So you made it! All those bad first dates, and roadblocks along the way: you found the love of your life, and you cannot wait to get married! Yes! We are here for that! However, the county, the state, and a bunch of other rules and guidelines are here for it, too. Wisconsin is a fantastic place to get married with indoor and outdoor venues (which we love) that can fulfill any couples vision for their big day; however, there are a few more hoops to jump through a few more balls to juggle before the big day can take place. Is your head spinning a bit? Don’t panic; we’ve got you!
There’s a lot of planning that goes behind the scenes before the magic happens at your favorite Wisconsin wedding venue. For instance, did you know that Wisconsin residents must apply in the county in which one or both have resided for at least 30 days before application? And, if both parties are residents of another state, the application is made in the county where the ceremony will take place, but that must be made in person. For couples from out of state, this could require an extra trip before the wedding to accomplish this.
Couples in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, must apply together, in person, and show photo ID such as a valid driver’s license. Marriage license applications may be completed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Office of the Milwaukee County Clerk, County Courthouse (Room 105, 901 North 9th Street, Milwaukee). A wedding date must be set before the application. The marriage license application must be completed at least seven days but not more than 30 days before the wedding date. The license is valid for 30 days upon the issuance date.
Those who wish to be married in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, must apply together, in person with proof of photo ID. Marriage applications may be completed Mon-Fri 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM or the fourth Tuesday of the month until 6:00 PM, at the Waukesha County Clerk’s Office, Waukesha County Courthouse, 515 W. Moreland Blvd, Rm 120, Waukesha WI 53188. All arrangements for the wedding must be set PRIOR to apply for a marriage license. An application must be made at least six full calendar days before the license may be issued. For example, if an application is completed on the 10th of a month, the license will be issued and can be used on the 16th of the month. Counting the day after the issuance date, the marriage license is valid for exactly 30 days and must be used in that period of time. Since the license is valid for 30 days after issuance, an application can be made up to 35 days ahead of the ceremony, but no further in advance. Licenses cannot leave the Clerk’s office until the license becomes effective. Couples should take into account that the office is not open Saturdays, Sundays or Courthouse holidays (New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day). For example, if a couple is planning to be married on a Saturday, an application would have to be made at least by the Friday preceding the week of the marriage to be able to pick up the license during office hours. A 6-day waiting period is required by law; however, a waiver of the waiting period may be granted by the County Clerk for an additional fee of $25 if there are extenuating circumstances.
Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, mixes it up a little with a statutory five-day waiting period, exclusive of the day of application, required from the time of application until the license is issued. For example, if an application is completed on the 10th of a month, the license will be issued and can be used on the 15th of the month. Counting the day after the issuance date, the marriage license is valid for exactly 30 days and must be used in that period of time. Since the license is valid for 30 days after issuance, an application can be made up to 35 days ahead of the ceremony, but no further in advance. Both applicants will need to be present, with a photo ID and proof of residency, at the time of the application which is done at: County Clerk’s Office Ozaukee County Administration Building (Downtown), 121 W. Main St., Room 128, Port Washington, WI 53074, 262-284-8110 or 262-238-8110, Mon- Fri 8:30a.m. – 4:00p.m., they do not have weekend hours.
Couples wishing to tie the knot in Washington County, Wisconsin, will find that there is a six-day waiting period, not including the day of application, after which the license is valid for 30 days, including the day of issuance. As a general rule, applicants should apply no less than eight days and no more than 36 days before their ceremony. In some instances, a waiver of the waiting period may be granted at the discretion of the County Clerk, due to unusual circumstances. The cost of the waiver is $25.00 and should be approved before applying for your marriage license. Waivers will not be granted to anyone under the age of 18. Applications are made in person by both parties with photo ID and proof of residency at Washington County Courthouse County Clerk’s Office, Room 2027, 432 E. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095, (262) 335-4301, on Mon-Fri from 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on a walk-in basis.
One last little hurdle, which a lot of couples don’t realize, is that Wisconsin also has a rule that people who are divorced must wait six months from the date of the judgment for dissolution before being remarried. This rule applies to individuals who are out of state resident who wishes to be married in Wisconsin. Furthermore, this applies to a Wisconsin resident who leaves the state to be married. Marriages of Wisconsin residents outside the state and contrary to Wisconsin laws are null and void in Wisconsin.
Planning the biggest, most important day of your life can be complicated, and keeping track of the dates, times, requirements, and tasks can feel absolutely overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to. Timeless Events is entering its eleventh wedding season years of coordinating weddings around Southeastern Wisconsin with zest and zeal. We love working hard and organizing all those little details, to keep things as stress-free for our clients as possible. We take on the big stuff and the small stuff, so you can truly enjoy the process of having found the love of your life and walking down the aisle during the wedding of your dreams. Don’t get allow your joy to get tangled up in the complicated details; Timeless Events is here to bring your wedding vision to life!
Featured photo by Catherine Winkelman Photography.