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Step Five: Documentation

The Church (parish and archdiocese) and governments (state and county) will ask you to provide information which must be obtained prior to your marriage.


Ecclesial Requirements


•  A recently issued Baptismal Certificate for the Catholic parties.  This needs be issued within the last six months by the church where you where baptized.  Call or write the Church where you were baptized to request it.  Our parish will be able to help you find the phone number or address if you give us the name of the church and the city and state where it is located.  If you were baptized in a different country, a relative living in that country can be a great help in getting the certificate.  Records are kept in Washington DC for those baptized on an U.S. military base, while a copy of the baptismal certificate of the party who is not Catholic is desirable, it is not necessary.

• Pre-nuptial Investigation (29.1)  Both parties will be asked for sworn testimony identifying themselves, affirming that there are no impediments to the proposed marriage,  stating that they believe marriage to be a lifelong commitment for the good of the spouses and the raising of children, and that they are freely entering this covenant.

Catholics will be asked if they intend to continue living out their faith in the Catholic Church, and non Catholics will be asked if they understand all that is asked of the Catholic party in living out his or her faith.  This includes sharing  ones faith with one’s children, especially by having them baptized in the Catholic Church; supporting one’s parish through  the sharing of time talent and treasure; regular participation at Sunday Mass; and living virtuously is all aspects of one’s life.

• In addition to these affidavits, each will be asked to provide at one witness who has known him/her well enough to be able to complete an affidavit (29.2) supporting their readiness to marry. Normally parents or family members are appropriate witnesses.  If the witness lives in another city, they may take the form to the nearest Catholic Church and complete it in the presence of the pastor or his delegate.

• If one or both parties have been married before and the former spouse is still living, a DECLARATION OF FREEDOM to marry in the Catholic Church from a diocesan tribunal is necessary. If a former spouse is deceased, the death certificate together with the marriage certificate is needed. 

• Parish Sacrificial Giving Pledge Card. All we have, all we are, all we will become is from a good and gracious God. This is nowhere more evident than in the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. It was God who brought you together; God who gifted you with the love you discovered, nurtured, and to which you are now committing your entire lives; God who will transform you through your love for one another. The Christian response to God's generosity and blessing has been to return to the Lord an offering that is given in thanksgiving, which is planned and which is proportional.

If you haven't done so already, this time of preparation for marriage is the time to begin Sacrificial Giving. Sacrificial giving is a way of life that recognizes God as the source of all we have and gives thanks to God by returning a set proportion of your labors (time and income) to charities.

State Requirements


A valid Marriage License, obtained at the County Auditor’s Office is required by Washington State law.  Any person, male or female, may apply for and receive a license to marry without Washington State residence requirements.  The male and female must be 18 years old to marry without parental consent.  Both parties must sign affidavits on forms provided by the County Auditor giving the information required as to the ages and other qualifications to marry.  A blood test or examination is not currently required by the State of Washington to obtain a marriage license. 

It is possible for one applicant to apply for a marriage license in the absence of his/her partner.  This can be done by obtaining an application from the Marriage License Department.  The process will be explained at that time.

After the application has been made, there is a three day waiting period before it becomes valid.  The marriage license is valid for 60 days.

You will receive three documents: a Marriage License, a State Department of Health Certificate of Marriage, and a County Certificate of Marriage.   Bring all these documents in the original envelope to the parish Office.

Remember!  The parish office must have your Marriage License two weeks prior to the wedding.  It will be signed after the wedding ceremony and the parish will mail the form back to the county courthouse.


King County
Fee:  $64 Cash Only

403 King County Administration Building
Seattle, WA, 98104    
  (206) 296-3933
Mon. – Fri. 8:30 am - 4:30 pm 

Kent Regional Justice Center
Kent, WA   
401 4th Ave. N.
(253) 205-7330
Mon. – Fri., 8:30 am 4:30

Pierce County
Fee:  $64 Cash Only

2401 South 35th Street;
        Rm. 200
Tacoma WA, 98409-7481     (253) 591-7435
Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm