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Florida Wedding Laws

Offering some of America’s most beautiful and popular beaches, it is easy to see why so many couples opt to marry in Florida. Though it can be enticing, it is important for couples to understand that Florida has specific regulations when it comes to getting married within the state. Whether you’re an officiant who will be performing a wedding or a couple looking to cover all your bases before the big day, there are some major points to understand on a legal front. Take a moment to review this guide by the Universal Life Church and learn what you need to know about weddings in the Sunshine State.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Florida

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

To officiate a wedding in the state of Florida, the minister must be able to prove that he or she is at least 18 years of age. This is the only major restriction placed on officiants. However, the minister might need to produce information proving that he or she is actually allowed to solemnize weddings. The clerk wants to be sure that the minister has been given his or her status by a larger institution in an official capacity. Members of the Universal Life Church might wish to review the Classic Wedding Package for this purpose. The package contains all paperwork that a clerk might require of you, allowing you to rest easy knowing all of your bases are covered.

Getting Married in Florida

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

There are no major restrictions when it comes to how a couple arranges a wedding ceremony. This allows the couple to plan as they see fit and include whatever rituals and traditions are most meaningful to them. The state of Florida does require both members of the couple to be physically present for the ceremony itself. Additionally, weddings by proxy are not allowed and the officiant must also be physically present for the ceremony. No witnesses are required, allowing the couple to have as small of a service as they’d prefer.

The one major point the couple must absolutely hit during the ceremony is a declaration of consent. Traditionally, this occurs when the couple states “I do” before the officiant. Be sure to make a clear declaration of consent if your event is following a non-traditional script. Without this element of the wedding, it will not be considered legally binding in the state of Florida.

How to Get a Florida Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Florida
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Varies by County
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

To apply for a marriage license in Florida, both members of the couple must present themselves physically before the county clerk’s office. The application requires the couple to bring along documentation proving their identities, including a photo ID. Currently, the application fee for a marriage license is $61. State law requires couples to wait three days after a license has been issued before conducting the wedding. However, this waiting period can be waived in the event that the couple has successfully completed Florida’s premarital preparation course.

For couples who have been in marriages previously, it is not required to bring forth any paperwork proving that these unions have been legally ended. Similarly, there is no need to produce blood test information to prove the marrying individuals are not related.

Applying For a Marriage License in Florida

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
3 Days for FL Residents, None for Non-Residents
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

One of the main points to understand when filling out a marriage license application is whether to select a form for religious services or civil services. The answer will be entirely dependent on the authority you are using to officiate your wedding. In the event that you are using a minister of the Universal Life Church, you will select the religious option. This is due to the fact that Florida recognizes ministers of the ULC as religious actors who can solemnize such unions regardless of gender and individual religious beliefs.

As mentioned, a couple must wait three days after a license has been issued in order to conduct the wedding. The main exception to this is when the couple has completed a premarital counseling course. Additionally, couples who are not residents of Florida will not need to wait the mandatory three days. The license is good for 60 days after it has been issued to a couple, and it must be returned to the office of the clerk within 10 days of the ceremony itself.

Florida Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 17 With Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
First Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

In the state of Florida, it is required that both members of a couple be at least 18 years of age in order to get married. However, there are exceptions to this. If a minor is at least 17 years old, he or she can get married with consent from a legal guardian. There are circumstances where individuals 16 years of age can be granted permission to marry, but these are typically determined based on the specifics of a certain case.

Floria does not have any restrictions when it comes to residency and marriage licenses. This means that couples from out of state, including same-sex couples, are more than welcome to come to Florida to tie the knot.

Finalizing the Union

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

Once the wedding has come to a close, there are still a handful of steps that need to be taken in order for the entire process to be considered complete. After the declaration of consent, it is crucial that the couple and officiant step aside and review the marriage license and associated paperwork together. This is when the officiant must look over the details of the form and make sure that nothing has been missed or input incorrectly. The officiant will also need to provide personal details related to his or her name and address. In the event that the clerk needs to fix a discrepancy, you may be contacted to provide further information. The ULC suggests that ministers of their organization list their titles as “minister.”

Reviewing the license paperwork before submitting it is absolutely important to the overall process. Making a mistake on even one line can invalidate the form and require the couple to submit an application for a new license. This means paying the fee all over again, too. To avoid this, everyone must be sure that the forms are filled out in the most accurate and legible way possible. The officiant must return the license to the office it was issued within 10 days of the completion of the wedding ceremony.

Finally, it is always a good idea for officiants to keep records of all the marriages they have solemnized. Keeping such records can come in handy down the line in the event you are contacted about the details of an event you presided over.