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In order to get married, you need to apply and receive a marriage license. This is the document in your state that allows you to officially tie the knot under the law. The rules for acquiring your marriage license varies from state to state, so you should check with your city's marriage bureau at your clerk of court's office to find out what your local rules are.
You'll typically need to apply for your marriage license at least one month before your wedding ceremony. You'll traditionally need to send in your birth certificates, tax information, and other official documents. You don't, however, want to apply for your marriage license too early. In some states, the licenses do expire, if you don't get married within a few months.
When you apply for your license, you'll not only need a proof of identification and age, but you'll need to apply for the certificate together, will need to provide any information about previous marriages, will need to have completed blood tests (to make sure you are not too closely related or have any kinds of diseases you should know about), and will need to pay a nominal fee. You will also need to have a witness when you sign the application, so plan on bringing your maid of honor or best man with you. The bride will need to know what her married name will be before she signs the marriage certificate. You'll have to write that name on the application.
And, believe it or not, just because you have your marriage license sent to you in the mail does not mean you are officially married. You need to have a justice of the peace or a religious clergyman sign the document. On your wedding day, you'll give your chaplain your marriage license, then after the ceremony, he'll sign it and send it to the proper government agency for validation.