The Ceremony


License to Marry in Iowa

The License to Marry in Iowa may be used after its valid date. Present a copy to your officiant (i.e., person authorized by law to perform marriage ceremonies). The license is proof that proper Application to Marry in Iowa has been made. The license does not prove that the marriage event occurred.

Certificate Form

The County Registrar will also give you the original state copy of the Certificate of Marriage form.

The officiant must complete the lower portion of the form immediately after your marriage ceremony. Please write legibly in black ink to ensure an accurate recording of your marriage. Sign your legal name after marriage as you designated and notarized on your marriage application.

Two persons present at the ceremony, as well as the officiant, must also sign the form and print their names. The signing witnesses must be of an age and competency to enter a civil contract themselves. Photocopies of the Certificate of Marriage prior to registration are prohibited.


Within 15 days after your marriage ceremony, your officiant (the person who married you) must file for registration the state copy of the Certificate of Marriage to the County Registrar that issued your marriage license. The officiant may not affix any kind of seal to the Certificate of Marriage.

Certified Copy

Once registered, the County Registrar will issue you a certified copy of your Certificate of Marriage automatically per Iowa Code section 595.16A. The parties are responsible for including the Address Update form with the marriage record being returned for registration. Additional certified copies of the Certificate of Marriage record may be obtained from either the County Registrar in the county of license or from the state vital records office.

The current fee for certified copies is $15. The Certificate of Marriage and the Application to Marry in Iowa are public records available for inspection at the county level per Iowa Code section 144.43. However, your social security number is maintained as confidential and will not be released to the public.

Name Change Notification

You must change your name directly with businesses and government agencies (e.g., SSA, DOT) if you changed your legal name through marriage. Most organizations will ask to see the certified copy of your Certificate of Marriage record. There should be no cost involved. Once you complete these transactions, put your certified copy in a safe, protected location to avoid identity theft or damage to the safety paper (which would void your copy).