How To Officiate a Wedding in Alabama

As a marriage officiant in Alabama, it is your legal responsibility to fill out the marriage license in the presence of the couple and any required witnesses. Following the guidelines below will ensure that this process goes smoothly for all involved.

  1. Ask The Couple To Present The Marriage License
  2. Confirm That The Marriage License Is Valid
  3. Fill Out The Marriage License
  4. Return The Marriage License To The Probate Court
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What Are My Wedding Day Duties As The Alabama Officiant?

As the officiant, you have two main duties on the wedding day. You need to:


  1. Conduct the Wedding Ceremony (Non-Legal Duty)
  2. Complete the Marriage License (Legal Duty)

So far, we have gone over how to prepare for a wedding ceremony in Alabama. That is your important but non-legal duty as a wedding officiant. This page focuses on how to properly handle the Alabama marriage license.

Alabama Law prescribes clear guidelines on marriage license handling and return. When the couple receives their marriage license, it should be accompanied with further instructions as to how, where, when, and by whom the marriage license is to be returned.

Regardless, it is a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with this subject ahead of time.

Handling The Alabama Marriage License

As the wedding officiant, it is your responsibility to handle the marriage license on the wedding day. Though this is a serious responsibility, it is an easy task to fulfill.

Our page How an Officiant Should Handle a Marriage License outlines clear guidelines on how you should handle the marriage license as a wedding professional. These guidelines apply to weddings generally, not just in Alabama. They follow four simple steps:


ASK, CONFIRM, SIGN, RETURN

  1. Ask the Couple to Present their Marriage License
  2. Confirming that the Marriage License is Valid
  3. Complete and Sign the Marriage License
  4. Return the Marriage License

Follow the links for more general info on each step. Continue reading for information specific to Alabama Marriage Licenses.

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STEP 1ASK THE COUPLE TO PRESENT THE ALABAMA MARRIAGE LICENSE

We recommend that you ask this of the couple before the wedding. It would not be ideal for you to officiate the wedding only to find out afterwards that the couple left their marriage license at home.

The coupe will probably have a lot on their plates leading up to the wedding. We suggest that you contact the couple the day before the wedding just to remind them to bring the marriage license to the ceremony.



STEP 2CONFIRM THAT THE ALABAMA MARRIAGE LICENSE IS VALID

Before you put pen to paper you should confirm that the marriage license is still valid. The validity of a marriage license is governed by three laws that determine the marriage license waiting period, expiration, and return. For more information on what these terms mean, check out our page, Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return.

In Alabama, the marriage license waiting period, expiration, and return are as follows:



There is no marriage license waiting period in Alabama. This means that the couple can receive and complete their marriage license on the same day that they file for their marriage license. In other words, they can get married on the same day that they file for their marriage license.

Marriage licenses in Alabama do expire 30 days after being issued. This means that the wedding must take place within the window of time between when the marriage license is issued and when it expires. In other words, the wedding must take place within 30 days of the couple filing for their marriage license.

Your job as the wedding officiant is to confirm that it has not been more than 30 days since the marriage license was issued. Once satisfied with this, you can move on to the next step.

If the marriage license is expired, then the couple will have to file for a new one. It's not the end of the world, but it is inconvenient.

STEP 3FILL OUT THE ALABAMA MARRIAGE LICENSE

Completing and signing the marriage license is your legal duty as the wedding officiant. Though this is a serious responsibiltiy, it is an easy task to fulfill.

Completing the marriage license simply involves filling out your portion of the license and signing it with the couple. In Alabama, no witnesses are required to sign the marriage license.

If you have not filled out a marriage license before, you may be unsure how to fill out certain fields. We understand that you want to do everything correctly. Our How To Fill Out a Marriage License covers all the fields that may appear on the marriage license you will be completing.

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Below we cover the four most common questions we get from our ministers regarding completing a marriage license. Keep in mind that marriage licenses in Alabama may be formatted differently depending on which office issued the license. The license you will be completing may have any combination of these fields, or none at all.

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STEP 4RETURN THE ALABAMA MARRIAGE LICENSE

After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to the Probate Court. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister.

Specific instructions on how to return the marriage license should be included with the marriage license when it is issued to the couple. If these instructions are not included with the marriage license, you can call the issuance office for further clarification.

Regardless of who returns the marriage license or by what method, it is important to return the completed marriage license to its issuance office as soon as possible.

Alabama does not have any laws specifying a time frame within which the marriage license must be returned to the Probate Court after the wedding. A marriage license in Alabama does expire after probate court . So make sure that the completed marriage license is returned before the expiration date.

As long as the completed marriage license is returned before its expiration date, the marriage license will be filed and recorded in Alabama.

Post Wedding Actions

If you have not done so already, you should record the wedding you just officiated with our AMM Wedding Helper and even share your wedding on the AMM Wedding Wall with our nationwide network of ministers. ALABAMA OFFICIANT POST WEDDING DUTIES Learn more about the AMM Wedding Helper and post wedding officiating responsibilities by tapping the button above.

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