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  • Writer's pictureSydney Schatz

Obtaining Your Marriage License in Idaho or Washington State

You plan and plan and plan, every detail has been covered and your day is going to be perfect, but do you have the one document that will legally allow you to get married that day?! Do not let your marriage license be an afterthought! Every state has slightly different rules surrounding getting your license. Since I do business in Washington and Idaho, I will go over requirements for each state. Keep in mind, even if you live on the Idaho side, but you get married on the Washington side you will need to follow Washington guidelines and get your license from the county recorder’s office where your ceremony is physically taking place (and vice versa).

In Kootenai County, Idaho, the process to obtaining a marriage license is probably going to be one of the easier processes that you will go through before tying the knot. The qualifications are simple…

  • Be over 18 year of age

  • Appear together in the recorder’s office (in the Kootenai County Administration Building, 2nd floor)

  • Be getting married in the state of Idaho

  • Know your social security number

  • Present government issued identification

  • Heck, the identification can even be expired as long as the picture “is of good likeness to the applicant”

  • Complete the application for a marriage license (link)

  • Have $31 cash with you (or be prepared to pay $32.93 if you only have a card)

Once the marriage license is issued, you will give it to your officiant for them to perform the ceremony, fill out their portion and either you or your officiant will mail to the appropriate address listed on the form. In Idaho, there is no waiting period after you receive your marriage license, witnesses are not required, and the license has no expiration date. Seriously – EASY PEASY! Remember, you are not required to be an Idaho resident, but your ceremony must take place in the State of Idaho.

Okay, now for Washington’s marriage license requirements… they want you to think a little bit more about your decision before sealing that deal. **Please note that as of May 2021, Spokane County is still doing only mail-in marriage license applications, but I am going to explain the in-person process because as of later this year I think we will be moving back to a face-to-face process**

In Spokane County, to obtain a marriage license…

  • Both parties must be present

  • Both parties must be 18 years or older

  • Applicants will need to fill out a marriage license application (link) with legal names, social security numbers, current and past residences, birthplace, and birth name (if different from current legal name)

  • Applicants will need to provide the names of their mother and father, state (or country) of their births, and the maiden name of each mother.

  • Have $62 cash in hand for the application fee and certified copy of the license (card processing fees will apply)

Once you have your Washington State marriage license, the ceremony must occur between 3 and 63 days of application. They will not waive the 3-day waiting period under any circumstance, so plan accordingly! Make sure your officiant is licensed and ordained per the Washington State Law – their qualifications are a little narrower than Idaho’s. Your officiant will be required to fill out their information on the marriage certificate, ensure that you (as the couple) and both witnesses sign and date the certificate, and return the certificate to the appropriate county office within 30 days of the ceremony (there is a $300 fine if your officiant does not complete this in the 30-day timeframe).

Alrighty, short but sweet and informational blog post today. It is not extremely difficult in either state to obtain a marriage license, but it is vital that you remember to do it! Don’t get so caught up in the planning process that you forget the real reason you are spending thousands of dollars to host your closest family and friends for a day of celebration.

Zach Nichols Photography

If you found this article helpful and want to chat further, head on over to the services page for my packages and pricing information. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below! And if you want additional information regarding what to do after the ceremony if you plan on changing your name check out my blog post: How To: Change Your Last Name After Your Wedding Day.

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