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Virginia Wedding Laws

Virginia offers plenty of delights for soon-to-be-wed couples: world-class venues, stunning landscapes, and miles of beautiful beaches. If you’re considering a wedding in Old Dominion, there are a few details you need to know. This handy guide explains what you need to make your Virginia nuptials legal and valid. Keep reading for info on Virginia marriage licenses, ceremony requirements, officiants, and much more.

Virginia Marriage Requirements

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

To get married in Virginia, both you and your intended spouse must be at least 18 years old. Most adults can wed within the state, but there are a few exceptions. Virginia does not allow marriages between most close relatives, even if only related by adoption. First cousins and more distant relations are exempt from this prohibition. Also, you cannot tie the knot if you are still married to a living spouse.

Virginia has legally recognized same-sex marriage since October 6, 2014. Per the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling, marriage equality is the law of the land.

Some couples under 18 years old may wed in Virginia under certain conditions. Minors emancipated by court order may get married, but the state’s minimum age for this is 16 years old. Emancipated minors must supply a certified copy of the court order when applying for a marriage license.

How to Get a Virginia 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:
$30.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Both resident and out-of-state couples may wed in Virginia. Couples can apply for marriage licenses at any circuit court in Virginia. Licenses cost $30 and are good for 60 days from the date of issue. You do not need to be a Virginia resident or submit to a blood test to apply.

Both halves of the couple must appear at the same time and present valid government-issued photo IDs. They’ll need to present other key information, including their parent’s names. The clerk may also ask for proof of divorce or a death certificate if a prior spouse is deceased. Confirm specific requirements with the circuit court office.

Applying For a Marriage License in Virginia

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

Once a couple has been issued a Virginia marriage license, they can wed anywhere within the state. There is no required waiting period after obtaining a license, but the marriage ceremony must take place within 60 days after the issue date.

Couples are free to marry in either civil or religious ceremonies. As religious actors, ULC ministers may only perform religious weddings.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Virginia

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

No laws explicitly prevent online ordained ministers from solemnizing weddings in Virginia. However, some circuit court clerks have refused to register ULC ministers. The prime source of confusion is an Opinions Counsel letter issued by the Attorney General’s office back in 2010. Per this letter, circuit court clerks are not required to permit ministers ordained online to officiate weddings.

Should a minister encounter these difficulties, the state offers some alternative solutions. Any circuit court can issue a one-time civil ceremony authorization. To apply, you must be a county resident that’s at least 18 years of age and possessing no felony convictions. You will also need to pay a $500 cash bond if your application is approved. Ministers are authorized at the county level in Virginia, and some circuit courts do allow ULC ministers to officiate weddings.

Ministers officiating weddings in Virginia must be at least 18 years old. The state has no restrictions on a minister’s gender, beliefs, or place of origin. Officiants may need to present credentials, including proof of ordination. The ULC’s Classic Wedding Package contains this and other key documents.

Getting Married in Virginia

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

Virginia couples and their officiating ministers must be physically present together during their wedding ceremonies. However, the state does not mandate the presence of witnesses. Virginia requires two basic things for a legal marriage ceremony: Both halves of the couple must state their consent and the minister must pronounce them as married.

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 have one final responsibility after a wedding ceremony: completing the marriage certificate. It must bear the date of the ceremony plus the officiant’s information. Officiants should use “minister” as their title and “Universal Life Church” as the ordaining body. The completed certificate must be returned to the issuing circuit court within five days of the ceremony.