Metro Detroit Marriage License and Name Change Process

bride signing the marriage licnese

Metro Detroit Marriage License Application Process

*Updated for 2024/2025 wedding season

When planning your wedding, it’s easy to get lost in the flurry of choosing wedding venues, tasting cakes, and selecting playlists. But there’s one crucial step that ensures your union is officially recognized: applying for a marriage license. Navigating the legalities might seem daunting, but fear not. This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through the marriage license application process in Metro Detroit, step by step. Whether you’re tying the knot in the historic elegance of downtown Detroit, the serene waterfronts of Grosse Pointe, or the charming suburbs of Royal Oak, we’ve got you covered. From understanding Michigan’s legal requirements to knowing where to submit your application, we’re here to make this essential part of your wedding planning as smooth and stress-free as possible. Let’s dive in and get you one step closer to saying “I do.”

If you’re planning to get your marriage license in Metro Detroit, make sure you have the following documents:

  1. Picture ID
  2. Social security numbers of the bride and groom
  3. Full legal names of the bride and groom
  4. Current address and city of residence
  5. Dates of birth for both individuals
  6. The name the bride will use after the ceremony

Additionally, depending on the county, you may also need a copy of your birth certificate. With these documents in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to apply for your marriage license in Metro Detroit.

Detroit Wedding Photography at Saint Johns Resort_bride and groom signing marriage license

Metro Detroit Marriage License Information:

Oakland County Marriage License Information

Applications are available through the Oakland County Clerk’s Office. Traditionally, you would need to apply in person. Due to the pandemic, you and your future spouse can apply online or via mail. The mail-in option can be used 20 to 33 days before your wedding date.

Wayne County Marriage License Information

Residents must apply for their marriage license in person at the Wayne County Clerk’s Office between three days and 33 days before their wedding.

Macomb County Marriage License Information

Marriage license applications are typically available through the Macomb County Clerk’s Office. Due to the pandemic, couples can submit their application online. Follow the steps of their online filing tool, and you will receive three copies of your marriage license via mail. Note: Processing time may vary from two to three weeks, so allow time for this.

What does a Michigan marriage license cost?

If you or your partner are a Michigan resident, the application will cost $20, but if both of you are out-of-staters, it will cost $30.

How long does it take to get a marriage license in Michigan?

In Michigan, there is a three-day waiting period from the date of application to the ceremony, unless the clerk waives the waiting period due to sufficient cause. The marriage license is valid for 33 days and is only valid in Michigan.

While marriage licenses are not issued for three days after the time of application, in special cases you can request a waiver from the district court to hold your marriage ceremony earlier. Licenses are valid for 33 days after you submit your application, so make sure your wedding date is within a month or you’ll have to apply all over again. If you’re picking up your marriage license in person, you may be requested to bring the birth certificates and social security numbers of both intended spouses.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Michigan?

Depending on the county you are applying to, you can either fill out the application entirely online or you might be required to show up in person, so make sure to check out your local county’s rules before you move forward with your application.

How do you get a copy of your Michigan marriage license?

After you’ve tied the knot, mail your completed marriage license to the county within 10 days of your ceremony, and wait 10 more days before purchasing your certified copy from the same location for an additional fee. If you submit your completed license in person, you can pick up a certified copy that same day.

Making it Legal

Following your wedding ceremony, your marriage license must be completed by a solemnizing authority or officiant. They will complete the time and place of marriage, have the document signed by two witnesses, and sign the license. One copy should be given to the newlyweds, one mailed to the clerk, and one kept by the officiant. Your marriage license acts as your marriage certificate.


Changing Your Last Name

If you choose to take your new husband’s last name or legally abbreviate your married name, there will be several documents that require a name change. Here’s a breakdown of what to change and when.

Wait To Change

There is no doubt you will be excited to begin using your married name, but it is a good idea not to make the name change until you return from your honeymoon. Make all honeymoon travel arrangements in your maiden name because it may take several weeks to change your drivers license, passport, and credit cards. Having two different names can make travel more difficult.

Before the Wedding:

  1. Let your employer know to change your email and business cards.
  2. Practice using your new name including the signature. It will make it more fluent when you do make the change.

After the Wedding:

    1. Most changes can not be completed until you receive the fully executed marriage license by mail.
    2. Change your name on any bank account. Once the change is complete, notify your payroll department of your new name so the deposit account information matches.
    3. Request a new social security card by taking a copy of your marriage license to the social security office. You can speed up the process if you download a form from the Social Security website.
    4. Contact the US State Department to request the name change to your US Passport.
    5. You will need your marriage certificate to change the name on your driver’s license.
    6. Many utilities, credit card issuers, and insurance companies can change your name by phone. Others will require a copy of your marriage certificate and a personal letter requesting the change. This will vary by company.
    7. Spread the word by making the change to your X (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.
    8. Make the change with your health insurance provider and doctor’s office.
    9. If you have a will or medical proxy, review the document for necessary changes in beneficiary or advocate.


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