Enchanted Barn Wedding | Wisconsin | Canon 5d3 Wedding Video
How to Get Married in Wisconsin
Congratulations on your decision to get married! Before you can walk down the aisle, you need to take care of some essentials. Schedule your wedding and find someone to marry you, then get your marriage license from the county clerk’s office. Because planning for a wedding can be overwhelming, hire a wedding planner if necessary.
Getting a Marriage License
Check if you can get married.Wisconsin has a few qualifications that you must meet. Check ahead of time:
- You must be at least 18 years old to get married. If you are 16 or 17, you’ll need both parents’ consent or the consent of your legal guardian. There is a consent form available at the county clerk’s office.
- You can’t marry someone closer than your second cousin. However, you can marry a first cousin if the female is age 55 or older or either party has been sterilized.
- If you’ve been divorced, you must wait six months after the divorce before you can marry, regardless of where the divorce took place.
Collect required documents.Both parties will need to show the clerk the following documents, so collect them ahead of time:
- A valid photo ID, such as your driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
- Your Social Security Number.
- A certified birth certificate. You can get your copy from the state’s Vital Records office. A “birth registration” or “certificate of birth” issued by the hospital is not acceptable.
- If you were married, you’ll need some proof of the divorce, such as a judgment of divorce or legal annulment. If your spouse died, you’ll need a death certificate.
- If you are a Wisconsin resident, you must show proof that you reside in the county where you are applying for your license. You can use a state ID, utility bill, bank statement, or lease agreement as proof.
Set a wedding date.You need to set a wedding date before you apply for your marriage license.Most couples in Wisconsin get married in the summer and fall, but you should pick a time that works for your schedule.
- If you’re planning a big wedding, you might want to avoid popular holidays and festivals. For example, the Wisconsin State Fair arrives in early August, and Milwaukee Summerfest runs from late June through early July.
Find an officiant to marry you.This person will solemnize your marriage, and you need to pick an officiant before you apply for a marriage license.You can be married by a judge, circuit court commissioner, or ordained member of a religious denomination.
- If you’re being married by a government official, you can check with the clerk’s office. They have the contact information available.
Apply at the county clerk’s office.Both of you should go to the clerk’s office together. You need to go at least seven days before your wedding date, but not more than 30 days. Your license will expire after 30 days.
- You must apply in the county where either party has lived for at least 30 days. If you haven’t lived in any Wisconsin county for at least 30 days, you must apply in the county where the wedding will be held.
- Both applicants must speak English. If one doesn’t, then they need a translator. You cannot translate for your fiancé(e).
Pay for the license.Generally, you’ll pay around 0, though the amount might differ by county. In Dane County, you must pay in cash.In Milwaukee County, you can use a debit or credit card in addition to cash.
Pick up your license.You’ll need to wait about a week before you can pick up your marriage license from the court clerk. However, the clerk can waive this waiting period for a fee in certain situations. Talk to the clerk.
Planning Your Wedding
Choose where you want to get married.Some people get married in a church, whereas other people prefer to marry in a non-religious location, such as a public park, barn, or someone’s back yard. In the summer or fall, outdoor weddings are popular in Wisconsin. However, the locations must be licensed to hold a wedding.
- Find venues by asking people where they got married. You can also drive around and find buildings that look large enough to hold a wedding. Speak to the owner about whether they will host a wedding ceremony.
- Confirm that your wedding venue can fit all of your guests and that it is conveniently located near your reception venue.
- If you’re a Wisconsin resident, your marriage license is good throughout the state.However, non-residents need to marry in the county where they got their license.
Find a venue for the reception.You might hold your reception in the same venue as your wedding. However, sometimes it’s not possible or you might prefer a different location. For example, you can rent a hall, lodge, or restaurant. Make sure that your location has the necessary permits to host a wedding reception.
- Call possible venues and ask about availability. If they have an opening on your wedding day, you can swing by the venue to check it out.
- Get written quotes for how much it costs to rent. Also get a written contract from the venue you select.
Hire a caterer.If you’re aiming for a low-cost wedding, then you might cook up the food yourself. However, chances are you’ll need to hire a caterer. Get referrals from newlyweds or look online. When you call a caterer, ask about their average price range and whether they offer packages or discounts. You might need the caterer to handle set-up and clean-up. If you do, expect to pay more.
- Double check that the caterer has a liquor license if you are serving alcohol.
- Incorporate local foods, such as cheese, custard, bratwurst, and sauerkraut. Also consider having a fish fry, which is a great meal for a less formal wedding.
Choose a wedding cake.You have many options—a sheet cake, tiered cake, etc. Half of the fun of getting married is going to different bakeries and sampling their wedding cakes. Pick a flavor that you like—it’s your wedding day!
- If you pick a tiered cake, each tier can be a different flavor. This might make your guests happy.
- A cake with three tiers will serve 50-100 guests. Five tiers will serve 200 or more.
- Be bold and try a non-traditional dessert, such as cream puffs, Danish pastry, or fudge-bottom pie.
Send out save-the-date cards.Send them six to eight months in advance. This gives your guests a chance to clear their schedules. If you’re flying to Wisconsin for a destination wedding, your guests will also need time to arrange travel.
- Only send these invitations to people you positively know you want to attend. Once these invites go out, it’s too late to change your mind.
Hire a wedding planner if you need help.Feeling overwhelmed? If you don’t have a lot of time, you can hire a Wisconsin wedding planner who can find a venue, caterer, DJ, etc. Ask newlyweds if they worked with a wedding planner. You can also search online.
- Wedding planner use different methods for billing their time. Some charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour or by a percentage of your wedding budget. Generally, you can expect to pay 15% of your wedding budget on a planner. For example, if your wedding budget is ,000, you might pay around ,000.
- Sign up for a consultation so you can get to know the planner. You want someone you feel comfortable with.
Send your guests formal invitations.Send these out about two months before the wedding. Ask guests to RSVP two to three weeks before. This will give you enough time to rearrange your seating chart if necessary.
- If you’re having a destination wedding, send the invitations a little earlier (say about three months in advance). Also give guests a list of hotels, motels, and B&Bs where they can spend the night. Find this information in the phone book or by contacting a local Chamber of Commerce.
Plan your wedding favors.Show your guests you appreciate them by handing out wedding favors. Ideally, you should skip traditional wedding favors like keychains and instead pick something more Wisconsin-inspired. Consider giving an artisan cheese or picture postcards of the state.
QuestionIs lesbian marriage allowed?Top AnswererYes. Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Wisconsin as of October of 2014.Thanks!
How do I apply if I am doing a destination wedding? I am from Massachusetts and I cant really travel twice to Wisconsin in two months.
- After you are married, your officiant will complete the marriage license and sign it before sending it to the county Recorder of Deeds within three days of the wedding. If you want a certified copy of the marriage certificate, you should buy them from the Recorder of Deeds for the county that issued the marriage license.
- Don’t make copies of the original certificate of marriage. It’s illegal.Instead, order as many copies as you need.
Video: Wisconsin and Midwest Wedding Videography | The Lageret Wedding in Madison Wisconsin | Kayla + Matt
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