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Order King County marriage records online

Certified copies of King County marriage certificates cost $3.00 each (plus a small processing fee for credit card payment).
Marriages 1989 or earlier     Marriages 1990 to present

This is the fastest way to order marriage certificates. If you can't locate your certificate or if you prefer to pay by cash or check, please go through our standard request form.

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A Brief History of Marriage in King County, Washington

Page 1 - Record of Marriage Certificates, 1853-1869King County was formed on December 22, 1852. The first recorded marriage in the county was solemnized between David Denny and Louisa Boren on January 23, 1853; which also represents the oldest surviving record of King County government. Although this was the first marriage under King County government, the first known marriage to occur in geographical King County was solemnized between John Bradley and Mary Relyea on November 19, 1852 (in what was then part of Thurston County). Although marriage records have been kept by King County, laws and regulations were enacted by the Territory and later the State. Laws and regulations in Washington Territory's earliest years were few and far between. It was not until 1866, that record of licenses or witnesses were required or that the content of marriage certificates was regulated. Marriage laws have been amended many times since then.

Some laws have changed over time or have been repealed due to cultural changes. For example, interracial marriage was illegal in Washington Territory from 1854 until 1868. The legal age for marriage has also changed over time. Originally, females had to be 16 years old and males had to be 21 years old (or 12 and 16 with parental consent). Currently, both parties must be 18 years old (or 17 with parental consent). For a number of years, the following people were barred from marriage: "common drunkards," "habitual criminals," "epileptics," "imbeciles," "feeble-minded persons," "idiots," or "insane" people (unless they were a woman over the age of 45 years).

A major cultural shift took place in Washington State with the establishment of state-registered domestic partnerships in 2007 and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2012.

Types of Marriage Records

The following is a list of the official steps (and corresponding records) that have been involved in the marriage process in King County over time. (The links below include information about where to find each type of record.)

  1. License Application (formerly License Affidavit) - required before issuance of a marriage license, ensuring that the couple can legally marry.

  2. License - authorizes an official to solemnize the ceremony.

  3. Certificate - officially documents that the ceremony took place.

  4. Return - similar to the certificate, but contains more detailed statistical and personal information. It was also filed with a different county agency.

  5. (Note: In many United States counties, the terms license, certificate and return are often used interchangeably as names for an official document proving that a marriage has occurred. In King County, they represent distinct records.)

Questions about marriage records? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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