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Missouri Wedding Laws

Missouri is known as the Show Me State for good reason. With vast areas of farmland, forests, hills and exciting cities, Missouri has thousands of places for marrying couples to show friends and family members their commitment. Still, it is critical for officiants and couples to comply with Missouri's one-of-a-kind marriage laws. This guide provides a detailed explanation of matrimonial requirements in Missouri. Continue reading for information on couple and minister obligations, license application procedures, and ceremony protocols.

Missouri 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

To marry legally in Missouri, both members of the couple must be at least 18. Those who are 16 and 17 may marry with the written permission of a parent or legal guardian. Still, individuals under the age of 18 may not marry adults over the age of 21.

In Missouri, marriages between close relatives are not allowed. State law prohibits marriages between whole and half blood grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces and first cousins.

Because of federal law, Missouri recognizes same-sex marriage like every other state in the U.S. Accordingly, any couple who meets the legal requirements to wed in the Show Me State may apply for a marriage license, regardless of the gender of either member of the couple.

Nevertheless, state law requires marrying couples to have the mental capacity to marry. If state officials issue a marriage license in violation of state law, they may commit a misdemeanor criminal offense.

How to Get a Missouri Marriage License

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

Marrying couples must apply for a marriage license before their ceremonies. To do so, both members of the couple must appear in person before a county clerk or recorder of deeds. When applying for a marriage license, the couple must provide their full names, addresses and social security numbers. They also must provide a government-issued ID.

The cost to apply for a marriage license varies from county to county. Still, the fee is no less than $45.

Missouri does not require either member of the couple to take a blood test or submit the results of one. Likewise, individuals who have divorced must not present copies of previous divorce decrees.

Once a county clerk or recorder of deeds issues a marriage license, it is valid throughout Missouri. That is, couples may marry in the county where the license was issued or anywhere else in the state.

Applying For a Marriage License in Missouri

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 15 Days of Ceremony

Any marriage ceremony conducted without a valid license is not legitimate in Missouri. Once a county clerk or recorder of deeds issues a marriage license, it is good for only 30 days. If couples wait too long, they must apply for a new marriage license.

Missouri law only allows authorized individuals to conduct marriage ceremonies, regardless of whether the ceremony is civil or religious. Ministers must sign the marriage license and obtain the signatures of two witnesses. Then, they must return the completed marriage license to the official who issued it within 15 days after the marriage ceremony.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Missouri

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

In Missouri, only mayors, notaries and tribal judges, recognized ministers of religious denominations and leaders of Native American nations and tribes may perform marriage ceremonies. Anyone who officiates at a wedding must also be at least 18.

Ministers who receive ordination through the Universal Life Church and are sanctioned to solemnize weddings qualified as religious actors. The Classic Wedding Package includes all ordination records necessary for providing qualifications. It is a good idea for ministers to carry these records with them in case they need to provide proof of ordination.

Getting Married in Missouri

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

Marrying couples and ministers usually want to tailor wedding ceremonies to meet the needs of the couple. Whether the ceremony includes few or no religious elements, Missouri law allows officiants and couples to design the wedding ceremonies that fit best for them.

Nevertheless, state law requires each member of the couple to consent to the marriage. It also mandates the minister pronounce the marriage during the ceremony. At least two witnesses must be present at the wedding.

If the ceremony complies with these requirements, the marriage is solemnized and legally binding under Missouri law.

Finalizing the Marriage

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

After the ceremony ends, the minister must properly complete the marriage license and certificate. The minister must also obtain the signatures of at least two witnesses. Then, the minister must provide all relevant parties with a copy of the completed and signed marriage certificate.

When completing the marriage certificate, Universal Life Church ministers must include their name, title and religious organization. They should also list their home addresses and states of residence.

After completing and signing the marriage certificate, ministers only have 15 days to return the document to the clerk or recorder of deeds who issued it. The clock starts running when the marriage ceremony ends.