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Michigan Wedding Laws

As a location for a wedding, Michigan has a lot to offer. There are over 16,000 square miles of largely untouched wilderness in the upper peninsula and over 3,000 miles of freshwater coastline statewide, not to mention fall colors almost everywhere you go in autumn. Another advantage is that marriage laws in Michigan are relatively easy to understand. The following guide can make it even easier for you and your minister to be sure that you are in compliance.

Michigan Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Like other states, Michigan forbids incestuous unions. However, it frames this in an odd and unnecessarily sexist way, forbidding women from marrying their sons, fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, and just about any other male relative you can imagine, including first cousins. Michigan's law has not yet been updated to remove the stricture against a woman marrying "any other woman," but fortunately, it doesn't matter because that provision was overridden by the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming marriage rights for all same-sex couples across the country, including in Michigan.

Michigan is also similar to other states in prohibiting minors from getting married. Typically, you must be at least 18 to consent to get married, but an exception can be made for those ages 16 or 17 whose parent or legal guardian has given consent in writing.

How to Get a Michigan Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
County of Issuance
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$20 + Fees by County
Accepted I.D. Types:
Driver's License, or State-Issued ID and Birth Certificate
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Varies by County
Blood Test Required:
No

Specific licensing requirements vary by county, so these should be confirmed before you apply. If neither you nor your spouse-to-be lives in Michigan, you can apply for your license in the county where the wedding will take place. Otherwise, you can apply in the county where you live, and if you live in different counties, the choice between the two is up to you. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some counties are allowing couples to apply through the mail or online.

In any case, the base fee is $20, while in some counties, additional fees may apply. In addition to the information you provide in your application, you must prove your age with a birth certificate and state-issued identification, such as a driver's license. There are no blood tests required but, if applicable, you may have to provide proof of prior divorce. A parent wishing to give consent to the marriage of a minor must either provide a notarized application or deliver it in person. You must swear an oath that all the information provided in your application is correct.

Applying For a Marriage License in Michigan

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
3 Days
License Valid For:
33 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

Even though non-residents are asked to apply for their licenses in the same county where the wedding will occur, you can use your license anywhere in the state of Michigan, not only in the county that issued it. However, you will have to act quickly because the license is only valid for 33 days. After you apply for your license, you typically have to wait three days before the county clerk will issue it. If you can show good and sufficient cause, the clerk can expedite it, but this will cost an additional fee.

Once you receive the license, you must provide it to the officiant who will preside over your wedding. Within 10 days after the ceremony, the officiant will have to complete it and return it to the issuing county clerk.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Michigan

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Ordination Credential and Letter of Good Standing
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

Prior to the ceremony, the officiant performing the ceremony must present a letter of good standing and ordination credentials to the county clerk. Ministers of Universal Life Church can order the Classic Wedding Package that includes all the necessary documentation at their online ordination.

Ministers of ULC are sanctioned under Michigan law as "religious actors" regardless of personal beliefs, stated gender, or place of residence. The minimum age to be ordained by ULC is 18, which is also the minimum to perform a wedding in Michigan.

Other religious practitioners or ministers of the gospel so authorized by their organization can solemnize marriages in Michigan, as can civil officers such as clerks, judges, mayors, and magistrates.

Getting Married in Michigan

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

For the marriage to be legally binding, you and your spouse-to-be must make a solemn declaration of your intention to take the other as a spouse before two witnesses at least 18 years of age and the officiant presiding over the ceremony. The officiant then makes a pronouncement solemnizing the marriage. There are no other state-mandated requirements for either a civil or religious ceremony, so these can be planned according to your own needs and preferences.

Finalizing the Marriage

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

Ministers who perform marriage ceremonies must keep a record of all that they have presided over. This is a requirement under Michigan law. The officiant must also complete the marriage certificate and separate the duplicate to return to you and your new spouse. The original must be returned to the clerk who issued it within 10 days following the ceremony.

The marriage certificate should be printed legibly or typed and bear the name, title, and signature of the officiant. Other information required on the certificate includes the names and residences of the two witnesses and the time and place of the marriage.