Published: Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 2021
If you travel as a wedding officiant, even just locally, you might find yourself wondering where one county line starts and another ends. This is important in the wedding biz for two reasons:
1. Ministers have to follow local marriage policies in the state where they’re officiating, and sometimes this means registering specifically in the county where the ceremony is taking place.
2. Marriage licenses (usually) must be issued by the county in which the ceremony is taking place.
About the first point:
Registering with a state and county to officiate is a more complicated topic then we have space to talk about here. For example, most states only require an officiant to register in a single county to officiate anywhere else in the state, but two states -- Louisiana and Nevada -- require registration in individual counties or parishes. To work out the details, head to the AMM FAQs: Do I need to register with the government before performing a marriage?
And on the second point:
Getting the marriage license ahead of the ceremony is the responsibility of the couple, not the officiant. But knowing these details will make you a valuable and trusted resource during the wedding planning process, and give you a big leg up if you want to officiate professionally.
A quick Google search will return dozens (if not hundreds) of sites with titles like “What County Am I In?” Many of these sites probably work wonderfully, but they’ll also ask to access your GPS location on your device.
If you don’t want to give them access to this personal info, or if you’re not physically standing at the venue when trying to determine the county, we recommend this instead:
1. Head the friendly USPS website, where they have a feature called Zip Code Lookup.
2. Enter the street address of the location, along with the City and State information. We’ll demonstrate here using AMM’s main office address.
3. When the mailing address pops up, along with the zip code info, you’ll see a drop down arrow next to the address.
4. Click this arrow and there it is --- the county name for your venue!
Use this information to help a couple figure out where to apply for their marriage license, and how to avoid their marriage not being recognized, as they plan their wedding.
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