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State Marriage Laws

Every state has its own specific laws regarding weddings, and the process in one state may not be exactly the same in a neighboring state. Whether you’re getting married or planning to officiate, knowing the proper legal requirements to follow is paramount to success.

It’s no secret that the legalese of state marriage code is often a difficult read. We’ve done the hard work for you in this case, creating a marriage laws guide that lays out the specific legal requirements for both the couple and the wedding officiant in easy to understand language.

Simply select your state on the map dropdown below to check out what specifically is legally required to officiate a wedding in your area!

Marriage Laws in California

Or click another wedding location on the interactive map in the dropdown below!

Breaking Down the Marriage License

From coast to coast, there is one requirement that never changes: the marriage license. The marriage license is the legal document that is submitted to a government office – usually a county clerk’s office – that records the official union.

This can be a dense document with complicated language and many different fields to fill out. In case you run into any issues with this task, we’ve prepared a specific guide on filling out the marriage license to help you complete it properly!

PLEASE NOTE: While most marriage licenses are valid for 30-90 days, laws governing that time period change county to county. It is important that you talk with the couple, ensure that they obtain the marriage license within the proper time frame and that it gets returned to the issuing office before it expires.

Making Sure the Union is Legal

Doing your homework before officiating a wedding is vital. If you aren’t 100% sure about a detail or requirement, we recommend that you contact the office issuing the marriage license directly to learn exactly what needs to happen.

We’ve compiled the contact details for the appropriate offices (along with detailed steps for officiating a wedding) in our guide for performing weddings. Remember that if the couple is traveling out of their home area for the ceremony, you’ll need to contact the local office in the county where the wedding is taking place and follow that jurisdiction’s process.

All you’ll need to tell them is that you’re a minister planning on performing a wedding, and ask what specific documentation they might need to see from you. Whether you’re asked to present an ordination certificate, a letter of good standing, or additional documents – anything you need can be found here in our ministry supplies store.