Planning the wedding ceremony and reception details are huge parts and the most fun, of course, but one of the other important tasks as well is to make it legal with both a marriage license and marriage certificate. Deciding who will officiate your ceremony is also another important decision.  An  experienced  Madison officiant can  help  you  with  the  planning,  the  personalization,  and  setting  the  tone  for  the  entire  ceremony.  If  you  are  thinking  of  not  having  an  officiant  or  having  a  friend  or  family  member  do  the honors, be  sure  to  check  state  laws  and  the  county  clerk's  office.

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  • How  much  do  they  charge  and  what  is  included  in  the  fee?

  • How  many  weddings  do  they  do  in  a  day?

  • What  does  the  officiant  wear  at  the  ceremony?

  • Do  they  have  a  certain  ceremony structure  or  any  restrictions?

  • How  can  you  incorporate  cultural  traditions,  or  how  open  are  they  to  your  ideas?

  • Do  they  have  any  requirements  for  pre-marital  counseling  sessions  or  religious  classes?

  • Is  there  a  backup  officiant  in  case  of  emergency?


AFTER  VENUE  IS  SCHEDULED: Book  officiant.

3-6  MONTHS  BEFORE: Discuss  type  of  ceremony  desired.

1-4  WEEKS  BEFORE: Apply  for  marriage  license.

1  WEEK  BEFORE: Check  in  with  officiant  to  verify  dates,  times,  etc.

DAY  OF:  Bring  license. 

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WHEN  TO  APPLY: One  or  both  of  the  parties  must  reside  at  least  30  days  in  the  county  of  application. The license  may  be  used  in  any  of  the  72  Wisconsin  counties.  Out-of-state  residents  must  apply  for  a  license  in  the  county  where  the  ceremony  will  take  place.  Apply  at  least  six  calendar  days  before  you  need  the  license  issued.  Once  issued,  the  license  is  valid  for  30 days. Once the marriage license is signed by all parties, the officiant will mail in the marriage license and then you will receive a marriage certificate in the mail to confirm your marriage is officially legal. 

WHERE  TO  APPLY: County  Clerk's  Office

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  • Over  18  years  of  age--unless  with  signed  consent  from  guardians.

  • Both  parties  must  apply  in  person  at  same  time.

  • Proof  of  residence (driver's  license,  lease,  utility  bills,  letter  with  postmark  over  30  days  old).

  • Certified  copy  of  birth  certificate  (hospital  certificate  is  not  a  legal  document  and  is  not accepted).

  • Photo  ID and  social  security  number.

  • Copy  of  divorce  judgment,  marriage  annulment,  or  death  certificate  from  most  recent  marriage.

  • Location  and  date  of  marriage.

  • Officiant  name,  title,  address  &  phone  number.

  • Names,  with  correct  spelling  for  both  parents,  including  middle  names  &  mother's  maiden  name.

  • A  third  person  to  interpret  if  one  or  both  of  the  applicants  do  not  speak  English.

  • License  fees  vary  from  county  to  county,  please  refer  to  the  county  clerk's  website  for  most  current  information.

Find a full list of Madison wedding officiants here.