Every state has different laws governing when the marriage license is issued, can be completed, and must be returned. There are three types of laws that define these parameters, they are the marriage license Waiting Period, Return Deadline, and Expiration.
The marriage license waiting period refers to laws that mandate the couple wait for a period of time between when they file for the marriage license and when they are able to complete and return it.
Some states, like California, have no waiting period, meaning the couple can get married on the same day that they file for the marriage license. In other states, like Wisconsin, the couple is required to wait six days to get married from the time they apply for their marriage license until the ceremony and signing of the document.
The marriage license expiration refers to laws that invalidate the marriage license if it has not been completed and returned within a set amount of time from when it was issued.
In Ohio the marriage license is valid for 60 days, meaning the couple should wait to file for the marriage license at least 60 days before the scheduled wedding date. In Nevada, on the other hand, the marriage license is valid for an entire year.
The marriage license return refers to laws requiring that the marriage license be completed and returned before its expiration date or before a certain number of days have passed since the wedding ceremony.
Couples getting married in Hawaii must return the marriage license before it expires within its 30 day window, while marriage licenses in Texas must be returned within 10 days following the wedding.