Ok guys. Time to talk about something a little less fun, but definitely important, your Colorado marriage license.
The logistics of getting a Colorado marriage license are pretty easy. Most counties allow you to apply in advance online, and set up an appointment to go pick up your license. I strongly recommend setting an appointment in advance if you can. This has been particularly true in the last year with the uncertainty of what is open, and what is not, due to Covid.
I generally recommend getting your Colorado marriage license from the clerk in the county you live in, but there are no rules saying you can’t get it in any other Colorado county. You don’t have to live in Colorado to get a license here. Just pop by the nearest county clerk to where you are staying.
Your Colorado marriage license must be signed within 30 days of issuance. I always recommend applying, and picking it up the week before the wedding. If Covid gets bad again, and things start shutting down, then I would check in with the clerk 30 days before your wedding to see how backed up they are to ensure you can get an appointment in time for your wedding.
If for any reason you can’t get your license in time for your wedding, I will gladly meet up with you somewhere in the Denver Metro area when you do pick it up to sign it for you. You also have the option of self solemnizing at the county clerk’s office, but that’s not as much fun as getting a chance to hang out with me again. Just keep in mind licenses can not be backdated, so the day it is signed will be your wedding date in the eyes of the law.
We will usually sign the license right after the ceremony, though I have also seen people sign it as part of the ceremony, right before I pronounce you, as well. That is pretty fun because it gives your guests a chance to relax for a moment while the two of you sign it, and it also makes them feel included.
You can have as many witnesses as you want, or none at all. Colorado does not require them. Most people opt to have two. It is usually members of the wedding party, or parents of the couple. These are not rules though! I have seen people have every guest sign it. I have had dog’s sign them with a pawprint. I have even seen couples use their baby’s footprint. For dogs and babies we use a non toxic ink.
If anyone is changing their name, I recommend signing exactly as it appears on the license, so your maiden name. I have called every clerk within a 100 miles of Denver to see what name they want and the two answers I get are
“Either their married or maiden name.”
“The name that is on the license”.
No one at any of the offices seems to be sure what the actual rule is. It just seems safer to stick to the name on the license as we know for a fact it will be accepted. If you really want to sign your new name for the first time that day we can do a decorative certificate in addition to the license.
Once we have signed your license I will take it with me and mail it out the next business day. If you need a copy for travel, or insurance, and can not wait for the county to return it to you, let me know. I will take a picture of it, and send it to you via text or email. A picture usually works fine for temporary proof of the marriage until the clerk returns your original.
In my experience most people get the original back from the clerk 2-4 weeks after the wedding. I have seen it go faster, but it rarely takes longer than a month. If you still have not received your copy from the clerk a month after your wedding, get in touch with me. Sometimes I am able to help track it down a little easier.
I hope this helps you feel a little less overwhelmed by the process of getting your Colorado wedding license. If you have other questions please reach out to me! My goal is to make the process as easy as possible for you, and I am happy to help. I am adding a list to this post of all the clerk’s office websites in Colorado to get you started!