Getting married and planning a wedding (even a simple one) is a big deal, and you will probably have questions. On this page I have provided answers to most of the common questions that couples who are about to get married need to know about the process.
What’s the process for getting our marriage license?
Can we obtain our marriage license by mail?
Do we need to have witnesses?
What forms of payment do you accept, and how do we pay you?
When do you arrive at the ceremony, and how long do you stay?
What do you wear?
Are you an ordained minister?
What happens if you get sick the day of my wedding?
How do I change my name?
Can you conduct wedding ceremonies in Spanish?
A: Both of you will need to apply for and receive a marriage license prior to the wedding. You must both be present, and you should bring a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) to verify your age and identity.
Currently, marriage licenses cost $83 in Maricopa County. The price may vary slightly in other counties. You may obtain your marriage license up to a year before your wedding. If you would like to receive a certified copy of your marriage license after your wedding (highly recommended), the cost for that is $37.50 in Maricopa County.
Once the wedding has taken place, I return the signed marriage license to the Clerk of Superior Court within a week of your wedding (usually the next day). It may take up to four weeks to receive your certified copy.
Click here for the locations where you can obtain a marriage license in Maricopa County. (Note that Justice Courts accept only money orders for payment.)
You do not need to obtain your marriage license in the same county in which your wedding will take place.
You cannot get married in Arizona with a marriage license from another state, or take a marriage license issued in Arizona to another state to get married.
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless obtaining your marriage license in person is not possible. The only circumstance I can think of in which you might want to obtain your marriage license by mail is if you are traveling to Arizona for a destination wedding and you will not arrive in time to obtain your marriage license from a Clerk of Superior Court’s office during their operating hours.
Mohave County is the only county that offers marriage licenses by mail, but you can use that marriage license anywhere in Arizona. I suggest that you begin the process 2-3 months prior to your wedding. Don’t rely on rapid turnaround. Click here to learn more. Note that they will not serve people outside the United States by mail.
A: Yes, you will need to have two witnesses who are at least 18 years old. I do not count as one of your witnesses.
If you do not have two people who can serve as witnesses, I can provide one or two witnesses for an additional cost of $30 each, payable at the time of the ceremony. This charge may be higher for travel outside of Maricopa or Pinal county.
Please give me at least three days’ notice if you need to have me provide witnesses.
A: I accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. If you are paying with a credit card, you can pay online using PayPal. (You don’t need a PayPal account to use PayPal.) I can accept your credit card at the time of your wedding using a Square reader and my cell phone, unless we’re in a remote area that may not have cell phone reception.
If you pay by check, please make the check payable to David R. Hughes. I will provide my address upon request.
For all weddings, a 50% deposit is required to hold the date and time you want.
A: I plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony and I leave shortly after we sign the marriage license after the conclusion of the ceremony. If you would like to have me arrive sooner or stay later, please let me know.
For Short, Sweet & Simple weddings, I arrive about 10 minutes prior to our scheduled time.
A: I usually wear a nice suit and tie. If you would prefer that I wear something else, such as something more casual or something to fit in with the theme of your wedding (for example, a Hawaiian shirt), please let me know and I’ll do my best. If you have wedding colors, please let me know what they are and I will try to coordinate if possible.
I don’t wear a robe or a clerical collar. I associate those garments with religious services, and I perform secular (non-religious) wedding ceremonies.
A: I am ordained by the Universal Life Church (ULC). The ULC is a non-denominational online ministry and is one of the largest communities of ordained ministers in the world. It believes that everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or affiliations, should be able to get ordained to celebrate their spirituality and to perform wedding ceremonies. ULC ministers are legally recognized wedding officiants, funeral officiants, and baptism officiants, among other things. The church was founded in 1959 and serves hundreds of thousands of ministers throughout the world.
A: I’m a very healthy person and I rarely get sick with anything worse than a common cold. I’ve never been sick on the day of a wedding!
But if that day should ever come, you’re covered! I have another officiant ready to step in and substitute at a moment’s notice. He will deliver exactly the same readings we have selected with the same skill and professionalism as you would get from me.
A: First, this is something you do after you are married, although you can start the process of obtaining the necessary forms before your wedding.
Your marriage license will show your pre-married name. When you obtain your marriage license, you should request a certified copy of your marriage license. You will receive it in the mail approximately one month after your wedding.
You can request a certified copy of your marriage license any time after your marriage license has been filed, if you need to.
Your new Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport are the most important documents, and the ones you should get first, in that order. All the other changes are relatively easy (although time-consuming) once you have these three documents.
This article states that you don’t have to apply through the court to change your last name as a result of marriage, but this is not correct in every circumstance.
If one spouse is taking the other’s last name, or if both spouses are creating a hyphenated last name that combines each spouse’s pre-married last name, then obtaining a court order is not necessary.
However, if you want to create a new last name that is different from either of your pre-married last names, then you must obtain a court order, just as you would if you wanted to change your name for some other reason.
For example, if Chris Crabtree and Pat Appleton get married and decide to change their last name to Crabtree-Appleton, no court order would be necessary. But if they want to create the new last name Appletree, they would need to obtain a court order.
No, I only speak English. However, I am happy to work with a translator, and I have done so on several occasions. I will provide the translator with my script in advance so he/she can have time to prepare.
Wedding cake image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Just Married” car image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net