"Hi AMM! Who is in charge of getting the marriage license – the officiant (me), or the couple? And what is the difference between the license that is signed in front of witnesses, and the certificates you sell in your store?"
First and foremost: the marriage license is the official document and proof of marriage that is recognized by the government.
That said, the couple is responsible for obtaining their own marriage license from the local county clerk or marriage bureau in the state where they wish to get married, and by applying for that license, it will allow them to get married in that state (and/or county). This is the important document that the officiant (that's you!) will fill out after performing the ceremony.
Once the marriage license has been completed and signed by all the required persons - the couple, officiant, witnesses, etc. - it will have clear filing instructions on when, how, and where to return it afterward. It is important to follow these instructions carefully and pay close attention to any waiting periods and filing deadlines.
A commemorative marriage certificate, on the other hand, is not an official document, and is solely meant for display and/or giving as a gift. Commemorative certificates should not be confused with the official government-issued marriage license.
However, because official marriage licenses aren't aesthetically-pleasing documents (and get filed away with the state anyway), having a framed and stylized certificate of choice is a much prettier way to remember the joyous occasion.
Not only do commemorative certificates make lovely keepsakes, but signing them makes for additional photo opportunities on the wedding day. Gather your witnesses, grab some pretty pens, and make sure the photographer is there to capture those moments! (Playing of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered [I'm Yours]" while doing so is optional.)
If you'd like to gift your couples with a thoughtful keepsake, be sure to check out our selection of commemorative certificates in a variety of styles. We offer not only commemorative wedding certificates, but ones for Vow Renewals, too - available blank or personalized, and with free shipping!