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Marriage License

Erica with marriage license

On a Saturday morning, downtown Chicago is very quiet and still, but there's a small buzz of activity around the Randolph Street entrance of the Cook County Building. From 9 am until noon the Vital Records Division is open for marriage license applicants only, and Marriage Court is also open for people who are actually getting married.

To get married in Illinois, you have to get a marriage license ahead of time (a minimum of a day in advance, a maximum of 60 days). You both have to show up with ID and it's $30 cash.

Just inside the door, there were 3 different photographers offering their services to newlyweds with digital cameras and portable photo printers. One of them even had a backdrop set up. Downstairs in the Vital Records office, everything was cheerful and efficient. I think this was the best time I've ever had in a government office.