film + digital photography

How To Get a Marriage License in Iowa

One thing on your wedding to do list is to obtain your marriage license. Depending on what state you live in there can be different steps, so this post is breaking it down for the state of Iowa.

While the website can be confusing, the hope is that this post puts it in simpler terms.

Ready to dive right in? Let’s go!

Iowa Marriage License Steps

1: You + Fiancé + 1 Witness + $35
This fee is for Iowa, each state varies!

2: Your Drivers license + Fiancé Drivers License + Witness Driver License

3: There is a minimum 3 day waiting period from applying for license, to receiving the license, to then be allowed to do the marriage ceremony.

Each state varies, and case by case basis you can get this 3-day period waived with a judge’s signature if you need to get married ASAP

4: Recorders Office – they have the one paper you fill out with your maiden names, and if you plan on taking your SO’s last name you fill that out, sign, date.
Your witness signs the same paper on the back!
(or you can change your full name completely)

5: In Iowa, once you apply for your license, you have waited for three days, you have 6 months to go pick up your paper work.

6: Some States require blood tests to insure you’re not marrying your cousin… Iowa does not require this.

7: Some States will require 2 forms of ID when applying for your license.
It’s always a good idea to bring your license + another form of ID just incase!
But we didn’t need to show our passports or birth certificates in Iowa!

8: Picking up your license three days later – you don’t need a witness or your Fiancé for this part!

We applied on Wednesday (March 6), so picking up on Monday (March 11) because business days!

6 Months or 15 days..?

Quotes directly off Iowa’s website.

“If the license is not retrieved from the County Registrar within six months from the date of application, the application is considered null and void. “

The paper work does not expire, because we have picked it up within 6 months of applying.

After the ceremony has been performed

“Within 15 days after the marriage ceremony, the Officiant shall file for registration the state copy of the Certificate of Marriage with the County Registrar that issued the License to Marry. “

Right after your ceremony, the paper work needs to be filled out and returned to the state within 15 days .

(Again each state is different this is for Iowa)

Receiving your Iowa Marriage Certificate

After you (or your person who married you legally) returns the paper work to the state of Iowa you will receive your marriage certificate.

Make sure to keep this in a good spot, you will need it for any name changes!

Typically it takes about 2-4 weeks to get this in the mail.

Get in Touch with Jamie!

Jamie is an elopement photographer based in Iowa, with clients all over the United States. Her passion is helping couples have a wedding day done their way, not to society standards. Thinking about tossing that large traditional wedding aside? Contact jamie right now.

Quotes taken from..


we're jamie and mark!

We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


get to know us


copyright jamie tobin photography 2012-2023 | privacy | terms of service | site designed by madison ramm | Copywriter Kaili at reveal studio

IOWA ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | Iowa Microwedding photographer