So you’re having a destination wedding in Florida. Mazel Tov! With the largest cruise port in the world, an abundance of romantic beaches, warm days and hot nights, it’s no wonder so many visitors head to Florida to get married.
After countless hours of research on Instagram and Pinterest, you have every detail of your wedding planned. You’ve found your outfits, created your wedding budget worksheet, secured your wedding officiant, photographer, flowers, hotel, and dinner. You’ve promised Aunt Mildred that you’ll Facetime the entire wedding ceremony. You’ve bought the flip-flops and sunscreen, and you’re counting down the weeks.
But what about the marriage license? At what point during your vacation will you break for a half day to get to the courthouse? Will you have time to make it before your wedding day? And how will you get yourself Downtown? What about the three-day waiting period?
Here’s everything you need to know about getting married by mail BEFORE arriving in Florida.
According to the Miami-Dade Marriage License Bureau, when applying for a marriage license, both spouses must apply in person. If one or both of the applicants are minors, under 18 years of age, additional requirements apply.
All applicants must present the following:
•One (1) valid identification is required with the applicant’s picture, signature, and date of birth, a Driver License issued by any state in the U.S., Passport, a U.S. Military ID, Alien Registration Card, or State of Florida ID issued by DMV are acceptable. Anyone issued a Social Security Card must provide their number.
•All U.S. citizens and residents must provide their Social Security Number.
•Non-U.S. Citizens may provide one of the following valid Identifications: Alien Registration Card, US State issued Driver’s License, or Passport if they do not have a Social Security Number.
•If either applicant has been previously married, the exact date of the last divorce, death or annulment must be provided. If the divorce took place in Miami-Dade County go to the Family Online Case Search and view the docket link for final judgment date which is the date of divorce.
And if you’re wondering, yes, same sex marriages are legally recognized in the U.S. state of Florida since January 6, 2015. Hooray!
Marriage by Mail
The workaround to applying in person at the courthouse is to have an approved agency apply in person for you as a proxy. The agency acts as a middle-man between you and the courthouse in a short and easy process that usually takes place at least 30 days before your arrival in Florida. Since most Florida weddings are processed at the Miami Dade County Marriage License Bureau (27k in 2017), your agency will likely process your marriage license at this courthouse.
How Does It Work
The process is easy but tedious and requires a lot of attention. The agency handles most of the work and all you would need to do is find a notary to legalize the document in your home town. Here’s a breakdown of how to begin your marriage by mail:
1) Your agency will ask you to fill out an online form and provide photo IDs for both spouses.
2) A certified agent will present themselves on your behalf, with your documentation, and obtain an Application to Marry.
3) This Application will be mailed to you. The court will only accept the original Application. No photocopies or scanned images will be permitted.
4) You and your spouse will sign the Application in the presence of a Notary Public and return it to the agency.
5) The agent will present the notarized Application to the Clerk of Courts and will be issued a License to Marry.
6) The License to Marry will be returned to you or your wedding officiant, celebrant, minister or you and you are ready for your big day!
7) Once the ceremony has taken place, and your officiant has signed off on the license, you will return it to your agency for recording.
8) The Clerk of Courts will mail you the original certified Marriage Certificate. Duplicates may be ordered for name changes.
So there you have it. Obtaining a marriage license by mail is one more thing to check off your wedding day checklist and one less headache to distract you from your dream Florida destination wedding.