In one word, YES! You must have a marriage license issued by the Clerk of Courts in Florida to get married. For Florida, it is a three part process: obtain the license, have the license solemnized, return the license for filing.
Obtaining the license is done at the Clerk of Courts in ANY Florida County. You do not have to get married in the County that you get the license but the license will be returned to the Clerk of Courts in the county in which you obtained the license. You can get your marriage license in Panama City, Florida and get married in Key West, Florida but the license gets recorded in the County where you obtained the license.
Solemnizing is a big word that means you have duly performed the ceremony to get married. Solemnizing marriage is one of the honors of a notary public in Florida, as well as in South Carolina, Maine. The solemnization of a marriage is the formal ceremony which unites a couple in legal marriage. It is the DO YOU and I DO and I now pronounce YOU that makes it legal. We are often asked to just sign the paper but we can’t and you aren’t married unless we actually perform a ceremony, however brief. We have even created MARRIED IN A MINUTE for those who want the briefest ceremony possible.
Filing the license is the final part of the process that makes it a complete and legal marriage in the eyes of the law. Within 10 TEN DAYS of the ceremony, the license is returned to the Clerk of Courts where it was obtained and filed. These are public records in Florida and can then be found by a document search on many of the County websites.
We are always happy to answer any question you have about how to get married and how to get a license in Florida. Give us a call or even use our chatbot feature on the website to find out many of the frequently asked questions. You can even connect with a live agent, AKA, one of our Wedding Officiants to chat directly.