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New Hampshire Wedding Laws

Planning a wedding can easily prove to be an overwhelming experience. However, you should always take time to ensure you understand the legal requirements of tying the knot. If you’re planning on getting married in New Hampshire, there are a handful of important points to keep in mind regarding marriage laws. Thankfully, the Universal Life Church has put together this useful guide containing everything you need to know to ensure your wedding in the Granite State is a legally binding union.

Getting Married in New Hampshire

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 in New Hampshire when it comes to how a couple goes about conducting their wedding ceremony. This means that the couple can feel free to include whatever rituals they would like, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. However, there are still some points that the couple and officiant must hit in order to guarantee the wedding is legally binding.

The one point to understand is that NH requires both members of the couple to be physically present during the ceremony. Similarly, the officiant cannot solemnize the union by proxy and must be present. The couple must also declare consent of the union before the officiant, though there is no need to have any additional witnesses present for this portion of the ceremony.

New Hampshire 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

The state of New Hampshire has welcomed the weddings of same-sex couples since 2010, several years before marriage equality passed on a federal level. However, there are some restrictions on who is allowed to legally marry in NH. The state requires that both members of the couple be at least 18 years of age. There are exceptions to this, as long as the minors are at least 16 years of age and have been given express written permission from both a legal guardian and a judge within the jurisdiction.

The legal guardian of a minor looking to get married needs to take the additional steps of providing the court with any information related to the mental and physical health of the minor that might impact the decision. It is the legal guardian’s job to make a convincing argument why the marriage is in the best interest of the minor. The minors must be residents of the state of New Hampshire for this consideration to occur.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in New Hampshire

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Secretary of State
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
Only for Non-Residents

Both civil and religious ceremonies are recognized as legal within New Hampshire. This means that officiants can fall under either category. Those looking for a religious ceremony can ask a priest or minister to officiate. Similarly, a judge or magistrate can serve this function for those who would prefer a civil affair.

Officiants given status through the Universal Life Church are welcome to officiate marriages in the state of New Hampshire. The ministers of the ULC are considered religious actors, which grants them the permission to perform such ceremonies regardless of individual religious beliefs, gender, and other factors.

If the minister is not from New Hampshire, the state requires that the officiant obtain a license and prove that he or she has authority to solemnize such unions. If this is the case, the officiant absolutely needs to have all necessary paperwork detailing his or her status as a minister. To guarantee that you avoid any legal prosecution that comes from failing to obtain this license, consider the Classic Wedding Package from the Universal Life Church. This package contains all of the documents and paperwork that a minister of the ULC might need to show to a representative of the state.

Applying For a Marriage License in New Hampshire

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
90 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 6 Days of Ceremony

Once the marriage license has been issued, the couple has 90 days to conduct the wedding ceremony and return the paperwork to the clerk’s office. While some states may require couples to wait a set period of time before going through with the wedding, New Hampshire allows the wedding to take place as soon as the couple would like. Once the ceremony has been conducted, the license must be returned to the office where it was issued within six days of the wedding.

How to Get a New Hampshire Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in New Hampshire
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$50.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

In order for a couple to apply for a marriage license, the state of New Hampshire requires that both parties be physically present at the office of the clerk or registrar. The paperwork involved in the process will require the applicants to provide details related to their full names, as well as information related to their parents’ full names. Any surname changes that the couple have been through in the past must also be noted. The couple will also need to provide and verify information related to Social Security numbers and current addresses. The paperwork will also ask for the proposed location and date of the wedding and may also require the information of the officiant conducting the ceremony. If a member of the couple cannot be present for a valid reason, a request can be made for the clerk’s office to waive this.

If either member of the couple has been married in the past, the state of New Hampshire requires that proper divorce paperwork or death records be presented to the clerk’s office. This is to provide legal proof that the previous relationships have been legally ended. The current fee for a marriage license in NH is $50.

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 the wedding ceremony has come to a close, there are still a few more points to hit before the legal side of the process is complete. The marriage license needs to be signed and completed by the couple and officiant, with no errors or blank fields present. The license must be brought back to the office it was issued within six days of the wedding. The officiant may also need to review the form and verify certain details for representatives of the clerk’s office, such as confirming whether or not the ceremony was religious in nature. Once the license has been returned, the job of the officiant is complete and the happy couple can rest easy knowing that their union has been made official on a legal front.