Florida is one of only three states which authorize notaries public to perform marriage ceremonies. The following guidelines should be helpful.
- The couple must obtain a valid Florida marriage license from a county court judge or clerk of the circuit court and present it to the notary public before the marriage ceremony.
- The notary public performs the marriage ceremony. It may be personalized, and the bride and groom may even exchange their own vows. But, the couple’s vows must reflect their intentions to make a legally binding commitment to each other.
- The notary public is responsible for making a certificate on the appropriate portion of the marriage license and returning it to the office of the county court judge or clerk of the circuit court which issued the license within 10 days after solemnizing the marriage. § 741.08, Fla. Stat.
- A Florida notary public may perform a marriage ceremony only within the geographical boundaries of this state.
- A notary public may perform a marriage ceremony for a person who is related to him or her by blood or marriage. The prohibition against notarizing the signature of a spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father does not apply because the notary is not notarizing the signature of the bride and groom, but is only certifying that the couple have been joined in marriage by the notary according to the laws of the State of Florida. Op. Att‘y Gen. Fla. 91-70 (1991).
- The notary should check the expiration date of the license to ensure that the license is still valid.
The notary should also require identification if the bride and groom are not personally known.
- It is recommended that two witnesses, other than the notary, sign the marriage certificate in the event that proof of the marriage ceremony is necessary in the future.
Additional information about solemnizing marriage is located in the Q&A section on pages 52-53.