The officiant should be able to advise you on the procedure you will need to follow in order to get your marriage license. Here are a few things that are fairly standard in most areas. You will each need to have the following documents:
- a birth certificate and/or passport for identification (with a picture);
- a copy of your Marriage Certificate and the Certificate of Divorce, if either of you were previously married;
- any name change deeds, if you had your name legally changed;
- a utility bill or some other type of document that gives your current address;
- some areas require that you also provide your father and your mother's (maiden) names;
- if you are under 18, you are most likely to sign permission from a parent or guardian in most places;
- some locals still require couples to have a blood test before issuing a license.
Also keep in mind to budget for the various fees, such as the officiant's fee (for the ceremony), the registration fee and the marriage license fee. These vary from location to location.
As with any marriage ceremony, you will need to have two witnesses to sign the legal documents once the ceremony is performed. If you are eloping, the officiant can provide the two witnesses from his/her staff.
All in all, a civil ceremony is much more flexible in today's world. You both may incorporate aspects of each of your religions if you wish, write your own vows and have any type of wedding theme you want, whereas a typical religious ceremony tends to restrict much of this. Civil ceremonies also tend to be a favorite with the budget conscious couple, as they are usually much cheaper in the long run. Whatever type of ceremony you choose, the most important thing to remember is to do what makes you happy as a couple. It's your wedding after all.
A church wedding may be important, if religion forms a meaningful part of your life. But, if you or your partner are divorced, then you will need to approach the clergyman of your choice and enquire as to whether he will agree to perform the church wedding ceremony for you. It varies from church to church and is often dependent on the views of the vicar himself. For example, in a Catholic Church a divorcee may only marry, if the previous ceremony was civil, not religious.
A Blessing is a religious service, much alike with a traditional church wedding, but performed after the legal requirements of a civil marriage are satisfied. All the ceremony of a formal wedding, including taking your vows in the sight of God, may be arranged, the only difference is that from the purely legal viewpoint you must be married before the ceremony takes place. In this way all the sincerity and pageantry of a church wedding is available even under circumstances, in which a full church wedding ceremony may not be possible, and the church can bless the union.