Case Study

The Digital Leap: How York County, PA Is Delivering a Modern Marriage Licensing Experience

County's commitment to the community brings together innovation, access, and convenience.


York County, Pennsylvania’s affordable cost of living coupled with its proximity to major metropolitan areas like Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia make it an appealing place to live and work. While deeply rooted in its agricultural traditions and committed to land preservation, the County has also embraced revitalization efforts and new lifestyle options that appeal to younger generations.

When it comes to government services, Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court—and York County native—Bryan Tate recognizes the importance of continually improving services to meet the evolving needs of residents and businesses. This involves modernizing processes, leveraging technology solutions, and prioritizing increased access and convenience for county residents and businesses.

The County’s ongoing efforts demonstrate a commitment to serving a diverse and growing population. In recent years, Tate’s office has adopted new online processes, including a virtual probate service and remote marriage licensing. The success of these programs is evident in the nearly 100% online participation as well as the steady increase in the overall number of applications.

York County, PA
“The folks you serve should always be at the forefront of what you do and the services you provide. We’re always thinking about how we can improve the experience for them. Our office is continually working toward making the experience better, more efficient, and less costly for constituents.”


Bryan Tate
Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court

County of York, PA Seal

GovOS Suite

Public Records



Agency Type




Customer Results

99%+ marriage licenses issued using the online service

increase in marriage licenses

<30 minutes
to complete the marriage licensing process

The Need

Although the County had already implemented a paperless marriage license before Tate was elected, couples were still required to appear in person to complete the process. For many, this meant taking time off work, finding and paying for downtown parking, and then coming to the office to meet with staff.

“Couples would often get to the front door of the building before realizing they’re not allowed to bring a mobile phone inside. They would have to take their phone back to their vehicle, come through security, and then make their way to my office—all for a brief 15-to-30-minute meeting.”

The Solution

Recognizing the inefficiencies inherent in a process that’s only partially online—and committed to minimizing service disruptions during the pandemic—Tate’s office launched remote marriage licensing in 2020. With the GovOS Remote Marriage solution, applications were filed electronically, and appointments could be held by video conference—no more mandatory visits to the office.

“This was a brand new way of doing things and we quickly learned it allowed people to complete the process more easily and efficiently. York County is large graphically, so people had been required to drive to the city to do business with us. Couples would no longer need to take a whole day off work to get their marriage license.”

After applying online, couples would receive an email to schedule the virtual interview before being granted their marriage license. The office also began offering evening appointments once a week with plans to institute Saturday hours to make it as easy as possible for couples.

Tate’s office launched another service that has also been well-received by the community: GovOS eProbate. This virtual process streamlined the multi-step process for petitioners filing paperwork. Tate attributes the success of both services to his team. “Staff was on board and helped make it happen. They rose to the challenge and have done an amazing job learning, adopting, and making these programs successful. When I hear staff tell folks how easy GovOS is, I know they’re saying it because it makes their job easier.”

York County, PA
“Pursuing technological advances should always be about your constituents. Any recognition or accolades you get are icing on the cake and everyone on the team who played a role deserves credit for helping make it happen.”


Bryan Tate
Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court

The Results

Today, nearly all couples who apply for a marriage license in York County use the online service. Tate credits the increase in applications to a more efficient and seamless process. “How much easier could it be? I think it’s wonderful we’re able to deliver this service in the way we are today. We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. We save tax dollars for the County and folks getting married have told us they love the virtual process.”

Tate’s office went on to create a digital marriage license that is emailed to applicants following the video conference. The digital license, which replaces the traditional printed cardstock certificate, has since been adopted by other Pennsylvania counties.

By moving to virtual processes, constituents can apply when it suits them and are not restricted to in-person meetings that only take place on weekdays during set business hours. “People have busy lives, so we offer these services to make it easier for them. Getting your marriage license, adopting children—these are incredible experiences. But the steps it takes to get there are sometimes a pain.”

New Enhancements Coming to York County

The County will launch eFiling to enable professional advisors and their staff to submit petitions and other documents electronically. “We want the best, most seamless process for our community and that’s what we have been working toward with the upcoming launch. We know eFiling will be well-received in York County and it will allow staff to be even more efficient so we can continue to rise to the challenges ahead of us.”

The County is also working with GovOS to convert all electronic files to PDF/A for permanent archives. “Like paper, microfilm takes up space and can degrade over time. Utilizing cloud technology makes so much more sense.” With Tate’s office working to ensure all documents are scanned, uploaded to the GovOS Records system, and backed up by PDF/A, they will no longer need to store paper copies of most documents.

York County, PA
“GovOS helped us implement the systems we needed to get with the times. When you look at different institutions—banking, real estate, and many others—they have used electronic methods for years, so it's only right we step up and follow suit.”


Bryan Tate
Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court

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