Two weeks. Two days. One website even says they conducted one in three hours. That’s definitely a stretch and the marriage was probably not by proxy but none the less, every site, every FAQ, and every article claim something different. So how long really?
Several factors go into the actual timing. The first is how long it takes the two fiancés to complete the necessary forms, get them notarized, and then sent back to the company officiating the marriage. Each of the fiancés must get two forms notarized – a power of attorney which provides permission for the company to hold the marriage and a marriage affidavit which identifies their approval of the actual people standing as proxy.
If one or both of the fiancés uses an in-person Notary Public, this will stretch out the time. Both, however, can use an on-line virtual notary which saves quite a bit of time but also has a fee charged with each signature. They must also complete their marriage application form with all of their personal information such as birth date, social security numbers, and parents’ personal data.
Once the marriage company gets the forms back, much of the timing is now on them. That is, how responsive are they? Are they willing to work evenings and weekends on your marriage? You get the idea; it is sort of out of the fiancés’ hands at this point.
So, what’s next? Once the company has reviewed the documents for accuracy, they are printed and hand-carried by the proxies to the Clerk of the District Court’s office. Some District Courts – those with large backloads or many marriage applications to address – can take several days to process and send the marriage license back to the company. Some smaller courts will process all the forms right away and hand the marriage license directly back to the proxies. In the latter case, the marriage ceremony can be conducted that same day.
Once the service has taken place and vows have been made, the officiant or minister and the proxies sign the license and it is returned to the Court. Again, if a busy Court, it could take a few more days before the marriage certificates are received. If not busy, it is possible to get the certificates that same day. Another factor, of course, are weekends and holidays when the District Courts are closed.
Saying all this, we recently had a couple contact us on Saturday, they got everything notarized on-line on Sunday, were married by proxy on Tuesday morning and had their marriage certificate copies in hand by noon that same day. They received their original marriage certificates by certified mail on Thursday. It can be done that fast!