Difference Between Marriage License and Marriage Certificate (With Table)

If you are getting married it is important to learn the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate. People often tend to get confused between these two as these two documents have similarities in their names. But a marriage license is different from a marriage certificate.

Marriage License vs Marriage Certificate 

The difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate is that a marriage license allows a couple to get married, whereas a marriage certificate is the proof of that marriage. You need to get a marriage license before getting a marriage certificate. Both documents are important and have different purposes.

A marriage license is a legal document of marriage issued by the government. Only a government office can issue a marriage license. This document needs to be completed on the wedding day and returned to the related government office. The marriage license is like any other legal contract, from a bureaucratic viewpoint.

On the other hand, a marriage certificate is the remembrance memento of the wedding, which is intended for displaying or framing. A marriage certificate is a legal document that is a representation of marriage. Couples often sign the marriage certificate alongside the marriage license after the wedding.

Comparison Table Between Marriage License vs Marriage Certificate 

Parameters of Comparison Marriage License Marriage Certificate
Definition A marriage license is a legal document of marriage issued by the government. Only a government office can issue a marriage license.A marriage certificate is a remembrance memento of the wedding, which is intended for displaying or framing.
Function A marriage license permits two people to have a legal marriage ceremony within the expiry date of the marriage license.A marriage certificate provides the date, time and location of the marriage ceremony, signature and name of the officiant, title of the officiant (minister, judge, justice of the peace and so on).
Issued byA marriage license is generally issued by the court.A marriage certificate is issued by government officials.
Representation A marriage license is a representation of the rights of two individuals to get married.A marriage certificate is a representation of the marriage.
TimeA marriage license is a piece of paper that is needed to bring to the wedding ceremony and signed by the couple with their witnesses and officiant.A marriage certificate is a piece of paper that is received by the couple after their marriage ceremony which says they are legally married.

What is Marriage License?

A marriage license is a legal document of marriage issued by the government. A marriage license permits two people to have a legal marriage ceremony within the expiry date of the marriage license. The document is not proof of marriage. It is an application to get married. 

A marriage license is a document that is kept as a public record and issued by the country clerk. A marriage license allows two people to get married legally in the country. A marriage license is entered into the public records to prevent people from marrying multiple times illegally.

The marriage license has a validity time, within which the marriage needs to be completed, varying from state to state. For instance, some states issue marriage licenses valid for only 30 days and on the other hand, some states issue this document valid for up to one year.

A marriage license needs to be filled out and signed by the couple who are planning to get married and the notary public for authentication purposes. The document will be then completed by the officiating minister of the wedding. The completed marriage license will be then submitted by the officiating minister to the county for verification. 

What is Marriage Certificate?

A marriage certificate is the remembrance memento of the wedding, which is intended for displaying or framing. A marriage certificate provides the date, time and location of the marriage ceremony, signature and name of the officiant, the title of the officiant (minister, judge, justice of the peace and so on).

A marriage certificate is an official declaration that provides proof of marriage. The marriage license is the prerequisite document of the marriage certificate. After the submission of the signed marriage license to the country by the officiating minister, there is a considerable period for the marriage certificate to be ready.

A marriage certificate is a representation of the marriage. A marriage certificate is generated only upon request. The marriage certificate represents that the recipients are a part of a social entity that calls for the faithfulness and commitment of the recipients. 

It is important to have two copies of the marriage certificate as it is a very important document. A marriage certificate is often required for different types of social and financial transactions. So keeping an extra copy of the marriage certificate is imperative.

If a partner dies, the other partner can show the marriage certificate as proof of their marriage and claim his/her right to possess their partner’s properties.

Main Differences Between Marriage License and Marriage Certificate 

  1. A marriage license gives the authorization of the marriage. On the other hand, a marriage certificate is the remembrance memento of the wedding, which is intended for displaying or framing.
  2. A marriage license permits two people to have a legal marriage ceremony within the expiry date of the marriage license. Whereas, A marriage certificate provides the date, time and location of the marriage ceremony, signature and name of the officiant, title of the officiant.
  3. A marriage license is a representation of the rights of two individuals to get married. A marriage certificate is a representation of the marriage.
  4. A marriage license is issued by the court and the marriage certificate is generally issued by government officials.
  5. A marriage license is a piece of paper that is needed to bring to the wedding ceremony and signed by the couple with their witnesses and officiant. On the other hand, A marriage certificate is a piece of paper that is received by the couple after their marriage ceremony which says they are legally married.

Conclusion

The marriage license and the marriage certificate are generally part of the common document. The marriage certificate is generally placed at the top of the document and the marriage certificate is placed at the bottom of the same page of the document. After the completion of the recording process, the couple can acquire a permanent certificate copy of their marriage license and marriage certificate which represents the proof of their marriage.

Both the marriage license and marriage certificates are vital. Yet, each of the documents has different purposes. The marriage license represents the eligibility for legal marriage and the marriage certificate works as a document that is used for record-keeping. Therefore, it is clear that both of these documents are not the same.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01006627
  2. https://www.proquest.com/openview/e09050afed9b2eef7879c6c26e45c17b/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750

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