Today, Renée and I headed to downtown Charlottesville. We had one huge question along the way: Charlottesville or Albemarle?
In Virginia, it doesn’t matter where you get your marriage license as long as you get married within the borders of the commonwealth and do it within 90 days of asking for one. It only really matters years and years down the road if a descendant wants to look up family history through court records. If you get your license in a county in which you never lived, your great-great whatever might not think to look there. We figured that, although we live in the independent city of Charlottesville, the ceremony is in Albemarle County; we both work in Albemarle County; and technology would be able to simplify things if and when someone wants to look up great-great grandma and great-great grandpa’s marriage license. We then headed to the Albemarle County Clerks’ Offices.
Or, rather, the Albemarle County Clerks Office.
The General District and Circuit Clerks’ offices are in the same wing of the building so we’re missing an apostrophe and an s here.
You could look at this several ways but, at the end of it, there needs to be an apostrophe at least.
But I digress.
When we got there, we learned that not all clerk’s offices accept credit or debit cards. We don’t carry cash regularly. I used to, but it’s more convenient to swipe and it has stemmed the tide of pennies in my possession (which reminds me to buy some rollers). Luckily, the courthouse is two blocks from the Downtown Mall. We hoofed it over in CVS the near-unseasonable heat to get cash back from a debit transaction, because her bank isn’t nearby and mine doesn’t have an ATM within walking distance of downtown, then tried again.
We were directed to a pink room that had a stack of preliminary marriage license forms in one basket and one for new or non-Virginian officiants to apply to perform marriages in Virginia. I guess that is for real-deal officiants. For Katy’s wedding, I just had to petition a judge, fill out a form and then I got a court order that is now framed in my living room.
The marriage license process was surprisingly simple. We had two copies for Drew to sign on June 22 in our hands within minutes. They also threw in an explainer for brides-to-be about how to get their names changed. I couldn’t explain it to Renée properly because the process to do it outside of marriage is different. We’d need our own copy of the license to set that process in motion.
Although we got an oversized unofficial certificate to be filled out on the day, why wouldn’t you want your own copy? I think they should give you one and, if printing it out is that big of a deal, just fold it into the price of the license. My mom has hers and my grandma’s, along with some other documents in a waterproof, fireproof box. I guess it’s time for me to start my own. It makes sense, especially since I have some other important documents careless tossed in boxes that are nominally water-resistant and definitely not fireproof.
We’re coming into the home stretch. This is about to be real. It’s exciting.
What’s also exciting is that it’s almost time for me to cut my beard of majesty and wonder into an equally majestic beard.