Marriage records are public records. As such, anyone has the right to access and view anybody's marriage records as long as procedures are followed. Public Marriage Records are readily available at their responsible government agency so there's no reason now for people to be in the dark about their partner's marital history.
Public Marriage Records fall under state jurisdiction. They are one of the vital public records along with Divorce, Birth and Death. Most states now have a central repository where official records and documents are archived. Marriage Records can be classified as Confidential in special cases but the bulk of them fall under public category. The standard information found in public marriage records typically include personal particulars of the couple, their parents', witnesses' and also the name of the officiant of the marriage ceremony. Some related records may also appear alongside the marriage records such as Divorce and Birth Records.
Although public marriage records have existed for a long time, it wasn't until the advent of computerization and internet that they caught on. It is easy and convenient to access and retrieve public marriage records these days. What used to be a long and tedious process involving lawyers and investigators is now a breeze and mostly conducted in do-it-yourself (DIY) fashion too. Both the cost and time involved in gathering these records is down to only a fraction of what it used to take in the old days.
The two basic versions of public marriage records are the free-of-charge (FOC) and the fee-based records. FOC records tend to be raw and scattered. As such, they often require further work subsequent to the retrieval to be of any use. Fee-based public marriage records are recommended when the search is more purposeful, especially if they are to be produced for formal use. Competition in this industry is keen so prices are regulated to very reasonable levels in tandem. Unless you are the type who actually enjoys the grunt work of assembling reports from scratch public sources, a little financial outlay can go a long way for you if you look in the right places.