Posted in Guides for Brides and Grooms, marriage license

How to Obtain a Pennsylvania Marriage License

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The COVID pandemic has changed how Marriage Bureaus operate. Some require in-person appointments, others allow you to submit all your documents online and meet with an official virtually.

Here are the most commonly asked questions, and the answers, regarding obtaining a marriage license in Pennsylvania.

  1. Where do we go to obtain a PA marriage license? 

You can obtain your license from the Marriage License Bureau (part of the Register of Wills) in any Pennsylvania County, regardless of where in PA your wedding will be held. See below for locations and more information.

  1. When do we need to get our marriage license? 

A PA marriage license is valid for 60 days from the issue date, and must be acquired at least 3 days prior to the wedding date.

  1. Do we both need to be present – in person or virtually – to get the license? What do we need to bring or provide to obtain the license? 
  • You do both need to be present to get the license.
  • You will need a photo ID and your social security numbers
  • If either applicant has had a name change or a previous marriage, you will need documentation of these circumstances.
  • The county’s fee
  1. Where are the marriage bureaus near me? When are they open? Do any of them have evening hours?

Each County has its own application, fees, and hours of operation, though they are all similar.  Go to the county that is most convenient for you.

Philadelphia Register of Wills.  Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm.  Philadelphia requires you to make an in-person appointment. Complete this Marriage License Appointment Questionnaire to book an appointment time.

Philadelphia Register of Wills Address: Room 180 City Hall Philadelphia, PA 19107
Philadelphia Register of Wills (215) 686-6250
For Marriage Licenses:  (215) 686-2233 ( To apply for a marriage license)

Montgomery County Register of Wills  During the COVID-19 emergency, all marriage license applications will be online and finalized during a WEBEX video conference. Applicants may login from different locations. NOTE: You need to apply for your license at least 4 weeks before your wedding date. Here is the Montgomery County online marriage license application.

Delaware County Register of Wills Open Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Virtual appointments (using Microsoft Teams) are available for couples who seek a marriage license—couples can complete the entire process without having to leave their homes. Couples should begin the process of applying for a marriage license at least thirty (30) days in advance. For info about the virtual appointments, use this guide. In-person appointments are also available.

Bucks County Register of Wills All apppointments are being done virtually. Before you begin your application, it is important to watch this video tutorial. The tutorial can help you avoid any errors in applying.  Instructions for how to apply online and request a virtual appointment are in this document from the Bucks County Register of Wills. (Scroll down to the sections for Marriage Licenses.)

Chester County Register of Wills Open Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 4:00pm and until 6:00pm on Wednesdays. Applications are accepted by appointment only. Check the Marriage License site for information about fees and documents, and to schedule an appointment. 

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Posted in Guides for Brides and Grooms, marriage license

How to obtain a NJ Marriage License

Each State’s marriage license laws are different, so it is important to check with the State in which you will be married to determine how to apply for a marriage license.

Here is the information about Applying for a Marriage License in New Jersey

Summary:

If either of you live in New Jersey and will be getting married in New Jersey, go to the Local Registrar in the municipality where you live. You can use the license in any county in New Jersey.

If neither of you live in New Jersey but will be getting married there, you will need to go to the Registrar in the municipality where the marriage ceremony will be performed. The license will only be valid in that municipality.

You will need to have a witness with you who is over 18 years of age.  In addition, there is a set of required documents, and a fee, to obtain the license.

You must apply for the license at least 72 hours before your wedding date. The license is good for 6 months from the issue date.

You are able to apply for a NJ Marriage License virtually. Refer to the Virtual Marriage Application FAQ document for more info.

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Posted in Guides for Brides and Grooms, marriage license

What is a Pennsylvania Self-Uniting marriage license?

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In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is legal for couples to unite themselves in marriage, in front of witnesses, without an officiant needing to sign the marriage license.  Blasphemous?  Exactly the opposite.  Self-uniting marriages have been an accepted means of getting married for Quakers in Pennsylvania since 1682. Quakers believe that marriage should be between the couple and God, without needing an intermediary.   So, what is the difference between a self-uniting marriage license and a regular marriage license?

When you go to the marriage bureau to get a license, tell them that you want a Self-Uniting license.  These licenses sometimes cost a little more than the type that requires an officiant.

A Self-Uniting License requires both members of the couple plus two witnesses to sign the license on the day of your wedding.

Some couples self-unite by creating and conducting their own ceremonies.  Other couples ask a friend or relative to create and conduct the ceremony as the couple self-unites.  (A caution: Not all friends or family members are good at conducting ceremonies.)

If you do want to self-unite, consider asking Celebrant Robin to create your ceremony or guide you through the writing. Then, you can use that ceremony as you unite each other wherever and whenever you choose.