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Montana Wedding Laws

If the idea of the open country as a setting for your wedding is appealing, you might want to consider getting married in Big Sky Country itself, the state of Montana. This state has unique requirements for a valid ceremony, yet the laws have recently undergone some updates. Therefore, it is important that you have the most current information to be sure you are in compliance with the legal requirements without taking any unnecessary steps.

Getting Married in Montana

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
Yes
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
2
Min. Age of Witnesses:
18
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

The legality of the ceremony depends on the parties expressing consent to marry one another. This may sound complicated but can be accomplished by simply asking the two parties getting married if they consent to the marriage and them replying "I do." The minister must be present and make a declaration that solemnizes the marriage. There must be at least two adult witnesses. Oddly, however, it is not required that either you or your future spouse be present for the ceremony. Though most couples would probably prefer to attend the wedding in person, it can also be conducted remotely as long as the minister is physically present.

Montana Marriage Requirements

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

Montana recognizes the validity of marriage equality, so same-sex couples are able to get married there with no legal impediments. There is no requirement for the couple to reside in Montana prior to marriage, so out-of-state couples are welcome to get married here as well.

Montana does require that you and your spouse meet the age requirement of 18 or older. However, there is an exception for those ages 16 or 17 who wish to marry and obtain judicial approval.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Montana

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

The state of Montana does not concern itself with the residence, personal beliefs, or background of the minister who is to perform the ceremony. However, it is a requirement that the officiant be at least 18 years of age and duly authorized to solemnize marriages. Coincidentally, the Universal Life Church does not grant ministers that authority through online ordination unless they are at least 18 years old.

The ULC minister performing a wedding in Montana should coordinate with the couple and contact the same clerk who issued the marriage license regarding the required documentation to ensure that the marriage is legal. The reason is that counties in Montana have the authority to set their own requirements. The necessary documents may vary as a result. Some county clerks may not ask for any documentation at all. We recommend that ULC ministers purchase the Classic Wedding Package so that they have all the basics covered and can present documentation upon request.

Applying For a Marriage License in Montana

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

Montana marriage licenses remain valid for 180 days after the date of issuance. Once the ceremony has taken place, the license must be returned within 30 days thereafter. Montana does not impose any mandatory waiting period, meaning that the license is valid immediately.

While Montana law regards ministers of the Universal Life Church as religious actors, the license authorizes both civil and religious ceremonies. In other words, the extent to which your ceremony is or is not religious is up to you to decide.

How to Get a Montana Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Varies by Residency
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$53.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Until fairly recently, Montana had a law on the books requiring females seeking marriage to submit to a blood test before a marriage license could be issued, not to rule out consanguinity but to confirm an immunity to rubella. The blood test requirement has been optional with a waiver since 2007, and in 2019 it was abolished completely. There is no longer a blood test requirement for couples wishing to marry in Montana.

Couples do need to pay a fee of $53 to obtain a marriage license and to apply personally to the clerk of the district court. Those who have been married before must provide proof of divorce. Upon issuance, the couple must pick up the license themselves and present government-issued photo IDs as proof of their identities.

Finalizing the Union

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

After performing the ceremony, the most important job of the wedding officiant is to return the completed marriage license to the original issuer. He or she has up to 30 days after the ceremony to carry out that task.

ULC ministers are not considered church employees. Therefore, if asked to provide a church address on the marriage license, they can fill out their own addresses instead. They can enter "Universal Life Church Ministries" as the ordaining body and "minister" for the title.

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