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Delaware Wedding Laws

Although it is one of the smallest states in the country, Delaware can be an idyllic location for a wedding. With 28 miles of beautiful coastline, charming coastal towns, and stunning waterfront views, wedding couples can easily find the perfect ceremony backdrop. This guide provides everything you need to know about getting married in the state of Delaware, including the unique requirements that must be followed by the couple as well as the ceremony officiant.

Getting Married in Delaware

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
2
Min. Age of Witnesses:
18 Years
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

In order for a couple to legally wed, Delaware mandates that at least five people attend the wedding in person. The required attendees include the officiant, the couple planning to wed, and two witnesses.

The minimum age for all five attendees is 18 years of age. While the couple and the minister are asked for proof of age during the registration process, each witness should be prepared to show an official ID and complete the necessary paperwork after the ceremony has concluded.

During the ceremony, state law requires that both members of the couple verbally consent to be wed. Additionally, the officiant must pronounce the couple as married before concluding the proceedings. Other than these two specifications, Delaware grants couples the flexibility to customize their wedding proceedings as they see fit.

Delaware Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

The minimum age requirement for people wanting to tie the knot in Delaware is firmly set at 18 years of age. While many other states are willing to make an exception under certain circumstances, this is not the case in Delaware. If you are younger than 18 years old, you will not be allowed to marry.

Delaware is more flexible when it comes to residency and marriage equality. In addition to allowing couples from other U.S. states and foreign countries to marry there, the state of Delaware also recognizes and welcomes same-sex couples.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Delaware

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Credentials of Ministry
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
Yes

If you plan to officiate a wedding ceremony in Delaware, the law requires you to register with the state, and in turn, become part of a statewide public database. Ministers who permanently reside in Delaware should register in their county of legal residence, but out-of-state officiants are asked to register in the same county as the planned wedding ceremony.

While there are no restrictions regarding the minister's faith or gender, there is a minimum age requirement. Delaware only allows individuals who are at least 18 years old to officiate the marriage proceedings.

During the registration process, the prospective officiant must provide proof of ordination. Universal Life Church credentials safely satisfy this requirement. You should also check with the pertinent county office to ask if any other documentation is needed. Because requirements can vary by county, officiating ministers often choose ULC's Classic Wedding Package to ensure they are covered.

Once the registration process is complete, the office will issue a ministerial ID number that authorizes the applicant to officially perform marriage ceremonies in the state of Delaware. You should keep this number on hand because it will be needed on the marriage license to ensure a legally binding marriage.

Applying For a Marriage License in Delaware

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
1 Day
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 4 Days of Ceremony

When applying with the Clerk of the Peace, the couple should specifically request a license for a religious ceremony rather than one intended for a civil ceremony. A civil ceremony license is only appropriate for secular proceedings in which judges, civil servants, and government notaries plan to perform the wedding ceremony.

Conversely, a religious ceremony license is needed when the ceremony officiant is an ordained minister, and because the Universal Life Church grants authority based on church ordination, this category of license is the appropriate choice. This is true whether or not the couple plans to express their faith or include religious customs during the ceremony.

Once the couple receives their marriage license, they must wait at least 24 hours before getting married. The license remains valid for a total of 30 days, but once the ceremony has taken place, there is a 4-day window for filing the completed license with the Clerk of the Peace.

How to Get a Delaware Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Delaware
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$70 for Residents and $120 for Non-Residents
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

To obtain a wedding license, couples can appear before any Clerk of the Peace in the state of Delaware. The issuing office does not need to be in the same county as the planned wedding ceremony.

Both members of the couple must present official photo identification that establishes each applicant's identity and age. If either party was previously married, a certified copy of the divorce decree must also be presented.

Additionally, applicants must pay a license fee of $70 if they are Delaware residents and $120 if they are not. Like most other states, blood tests are not required from the marrying couple.

Finalizing the Union

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

The close of the ceremony marks the beginning of the happy couple's new life together. However, in order to ensure that the marriage is legally recognized, there are a couple of items that still need to be completed.

First, the officiant must ensure that both members of the couple, as well as the two witnesses, complete and sign their respective sections of the marriage license. Next, the minister should complete the section of the license designated for the officiant, providing information such as full legal name, title, and ministerial ID number.

Finally, the law mandates that the license be returned to the issuing office within four days of the ceremony. Because the turnaround time is so short, the officiant must pay careful attention to ensure that the license is properly filed within the legal timeframe.

The Universal Life Church also recommends that the minister maintain a complete record of the wedding process, including details about the registration, the ceremony, and the timely filing of the marriage license. This is especially important when payment for services has been made.