy of their divorce decree showing that they are no longer married;
  • A death certificate for their spouse; or
  • A court order stating that they are divorced from their spouse

The Process of Replacing a Lost Marriage Certificate or License

If you’ve lost your marriage certificate or license, the first step is to contact the county clerk’s office where it was issued. In most cases, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and pay a fee before they will issue you another copy.

In some states (including California), there are no fees associated with replacement documents if they were lost or destroyed due to natural disaster or other emergency situations; otherwise, expect to pay anywhere from $5-$20 per document depending on where you live.

The Process of Canceling a Marriage Certificate or License

There are a few reasons why you might need to cancel your marriage certificate or license. For example, if you were married in another state and moved to one that requires the original certificate or license, it may be necessary to get it canceled so that you can apply for a new one. You can also request cancellation if the document was issued in error or if there was an error on it.

When canceling your marriage certificate or license, make sure that all parties involved are aware of what needs to happen next–you don’t want anyone getting surprised by something later down the road! If there are any children involved with either party’s previous relationship (such as from previous marriages), then these children should also be included on any new documents once they have been issued by officials after cancellation has taken place

The Legal Implications of a Marriage Certificate or License

In addition to the emotional and spiritual benefits of marriage, there are a number of legal implications that come with a marriage certificate or license. For example, if you want to change your name after getting married, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license and social security card in order for them both to reflect your new name.

Inheritance rights are another important aspect of marriage certificates and licenses. If one spouse passes away without leaving behind any valid will or trust documents (or if they do but they don’t mention their spouse), then under federal law all assets must be divided equally between surviving spouses unless otherwise specified by state law or custom/practice within your community (for example: if there is an established tradition among certain families where only children inherit property).

Finally property rights are also affected by these documents; this means that if someone buys property with their partner as joint tenants with right of survivorship instead of tenants-in common then when one dies their share goes directly into their partner’s hands rather than being split among heirs like it would have been otherwise!