West Virginia State Capitol Building

West Virginia Wedding Laws

Written and updated for precision by the West Virginia marriage law research team at GetOrdained™ on

Few other states offer the same raw scenic beauty that is commonplace in West Virginia. Consequently, the Mountain State is an excellent place for a wedding. Whether the couple wants a ceremony at the foot of a peak, by a serene lake or in an exciting city, West Virginia has some gorgeous wedding venues. While focusing on planning the big day may be the couple's and the officiant's top priority, it is critical to comply with West Virginia's many marriage laws and requirements. This guide sheds light on these. Continue reading for marriage laws, license application procedures, minister requirements and couple guidelines.

West Virginia Marriage Requirements

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

To marry in West Virginia, both members of the couple must be at least 18. For 16- and 17-year-olds, marriage in the Mountain State is permissible with a signed consent affidavit from a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone who is 15 and younger and desires to marry in West Virginia must secure judicial approval. Interestingly, unsanctioned underage marriages in West Virginia may eventually become valid on their own after the couple reaches the age of consent.

West Virginia does not have a residency requirement for applying for marriage licenses. Consequently, neither member of the couple must live in West Virginia to marry in the state. Of course, like with all other states in the U.S., West Virginia permits same-sex couples to wed.

State law discourages marriages between closer relations than second cousins. If members of the couple have a closer familial relationship because of adoption, the marriage is probably acceptable under West Virginia Law. Still, judges may examine adoption records to verify the relationship.

How to Get a West Virginia Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in West Virginia
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Blood Test Required:

Like other states, West Virginia requires marrying couples to apply for marriage licenses before the ceremony. To do so, both members of the couple must apply for and pick up the marriage license in person. The couple may visit any county clerk's office in West Virginia to apply for a marriage license.

Before issuing a marriage license, a county clerk must verify all information, including social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and premarital course records. The clerk also requires a birth certificate, voter registration card or driver's license from both members of the couple.

Legal permanent residents and nonimmigrant visa holders must confirm they are not the property of the other member of the couple. They also must verify they will not engage in violence or abuse after marriage.

West Virginia law does not require previous divorce decrees or blood tests prior to issuance of marriage licenses.

Applying For a Marriage License in West Virginia

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Mandatory Waiting Period:
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 6 Days of Ceremony

In West Virginia, couples may apply for licenses for both religious and civil ceremonies. Ministers who receive ordination through Universal Life Church are religious actors, and should make sure the couple obtains a marriage license for a religious ceremony regardless of whether the minister includes religious elements in the service.

Generally, there is no mandatory waiting period between the issuance of marriage licenses and the dates of wedding ceremonies. Nevertheless, if either member of the couple is under 18, the couple must wait two days between license issuance and the ceremony.

After the county clerk issues the marriage licenses, all couples have 60 days to legally wed in the Mountain State. Then, the county clerk must receive the completed marriage license within six days after the ceremony.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in West Virginia

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Ordination Credential
Online Ordination Recognized:
Relevant Office of Registration:
Secretary of State
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:

To officiate legally binding weddings in West Virginia, ministers must be at least 18. They must also present their ordination certificate or other credentials to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then verifies ministers are authorized to perform weddings and are in good standing with the church.

After verifying the qualification of ministers, the Secretary of State enters ministers into a registry. Ministers who receive ordination through Universal Life Church should look to the Classic Wedding Package and the Letter of Good Standing. These include all the documentation necessary to qualify for Secretary of State registration.

In West Virginia, the place of residence, gender and belief system of ministers should not affect registry or standing. Still, it is a good idea to have a copy of ordination credentials when visiting county clerk offices. Sometimes, county clerks ask to see these credentials.

Getting Married in West Virginia

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

West Virginia is not in the business of wedding planning, so ministers and couples can generally design the ceremony that fits best for them. Nonetheless, state law does put two requirements on the marriage ceremony.

First, the couple must provide official consent to the marriage. Second, the minister must pronounce the marriage during the ceremony.

Because West Virginia does not allow proxy marriages, the minister and both members of the couple must be physically present during the ceremony. State law does not require any witnesses, however.

Finalizing the Marriage

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

While the ceremony is a big part of the minister's job description, the job does not end when the ceremony is over. That is, ministers must take some post-ceremony steps to ensure the marriage is legally binding.

The officiating minister must complete and sign the marriage certificate. When doing so, Universal Life Church ministers should provide their home addresses. They should also record Universal Life Church Ministry as the ordaining body. After completing and signing the marriage certificate, the minister only has six days to return the original license to the county clerk who issued it.

West Virginia law also requires officiating ministers to maintain a permanent record of all marriages they perform.

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