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How to Get a Marriage License in Denver

Filling out government paperwork is not the most glamorous part of wedding planning, but it's a vital step to legalize your marriage.

There are 5 basic steps that you'll follow to make things official:

  1. Apply for a marriage license.
  2. Appear at the Clerk and Recorder office in person with ID to answer questions.
  3. Fill out the marriage license on your wedding day.
  4. Mail it in.
  5. Receive your marriage license in the mail.

Start Online

You can save time by beginning the application process online. When you complete the application, write down your confirmation number, and the Clerk and Recorder office will be able to pull up your file when you go in.

Where to Go

To get your marriage license, both you and your fiancé must go in person to the license counter at the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, located on the first floor of the Webb Municipal Office Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue in Denver. They're open 8:00-4:30. Once you get your marriage license, it can be used anywhere in the state of Colorado.

Both Partners Will Answer Questions

  • Provide the date you are getting married.
  • Are you are getting married in Colorado? 
  • Provide the exact date and location of your divorce or spouse's death if you have been married before.
  • Are you related by blood and if so, how?
  • Provide the city and state where parents of both parties were born.
  • Provide your social security number.
  • Be able to answer if you are marrying in front of a judge, through an officiant or religious ceremony, or if you are marrying yourselves by signing the license at the marriage counter.

Each Partner Will Present One Form of ID

  • U.S. state-issued driver's license or permit
  • U.S. state-issued ID
  • U.S. military ID
  • Passport that is bilingual or multilingual and includes English or passport with a certified English language translation if non-English
  • Not-acccepted: birth certificate

Cost

The marriage license fee is $30.00 cash, check, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover).

Fill it Out

Please read the Office of the Clerk and Recorder's instructions for filling out your marriage license correctly. These instructions are for anyone getting married with an officiant or by themselves. 

Wedding Coordinator Tips

Photo by  KissMe Weddings

Plan Pre-Ceremony

Often, couples forget to plan the details of how they'll deal with the marriage license on the wedding day. During the rehearsal or on the morning of the wedding, ask your officiant or day-of coordinator to hold onto the marriage license and a pen for you. 

Plan Post-Ceremony

Typically, the easiest time to sign the license is right after the ceremony, while your officiant and wedding party are still nearby. Traditionally, couples ask their maid-of-honor and best man to sign as witnesses.  Be sure to give your photographer a heads up if you'd like him/her to shoot you and your new spouse signing the license. Decide on a safe person to hand the marriage license off to, such as a parent, and ask if they'd be willing to mail it in for you, so you don't have to worry about it during your honeymoon.

Timing is Everything

Before the Wedding

Your marriage license will be usable as soon as you get it and is valid for only 35 days. I've seen super organized couples get their marriage license months before the wedding, only to realize it was void by their wedding day.

After the Wedding

It's free for your marriage license to be processed if it's mailed in within 63 days of your wedding. After that, there will be late fees. It takes 2-3 weeks to be processed, and then your marriage license will be mailed to you.

Changing Your Name

If you'd like to change your name, you should wait until your marriage license has been mailed to you. You should take it to the Social Security office first, then the Department of Motor Vehicles.

More Info

You can visit DenverGov.org to learn more marriage license information directly from the government.

Good luck making it official! 

How to Assign Seats for Your Wedding Reception

You’d be amazed by how many couples I've heard say creating a seating chart for their reception was one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning for them!

Do You Need Assigned Seating?

When to Skip the Seating Chart

Some couples don't bother with assigned seating. If you’re having a cocktail reception or serving a buffet dinner to less than 50 guests, you could get by without a seating chart. Think about what would make your guests comfortable. For example, my wedding reception was in a state park with a self-serve buffet, giant picnic tables, and a loose schedule. A seating chart wouldn’t have made any sense in that laid-back setting. 

When Not to Skip the Seating Chart

While it can be challenging to create a seating chart, sometimes there may be more issues if you don’t take the time to do it. If you have more than 100 guests, just the right amount of seats, or a sit-down dinner, there is likely to be some confusion if there are no assigned tables.

  • People are used to finding an assigned table when they go to a wedding reception. When there aren’t assigned tables, I’ve seen guests wander around in confusion, trying to find their escort card.
  • Valuable reception time can be wasted if families can’t find seats together and are trying to switch chairs around with other guests. (This can also be stressful and embarrassing.)
  • It will be easier for waitstaff to serve entree options if they already know where the chicken people are sitting and where the vegan people are sitting.

Assigning Seats vs. Tables

If your servers need to know exactly where each guest is sitting, you will have to take the time to assign and label every seat with a place card for each guest’s name. In most cases, it’s more than sufficient to assign just tables, and allow your guests to choose their own seats. You won’t need any labels on the table other than the table number. You’ll write each guest’s name and table number on an escort card, which guests will pick up on their way into the reception.

When Should You Start Your Seating Chart?

While assigning seats comes later in the planning process, you don't have to put it off until the last minute. Set your RSVP date 3 weeks before the wedding so that you have plenty of time to round up straggler RSVPs and assign tables. Having a final guest count sooner than later will also be helpful for your caterer and venue manager.

Table Info

Your venue will be able to tell you how many tables you can fit in their space. Don't forget, guests and servers need room to walk between tables. You’ll need about 5 feet between each table, which may sound like a lot, but it’s not once chairs are pushed out.

An even number of people should be at each table, if possible. Below is the typical number of guests that can fit at various tables, but be sure to confirm with your venue or rental provider:

Rectangle Tables:

  • 4-6 guests: 30" x 48"
  • 6-8 guests: 30" x 72"
  • 8-10 guests: 30" x 96"

Round Tables:

  • 4 guests: 36" 
  • 6 guests: 54" 
  • 8 guests: 60" 
  • 10 guests: 72" 

Head Table

There are many ways you can choose to arrange your head table. Here are a few ideas:

  • Long rectangle head table consisting of the bride, groom, and the wedding party, while the ring bearer, flower girl, and plus-ones of the wedding party sit at a regular dinner table (Consider whether the wedding party’s plus-ones would feel more comfortable sitting at a table together, or spread out at tables with other people they already know.)
  • Long rectangle head table consisting of the bride, groom, the wedding party, and their plus-ones
  • Small sweetheart table consisting of the bride and groom, while the wedding party sits at regular dinner tables (This can provide a few minutes of alone time during your busy wedding day.) 
  • Small head table consisting of the bride, groom, maid-of-honor, and best man, with or without their plus-ones
  • Small head table, consisting of the bride, groom, and their parents

How to Organize Your Table Assignments

WeddingWire does have an online seating tool, but if you’re like me, you’ll prefer to see everything right out in front of you, and be able to easily move it around with your hands. I recommend using some notebook paper and small sticky notes. This makes sorting and rearranging super quick and easy.

Step 1: Write Down All of Your Guests' Names

Look at your guest list, and jot down one guest name per sticky note.

Step 2: Organize the Guests by Relationships/Commonalities

Label one piece of notebook paper each with a different relationship to you or your fiancé. For example, one page will say, “Childhood friends of the bride,” another will say “college friends of the groom,” etc. Then, fill up those pages with guest name sticky notes. All of your dad's co-workers will be on one page, while your volleyball team is on another page. It’s helpful to see how people are connected to each other before you try to break them into tables. 

Step 3: Divide Your Guests Into Tables

Once you’ve sorted your guests into groups, you should have a good idea of common relationships and interests, and you'll be able to divide your guests into tables. Grab some more blank notebook paper and label one page each as “table 1,” “table 2,” and so on. You can start moving guests from their group papers to the table number papers, and rearrange as much as you need to.

Once you’ve finalized your arragement, you can copy the assigned table numbers onto your guest list and make your escort cards.

Tips for Deciding Where People Should Sit

What Does Tradition Say?

Traditionally, the bride and groom’s parents, grandparents, siblings (if they’re not already sitting at the head table), and the officiant would sit at a table or two together. They would sit close to the bride and groom’s table, and be served dinner right after the bride and groom. If your parents are divorced, you could talk with them about who they would enjoy sitting with, such as close relatives or friends. If possible, seat younger guests closer to the dance floor, and older folks farther from the DJ's loud speakers.

Ask for Input

Something that could help you get started is to ask some of the people you know for their seating preferences. Asking for input will especially be helpful when you’re trying to figure out how to seat your parents’ friends.

Play Match-Maker

As you group people into tables, consider their interests, careers, and phase of life. Your guests won’t all know each other, but they could have a ton of fun meeting new, interesting people. If you still have an odd-ball friend or co-worker who might feel uncomfortable alone, it would be a nice gesture to allow them to bring a plus-one, even if you haven’t given that option to all of your guests.

Avoid Tension

Try to be considerate of anybody who might feel uncomfortable sitting together. (My husband and I have now shared a table with his ex-girlfriend at two weddings, ha!)

Be Creative

There are so many creative options to consider as you group guests together. I’ll always remember how much fun I had in high school at a wedding where I was seated with all of my cousins. At first it may have seemed logical for the bride and groom to seat me with my immediate family, but I see them all the time!

Don't Stress

It might be impossible to assign everyone the ideal table, but don’t stress out. Try your best to be sensitive to your guests’ feelings, but also remember your guests will be so happy to be at your wedding, celebrating you! You can also take comfort in the fact that your guests won’t really be chatting with their table-mates for that long before they’re listening to toasts and going off mingling, dancing, and visiting the bar anyway.

Photos by Vert Photo

Sources: vistapartyrentals.com // apracticalwedding.com // theknot.com

Accommodating Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

Not only is Colorado a popular destination wedding spot, couples often meet after moving to the area and decide to get married near their new home. In either case, most of the wedding guests are not locals. If your wedding guests are traveling from out of town, there are creative ways to be an accommodating host.

Save the Dates

If most of your guests will be traveling from out-of-town, or if you're getting married over a busy holiday weekend, send out your save-the-dates about 1 year before the wedding. This will give your guests plenty of time to make travel plans for your big day. Save the dates should include your names as well as the date and location of the celebration.

Wedding Website

A wedding website like the one I made for free when I got married using TheKnot.com is a great way to share information with your guests. Your website should include a wedding weekend schedule, the locations of the reception and ceremony, suggested hotels, the names of the nearest train station and airport, public transportation information, and suggested sightseeing. For example, you could mention your favorite Denver brewery or museum. You and your fiancé may be busy every waking moment, but your guests might like to fill some down time with local attractions that are special to you.

Accommodations

Before booking your venue, consider whether it will be easily accessible from local hotels and the nearest airport. While there are many gorgeous, remote wedding spots throughout Colorado, some are harder to get to than others for out-of-towners, especially if there's a lot of snow. Consider reserving a block of rooms in a nearby hotel, so guests can easily book a room near the wedding venue.

Transportation

A wedding shuttle is my favorite way that I’ve seen Denver couples accommodate their out-of-town guests. Your guests are already paying for a flight and a hotel room; rather than your guests renting cars and trying to navigate in a new city, treat them to bus transportation. You don’t have to worry about anyone getting lost and your guests can continue partying and socializing during the ride without worrying about drinking and driving. Just have all of your guests stay in the same hotel, and they’ll be whisked off to the ceremony and reception in a bus like the one pictured below, provided by Limo Denver. It’s fun and stress-free, and shows your guests you’ve gone the extra mile to accommodate them.

Welcome Basket or Bag

You might like to treat your guests to some special goodies to help them feel at home in their hotel rooms. You could include anything from snacks and souvenirs to toiletries and a local map.

Face Time

Your wedding guests made the effort to come to your wedding so they could spend time with you, so be sure they can. Arrange a get-together prior to the rehearsal dinner such as a laid-back lunch that includes all of your out-of-town guests. During the reception, make a toast and acknowledge how touched you are by everyone who traveled to be there. Since couples often fly off to their honeymoon some time the day after their wedding, it’s growing increasingly popular to have a brunch the morning after the wedding with everyone who's still in town.

Have you thought of other creative ways to show your out-of-town guests some love? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Source: theknot.com

How to Create a Wedding Budget

No matter how much or how little money you have for your wedding, a budget will help keep you from spending more than you'd anticipated. If you track your expenses carefully, you might even come in under budget! Let this motivate you: Anything that's left over in the wedding budget can be used for a new home, car, or vacation!

Answer Some Questions

  • What is your wedding philosophy?
  • Who's paying for the wedding and how much do you/they have? (Remember, the more people there are funding the wedding, the more opinions you will need to take into consideration throughout your planning.)

Pick Your Tool

If you're a math loving technophobe, by all means, create your wedding budget with paper and pencil. For the rest of us, there's Excel, Google Sheets, or a wedding planning website such as Wedding Wire or The Knot.

  • Excel Document:

While Excel is a powerful spreadsheet tool, it is difficult to share updated versions with your fiancé, parents, or other wedding money decision makers because your spreadsheet is saved onto your computer's hard drive.

  • The Knot or Wedding Wire:

TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com both have free budgeting tools. This a great option if you're feeling overwhelmed because you don't know where to start. There are suggested fields for you to fill in under headings such as "Reception," and "Ceremony." This means you don't have to come up with much from scratch.

You can just skip the fields that aren't applicable to you. The downside is that it's not easy to share with others, although it is printable. I didn't end up using this tool, but the suggested fields did guide the creation of my budget.

  • Google Sheets:

The advantage of Google Sheets is that you can easily share them with others. If you have a Gmail account, you can create a Google Sheet for free. You can adjust the settings so the people you share it with can view the sheet or view and edit it.

Create Your Budget Document

Your budget needs three columns. "Items," "Projected Cost," and "Actual Cost". Don't forget to use a sum formula at the bottom of your Projected Cost and Actual Cost columns which will total up each amount for you.

Recognize the Difference Between Negotiables and Non-Negotiables

Using your wedding philosophy, you and your fiancé can decide what is important enough to you to splurge on, and what would be okay to cut in order to save money. For every couple, these things will be different.

For example, as ridiculous as it may sound, one of the few dreams I had for my wedding was to have an inflatable bounce house at my reception! I didn't care what it would cost; I had to have it. My parents really wanted to serve coffee at the reception, but I felt coffee had nothing to do with my wedding philosophy, and it just wasn't a priority to me like the bounce house.

Needless to say, our wedding guests jumped around in a bounce house, caffeine-free. Your list of. It is totally possible for you to stay within budget and go all out on some things, as long as you're willing to save on details that aren't as important to you. Your list of negotiables vs. non-negotiables will allow your budget to focus on what you can buy, instead of what you can't.

Research

Browse our Local Venues & Vendors Directory, make phone calls, and search the Internet to get estimates for the items you envision for your wedding, and enter the prices into your budget under Projected Cost. Start with big ticket items such as venue, catering, and photography or any extremely important non-negotiables.

Then, move onto smaller, negotiable details like your rhinestone "BRIDE" bathrobe. Leave wiggle room for unexpected expenses because they will pop up! (It's going to be 30 degrees hotter on our wedding day than we expected!? We better buy more water bottles!)

Once you've seen your projected expenditures, you and your fiancé may need to discuss tweaking some things in order to stay within your budget. 

Record Your Purchases

As you make purchases and book vendors, carefully keep a record in the Actual Cost column of your budget. It is much easier to enter prices into the budget immediately after each purchase than it is to try to remember them accurately later. Don't forget, you might have to cut some of those negotiable items. ("GROOM" boxer briefs??)

Stay True to Your Wedding Philosophy

Creating the budget isn't the hard part; sticking to your budget is the hard part. When disagreements arise about how to spend the budget (and they will arise) check to see if the expenditures in question align with your wedding philosophy to keep decision making simple.

What are some negotiable expenditures you're going to cut in order to stay within your budget? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Photography by Jon Stars

The One Thing You Need to do Before You Start Wedding Planning

Before you begin wedding planning, there’s one thing you need to do with your fiancé:

Create a wedding philosophy.

Before you pick out napkin colors, ask yourselves these questions:

1. What is the purpose of our wedding?
2. Who is our wedding for?
3. How do we want to feel at our wedding?
4. How do we want our guests to feel at our wedding?
5. What are our values and priorities?
6. What is our budget?

Framework for Tough Decisions

Your philosophy might be, “We want to honor our culture's traditions and our guests.” Then, when tough decisions come up like, “Should we spend an extra few hundred dollars to buy an arch to stand under during the ceremony?” you can look and see if it aligns with your philosophy. Is the arch an important part of your culture? Is it an important family tradition? Will your guests feel more honored seeing the arch? If the answer to these questions is "no," your decision has been made for you.

Stick to Your Philosophy

As you plan your wedding, you can continually ask yourselves, “What details will help us meet our wedding goals?” You will have to make so many difficult decisions about what to spend the budget on, so having some kind of framework to work within can really relieve stress and simplify the process. Your wedding philosophy will help you determine what's worth it to you to splurge on, and what's okay to save on, ultimately helping you stay within budget.

Inspire others by sharing your wedding philosophy in the comments below!

Photography by Jon Stars.

Source: 2000dollarwedding.com