Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage
Questions about applying for a marriage license
My spouse-to-be is in another location. Can I bring in his/her faxed, notarized affidavit?
- No, a faxed application or affidavit will not be accepted to apply for a marriage license. It must be the original, signed and notarized document for it to be accepted.
We aren't both able to come in to apply for our marriage license. What can we do?
- Download the marriage license application form (PDF). The party/parties who cannot apply in person must complete their affidavit in front of a notary public. The original application is forwarded to the affiant who can apply in person, or, if both parties are unable to appear, it is forwarded to a third party who can apply for the marriage license on their behalf.
We lost or the marriage license forms were destroyed? What can we do?
- If you lost or destroyed the forms before the wedding took place, one of the parties to the marriage must return to one of our sites, complete an Affidavit of Loss, and pay $1 to replace each form lost or destroyed.
I need to get a Single Status form to marry in another country. Can you direct me? Does Washington State require a Single Status or No Impediment form?
- Washington State does not require submittal of a Single Status or No Impediment form. If you are getting married in a location that requires proof that you are not already married, use this link for more information: Single Status or No Impediment forms.
Does Washington State allow same-sex marriages?
We are a same-sex couple that got married in another jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages. Do we need to re-apply?
- No. Your marriage is recognized by Washington State.
Questions about getting married
We got our license. Are we married?
- No, simply applying for and obtaining a marriage license does not make you married. A wedding ceremony must take place. The parties must assent or declare, in the physical presence of the officiant solemnizing the marriage and at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be spouses.
We got married but didn't have a license. Are we married?
- No, under State law, that wedding will not be recognized as legal or official for civil purposes. You will need to purchase a marriage license and have another ceremony within the validity dates of the license, and for civil purposes this date will be your official wedding date.
We were married in another state or country. Do we need to get married again here? How do we prove we are legally married?
My spouse-to-be is leaving for active duty in three days and we must get married prior to the date the license becomes valid. Can we do that?
- Under no circumstances does State law allow for the validity dates to be waived; however, validity does include the first and last dates listed on the marriage license.
We'd really like to have my uncle perform our wedding ceremony. What can we do?
What do we do with the forms we got when we applied for the marriage license?
- It is the responsibility of the officiant, not the couple, to assure that the marriage license forms are prepared, completed, signed, and distributed within 30 days of the wedding. The following link advises officiants how to prepare, complete, and distribute forms after the wedding: Preparing and Distributing the marriage license forms
We'd like my daughter to be one of our witnesses, but she's only 13. Can we do that?
- State law does not specify the age of witnesses; however, the persons are witnessing a civil contract. As such, a witness is deemed "competent" for this purpose usually at the age of 18. If applicants wish to have persons under the age of 18 witness the ceremony, we recommend they have two other witnesses, who are over 18, also observe the exchange of vows and sign the marriage certificates. More than two witnesses may sign the certificates.
Questions about Public Record/Copies/Privacy
In our case, the groom intends to take the bride's last name. How does he implement that?
- Traditionally, the bride has taken the groom's last name. If you are intending anything other than the traditional name change, check with each agency for its requirements to accomplish that. If an agency requires more than a certified copy of your marriage license, a court-ordered name change can be accomplished at King County District Court.
Obtaining certified copies of the Marriage Certificate
Our marriage certificate was lost or has not been recorded. What can we do?
- After the Wedding: If the Washington State Department of Health Certificate of Marriage is not recorded with King County within 30 days of the wedding, the couple should first confirm with their wedding officiant that the form was mailed back to King County after the ceremony. If it was returned, call the King County Recorder's Office for a further check and directions: 206-296-1844.
The country we are going to live in requires that an Apostille be affixed to our wedding certificate. How do we get one?
- Please visit the Washington State Secretary of State's website about Apostilles (external link).
How do we get older marriage records?
For complete, automated information on marriage licensing in King County, including the eight sites at which to apply, along with their schedules, addresses and driving directions, call anytime: 206-296-3933 or 1-800-325-6165 ext 63933.
To speak with a marriage licensing staff member, call the downtown Seattle Marriage License Office, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays: 206-296-4021 or 1-800-325-6165 ext 64021.
Please send any e-mail inquiries to email@example.com