There are 5 kinds of marriage records we need to be on the lookout for in our research process:
1. Consent to marry affidavits.
This is where a bride or groom that is underage has a parent or guardian give their consent for them to legally marry.
2. A marriage bond
This is usually signed by the groom or the father/brother of the bride before the wedding as a way to offset any legal expenses if the marriage doesn't take place (sort of reminds you of present-day pre-nuptial agreements doesn't it?)
This involves the bride and groom registering their intentions to marry at the courthouse prior to the wedding
4. Marriage License applications, marriage licenses/certificates and returns.
These are the common documents that we encounter most of the time. The happy couple completes a marriage application that's on file at the county clerk's office. A marriage license/certificate is issued once the license is signed by the officiator and returned to the county after the wedding event.
These are logs that record all the weddings that take place in that county. They are usually indexed by the first letter of the groom's surname, but there are registers that include indices with both the bride's and groom's surnames.