Planning Basics

Marriage Laws by State

By Jacqueline Tynes, March 28, 2019
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Jacqueline Tynes
Marriage Laws by State
Lovely Valentine Photo Film

Our marriage law guide breaks down each state’s laws for engaged couples such as age requirement, license expiration time, state residency and more.

It's important that you and your partner looking into your state's marriage laws and obtain a license well before the big day. Each state has certain laws in place that must be followed in order for couples to get properly married. This will ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day and no major hiccups occur. This is especially important if you and your spouse are planning on changing your last name post-wedding. So, are you trying to find the marriage laws for your state and need some help? We've got you covered! We’ve gathered all of the marriage law information you need to make your life easier. From the proper photo identification that's needed to how many witnesses need to present, we cover it all. 

Check out these marriage laws by state to ensure that all the necessary requirements are taken care well before the big day.

Jennifer Woodbery Photography

Alabama

Whether you’re getting married in Birmingham or in a more rural part of the state, there’s so much to love about Alabama weddings. In terms of legally marrying in Alabama, it’s pretty simple—there’s no waiting period, but marriage licenses are only valid for 30 days.

Relic Photographic

Alaska

Alaska is among the most scenic states in the country to host a magical wedding—and it's ideal for destination weddings as you don’t have to be a state resident to receive an Alaska marriage license. However, if you’re hosting an Alaska destination wedding, you do need to arrive a few days early as there is a three-day waiting period between receiving your marriage license and when you can actually wed.

Love My Life Photography

Arizona

Hosting an Arizona wedding with the incredible desert scenery as your backdrop? It’s a relatively easy state to marry in, with no waiting period between receiving your marriage license and the wedding, and marriage licenses are valid for 12 months. And if you’re on a budget, weddings in Arizona average at around $23,000, well below the nearly $30,000 national average.

Kamra Fuller Photography

Arkansas

From Little Rock to Fayetteville, Fort Smith to Jonesboro, there are lots of places to marry in The Natural State. And because there’s no waiting period (for couples over 18) and marriage licenses are valid for 60 days, it’s pretty easy to plan an Arkansas wedding.

Holly D Photography

California

Whether you’re hosting a vineyard wedding in Napa Valley or Santa Barbara or a laid-back, boho beach wedding in the San Diego or LA area, there are so many incredible locations to choose from when planning a California wedding. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the major cities in California, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, are among the priciest places in the country to host a wedding, but more rural spots in the state can be more affordable.

Elevate Photography

Colorado

The stunning mountain scenery of Colorado makes it a unique and extra-special place to host a wedding. Colorado weddings average about $28,000, coming in a bit below the national average. And as a state that’s growing in popularity as a destination wedding locale, you don’t have to be a resident of the state to receive a marriage license for your Colorado wedding.

ITZE Photography

Connecticut

If you’re looking for convenience and charm, then a Connecticut wedding may be right for you. From rustic barns to classic ballrooms and waterfront event spaces, this New England state has lots of scenic and unique venues to choose from.

ARWhite Photography

Delaware

Delaware may be the second-smallest state in the U.S., but it looms large when it comes to incredible weddings. The proximity to the beaches of Rehoboth and Dewey, as well as the major cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, make Delaware weddings truly special.

Amanda Hedgepeth Photography

District of Columbia

Our nation’s capital is a great place to get married—and it’s not just because of the incredible photo ops among the monuments! Those hosting a Washington, D.C. wedding can take advantage of some helpful marriage license laws—there’s no waiting period between receiving your license and when you can actually wed, and D.C. marriage licenses do not expire.

Michelle Lawson Photography

Florida

Florida is a popular spot for a destination wedding, whether you’re opting for Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, the Keys, Tampa, or elsewhere in the Sunshine State. When it comes to marriage laws, Florida makes it easy for non-Florida residents to wed. While there’s a three-day waiting period on marriage licenses for Florida residents who have no taken a premarital course, that waiting period is waived for non-residents.

Georgia

Whether you’re looking for a rustic barn venue, a unique urban space, a sprawling estate, or a relaxed beach, Georgia weddings have it all! From Savannah to Atlanta and beyond, locals and out-of-towners alike will find lots to do in the Peach State.

Rodrigo Moraes Photography

Hawaii

Hawaii weddings are all about embracing the aloha spirit, and many couples from the mainland head to the islands for a unique and laid-back destination wedding experience. No matter which Hawaiian island you pick, there is no waiting period for marriage licenses, though licenses are only valid for 30 days.

Nicole Aston Photography

Idaho

Couples looking to embrace nature and beautiful scenery on their big day might want to consider an Idaho wedding. This uncrowded state allows for peace and serenity for couples looking for a true wedding escape.

Leah Moyers Photography

Illinois

If you’re looking for a Midwestern vibe for your big day, there’s no place like Illinois! From the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the more rural areas of the state, there’s so much to love about hosting a wedding in Illinois.

Vow and Forever

Indiana

With no waiting period and a 60-day expiration period, it’s easy to legally wed in Indiana, whether you’re a local or from out of town. However, if you’re from out of town, be aware that you must apply for a marriage license in the town when your wedding is taking place.

Giraffe Photography

Iowa

Iowa weddings are ideal for couples who want a more pastoral setting for their special day, though cities like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids offer more urban venues. Note that there is a three business day waiting period for marriage licenses, so don’t delay in applying for one if you’re hosting an Iowa wedding!

Katy Elaine Photography

Kansas

Kansas weddings truly embody the Midwestern spirit. Whether a barn wedding or a grand estate is more your style, you’ll find a lovely setting for your big day in the Sunflower State.

Candid Brides

Kentucky

From Lexington to Louisville and everywhere in between, the Bluegrass State is a favorite for couples looking for a relaxed Southern vibe on their big day. Kentucky weddings are known for its beautiful natural scenery, so couples can enjoy some truly spectacular photo backdrops here!

Love is Rad

Louisiana

Let the good times roll! In Louisiana, weddings are all about celebrating the Mardi Gras spirit, whether you’re marrying in New Orleans or not. Louisiana weddings have customs all their own, from second lines to king cakes, and more!

Nadra Photography

Maine

Whether you’re dreaming of a rustic barn wedding or a nautical seaside event, Maine has it all! It’s a popular spot for New England destination weddings, especially in the late summer and early fall.

Petruzzo Photography

Maryland

From Baltimore to the Washington, DC suburbs, Maryland offers a wide variety of settings for your big day. Know however, that Maryland weddings are among the most expensive in the country, as the average cost for a Baltimore-area wedding is $35,000 and in the DC area, it’s even higher at $39,000.

Couple Kissing Portrait
shoreshotz photography

Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers a wide range of options for weddings. Couples dreaming of a nautical or beachy wedding might opt for a Cape Cod event, while those looking for a city-chic vibe would enjoy hosting a Boston wedding. And for couples hoping for a more rustic or rural event, the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts offers some truly spectacular scenery.

Weddings by Adrienne & Amber

Michigan

From the Detroit to the Great Lakes, Michigan features numerous settings for your big day. If you’re getting married in Michigan, be aware that residents must file their marriage license application in the county where they reside and non-residents need to file in the county where they’re marrying. There’s also a three-day waiting period between applying for a marriage licenses and its issuing, and the marriage license is only valid for 33 days.

Brovado Weddings

Minnesota

If you’re looking for an affordable city to marry in, you might take a gander at the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where the average cost of a wedding is $23,000, well under the nearly $30,000 national average. While winters may be harsh in Minnesota, there are lots of lovely venues for events in all seasons.

b.flint photography

Mississippi

One of Mississippi’s nicknames is the Hospitality State, and that friendly Southern charm will make your wedding weekend one to remember. When applying for a marriage license in Mississippi, know that there’s no waiting period nor an expiration date, making marrying in Mississippi a breeze.  

epaga FOTO

Missouri

The famed Gateway Arch welcomes visitors to St. Louis, and this same welcoming spirit shines through that every Missouri wedding. Whether you’re planning a city-chic Kansas City or St. Louis event or a more rustic affair in the more rural areas of the state, you and your guests are sure to have an incredible time in the Show-Me State.

Marianne Wiest Photography

Montana

Couples who want serenity and abundant natural beauty on their big day should plan a Montana wedding. The gorgeous mountains and lakes make this a favorite escape for celebrities from Justin Timberlake to the Kardashians, but it’s also a scenic spot for weddings.

Andrea Bibeault

Nebraska

Folks from the Cornhusker State have numerous options to choose from when it comes to wedding venues. From the more modern spaces in Omaha to more rustic barn venues in the rural areas, you’ll find lots of places to marry in Nebraska.   

KMH Photography

Nevada

Couples looking for a quickie casino wedding might head to Las Vegas, but there’s a lot more to Nevada weddings than just the bright lights of Sin City. From Lake Tahoe to the unique deserts, you’ll be wowed at the myriad options in Nevada. Another plus: There’s no waiting period for marriage licenses, which are valid for one year after the issue date.

Melissa Koren Photography

New Hampshire

With its Atlantic coastline, stunning mountains, and more, New Hampshire offers some truly stunning scenery for couples hosting a New England wedding. Here, you’ll find ski resorts, lush gardens, seaside spaces, and more, all ready to host your New Hampshire wedding.

Ray Addas Photography

New Jersey

While New Jersey is often favored for its close proximity to NYC and Philadelphia, the Garden State is a wedding destination all its own. If you’re getting married in New Jersey, you’ll be delighted at the variety of venues, from barns to gardens, banquet halls to hotels, beachside event spaces to grand historic mansions, and more.

Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography

New Mexico

New Mexico weddings have a style all their own, embracing the mix of Mexican and American cultures to create a unique experience your guests will never forget. When marrying in New Mexico, be aware that though your marriage license will never expire, it must be returned within 90 days after your ceremony.

Rebecca Yale Photography

New York

Yes, we all know that New York City weddings are expensive—like $50,000 expensive, on average. However, New York is a big state, and there’s lots more to it than just the Big Apple. From Long Island to Upstate New York, you’ll find a variety of venues at a variety of price points throughout the Empire State.

Story & Rhythm

North Carolina

From cities like Charlotte and Raleigh to the more mountainous and rural settings near quirky Asheville, you’re sure to find your dream wedding venue in North Carolina. North Carolina weddings feature abundant Southern charm, and are truly a photographer’s dream.

Glasser Images

North Dakota

Yes, North Dakota is one of the least populous states in the U.S., but that makes it an even more ideal setting for couples looking for beautiful scenery and a not-crowded setting for their big day. Know that if you’re marrying in North Dakota, there’s no waiting period for receiving your marriage license, and it’s valid for just 30 days.   

Lightbloom Photography

Ohio

From Cleveland to Cincinnati and beyond, there’s so much to love about getting married in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a rich history, which shines through in its many unique wedding venues. Ohio is also one of the most affordable places in the country to host a wedding, as the average cost of a Cleveland wedding is $22,000, well under the $30,000 national average.

The Decisive Moment Wedding Photojournalism

Oklahoma

The Sooner State is an ideal location for a wedding, whether it’s rustic, classic, or modern. If you’re planning an Oklahoma wedding, you’ll be wowed by the variety of venue options, including industrial spaces, hotels, barns, gardens, and more.

Patrick Nied Photography

Oregon

When it comes to incredible scenery, there’s nothing quite like the Pacific Northwest. So it should come as no surprise that couples are clamoring to host their wedding in Oregon. Whether you’re planning a Portland wedding or a more nature-inspired event in the surrounding area, you and your guests will be blown away by Oregon’s beauty.  

Joe Appel Photography

Pennsylvania

From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Lancaster County to the Poconos, you’ll be wowed by the variety of locations for a wedding in Pennsylvania. Whether you’re from the state or hosting a destination wedding here, you’ll want to know that there is a three-day waiting period between applying and receiving your marriage license, plus the license is valid for 60 days once it’s been issued.

Devon McWilliams Photography

Rhode Island

Yes, Rhode Island is the smallest state by land area in the U.S., but when it comes to incredible seaside wedding venues, it’s one of the best! You’ll be wowed by all of the New England scenery and charm if you’re hosting a Rhode Island wedding.

Riverland Studios

South Carolina

Many couples choose to host their destination weddings in South Carolina—and for good reason! Whether you’re planning a plantation wedding in Charleston, a beachy event on Kiawah Island or in Myrtle Beach, or a wedding elsewhere, you’re sure to find abundant Southern charm (and amazing food, natch!) here. If you’re planning a destination wedding in South Carolina, know that there’s a 24-hour waiting period between applying for and picking up your marriage license.

Cadey Reisner Weddings

South Dakota

Couples dreaming of a rural wedding with a woodsy, natural feel will feel right at home at a South Dakota wedding. Be aware, however, that while there’s no waiting period to receive your marriage license, the license is only valid for 20 days after it’s issued.

Black & Hue Photography

Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee has been a trending wedding destination for a while now, but really the whole Volunteer State is ideal for weddings of all styles. Yes, you can host a Nashville wedding that’s sophisticated and modern, but there are also mansions, gardens, barns, and other venues to choose from.

CivicPhotos

Texas

The Lonestar State is one of the largest in the U.S., meaning there are lots and lots of venues to choose from, whether you’re marrying in Hill Country, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso. or elsewhere. If you’re hosting a Texas wedding, know that wedding costs vary depending on where you’re marrying in the state. For example, the average cost of a Houston wedding is higher than average, at $33,000, while weddings in Dallas average at around $30,000.  

Nicole Evertsen Photography

Utah

From Salt Lake City to the ski resorts around the state, there’s so much to love about Utah weddings. While there’s no waiting period between receiving your marriage license and when you can marry, marriage licenses are valid for just 30 days here.

Dreamlove Wedding Photography

Vermont

Vermont is one of the smallest states by population in the U.S., but with the gorgeous Green Mountains, it’s also one of the most beautiful. Couples flock to the Green Mountain State, especially in the warmer months, to host Vermont weddings with some truly spectacular backdrops in the country.

Hopkins Studios

Virginia

While California’s Napa Valley is the hub of wine production in the U.S., Virginia is becoming an East Coast hotspot for vineyards and wineries, making it a destination for some truly romantic weddings in the Charlottesville area. Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Hampton Roads are also popular places to wed in Virginia.  

Patrick Nied Photography

Washington

Not only is Seattle home to some of the coolest wedding venues in the country, it’s also one of the more affordable places to marry, with an average wedding cost of $25,000. Whether you’re hosting a Seattle wedding or an event elsewhere in Washington State, your guests are sure to be grateful for bringing them to the amazing Pacific Northwest.  

Brooke Danielle Photography

West Virginia

The mountainous state of West Virginia is ideal for couples looking for incredible backdrops for wedding photos, along with more rural settings to host their big day. West Virginia weddings can be held at a variety of venues from country clubs to resorts, farms, historic estates, and more.

Rockhill Studio

Wisconsin

The Badger State is full of that Midwestern charm, and offers numerous venues to choose from, whether you’re marrying in Milwaukee, Madison, or elsewhere. If you’re hosting a Wisconsin wedding, note that this state has a five day waiting period between when you receive your license and when you can actually marry. Plus, your marriage license is valid for just 30 days.

Kyle Loves Tori Photography

Wyoming

Wyoming has the smallest population of any state in the U.S., but with popular vacation spots like Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park, you’re sure to find some truly amazing and serene wedding venues here.

 

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