A marriage certificate is an official document that certifies that a wedding took place and that a couple is, indeed, married.
The process of issuing a marriage license begins following the wedding ceremony: the officiant completes a form associated with the marriage license and sends it to the county or state.
A certified copy of a marriage license may be requested from the state once the marriage has been recorded.
It’s not uncommon to hear the term ‘marriage license’ and ‘marriage certificate’ used interchangeably when in fact each term describes a different document. (A marriage license is required before a couple can be married).