An easy guide to obtaining a marriage license in the Big Easy

You found the perfect partner, venue, confirmed the caterers and the florist. You have done about everything you need to do to make sure your special day is magical, except to apply for your marriage license.  Don’t panic! Here is a simple guide to make sure your I Do’s do not become a “You Can’t.”

  • Where to Get the License
    • There are two places in Orleans Parish that Louisiana residents can order their marriage license.
      • The Orleans Parish Marriage License Office – Benson Tower, 1450 Poydras St., Suite 407. Licenses are issued between 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays).
      • Second City Court of New Orleans – Historic Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St. Licenses are issued between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays).
  • What You Need to Bring
    • In most cases, both parties must be present with required material to apply for a marriage license. If one person is missing the application will only be accepted if his or her signature has been separately notarized. If the absent partner, is member of the US armed forces, a copy of a military ID can be accepted in lieu of the signature.
    • Applicants must present:
      • A current driver’s license, current state ID or passport.
      • A certified birth certificate or a certified birth card for both parties (no photocopies accepted). A certified translation must be attached, if the birth certificate is not in English. If not born in the US or a US territory, the applicant(s) must also present a valid, unexpired passport or a valid, unexpired visa with attached I-94 form.
        • If a certified birth certificate cannot be produced, a waiver must be presented in accordance with LA R.S. 9:228.
      • Both applicants must provide their Social Security numbers if born in the United States. If not born in the US or a US territory, the applicant(s) must present a valid passport from their country of birth or a visa with attached I-94 form.
      • If either party has been divorced, the individual must provide a certified copy of the final divorce decree. A widow or widower must provide a certified copy the death certificate of the former spouse when they apply for a license to marry.
      • Fees of $27.50 payable by cash, check, or money order only (non-refundable), plus $5 for each certified copy of the marriage certificate desired. Credit/Debit cards are not accepted for payment.
  • Now You Wait
    • After you have correctly turned in all the required documents, you have a required by law 72-hour waiting period between the time of issuance of the license and the ceremony.
      • Judges of the First or Second City Courts are the only ones authorized to waive the waiting  period for Louisiana residents during normal hours of operation only.
      • If both parties reside outside of Louisiana and the services will occur in Orleans parish and be performed by a registered Orleans officiant, that officiant can waive this waiting period.
  • Avoid the line

Now that you have your certificate, you and your love are ready to say the the big “I Do.” However, while you should avoid waiting until the last minute to get your marriage license, do not apply more than 30 days before your ceremony. After the clock strikes midnight after 30 days, your license is no longer valid, and you must return the expired license to purchase a new one.

Source: Louisiana Department of Health

Starlight Williams

Wedding enthusiast. Multimedia Journalist. Scorpio. When not trying to meet a deadline, Starlight can be found singing off-key to Broadway show tunes, mourning the decline of manners, and watching the latest flick from the wonderful world of Disney.

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