Whether you’re getting married at an art museum in downtown Detroit or on an idyllic farm near Ann Arbor, if you’re getting married in Michigan, you’ll need a marriage certificate to lawfully formalize your marriage.

Each state has different requirements and rules regarding the receipt of this important document, so we instructed expert Elizabeth Schultz to finish all important information related to the state of the Great Lake.

Read on for everything you need to know about obtaining and using a marriage certificate in Michigan, including a document that you might be surprised to find out what you need to bring with you on a date.


Requirements for obtaining a marriage license in Michigan

If you are over 18 years old, you can lawfully marry in the state of Michigan without parental consent. Michigan residents must apply for a marriage license in the county in which they reside, but can use the license anywhere in the state. Residents of other regions of Michigan who wish to marry in the state must apply for a marriage license in the county in which they want to marry. The license is valid only for use in this county.

In Michigan, marriage certificates are issued by the county clerk’s office. Most counties offer the option to fill out your paperwork online before your appointment, but not all do. Counties also differ depending on who is required to attend the reception: some require both members of the couple to be present, while others require only one member of the couple to be present — usually a resident of the county in which they apply for a license.

Even if neither party can attend in person, some Michigan counties, such as Washteno, offer virtual meetings and affidavits, but not all. Be sure to check your district secretary’s website before your appointment to prepare as best you can.


Bring your documents

To obtain a marriage certificate in Michigan, you need to have the following on hand:

Identification. If you are a resident of Michigan, you will need a valid driver’s license or a state-issued ID card to show proof of residence. Non-residents are also required to present an identity card.

Social security number. Some counties will ask for a copy of the map, while others will simply ask you to find out the number and specify it. Applicants without a social security number can still get a marriage certificate in Michigan, but they will need additional documents, and in some counties, the applicant must show up for an appointment in person. The requirements vary from county to county, so it’s best to check it in advance.


Birth certificate. Michigan is one of the few states in which U.S. citizens born abroad require a birth certificate issued by a government agency. (Sick leave and baptismal certificates are not accepted.) Some districts require a certified copy, others do not, and some accept applications for a passport with a birth certificate. Non-American birth certificates written in a language other than English may require translation and notarization. Since these requirements vary from county to county, it is best to consult with your county clerk’s office prior to your appointment.

Payment. The Michigan marriage certificate is 20 if one or both candidates have jurisdiction in the state, and 30 if neither member of the couple has jurisdiction. Accepted payment methods vary depending on the county.
If you have ever been married, Michigan does not require proof of annulment or passed away of a spouse to apply for a marriage license.