All You Need to Know About Getting Married in Another State


Saying “I do” and committing to a life-long relationship is definitely a big deal. Every individual have some expectations, dreams and desires when it comes to the wedding event; such as size of the wedding, dress, party theme and most importantly venue of the event. While most of us want to get married near our home to attain maximum attendance of the friends and family, tying the knot in the sin city of Vegas or party town of New Orleans sound fun! There are so many fun options to have a wedding of a lifetime, but is it legal? Find out more if you are considering the option of getting married in another state, a state where you don't hold residency.

Getting Married in Another State – What Must You Know?

Contrary to what most people may believe, the legal work associated with the weddings is not that complicated. For any wedding held in the United States, there are some pre-requisites, such as:

  • Obtaining a marriage license from the local county clerk (after you and your partner qualifies all the requirements) so that you are authorized to get married.

  • Holding the wedding ceremony

  • Applying for the marriage certificate that is a legal document and proof that you are married. The person who has officiated the wedding usually applies for the certificate, but it is not a compulsion. You can also drop off your marriage certificate at the local county office (from where you applied for the marriage license). You should be able to get your personal copy for record purposes within a week.

If you are getting married out of your home state, make sure to first obtain the marriage license from the county of the respective state where you are hosting your wedding. The marriage license obtained in one county is valid in other counties within the same state. Contact the local county office to make sure what preparations you need to make and how long it takes so that everything can be pre-arranged.

Other Things You Need to Know about Marriage Licenses

In certain states, there are residency restrictions that may serve as a road block in your way of getting married in another state. Therefore, it is highly recommended to obtain this information before making wedding arrangements.

The best resource to learn more about the marriage licenses and legal requirements are courthouses. In addition, you can also utilize online resources (especially the government websites of the respective state) to learn more about the requirements and prerequisites. A good resource is, which has information regarding the essentials of marriage licensing process in every state of America.

Documents Needed for Obtaining Marriage License

In most states (such as Georgia), you would have to appear in person at the court with your documents to obtain the marriage certificate. It is imperative to mention that you should always keep the original as well as photo-copies with you for convenience as some offices may require submission of copies for documentation purposes. Attestation of the documents is not necessary. The proof of identification such as state-issued ID or driver’s license in addition to proof of citizenship (such as birth certificate and/or passport) is mandatory. Depending on the state, the requirements for marriage license may vary. For example, in some states (such as Mississippi, District of Columbia and Montana), it is recommended to get the blood test for venereal diseases (such as HIV/AIDS) as well as Tuberculosis, sickle cell anemia and/or rubella. Physical examination is also a requirement for marriage license in some states. You can obtain these documents from a local clinic or walk-in pharmacy.

Besides driver’s license (which clearly defines you an adult over the age of 18 years) and health documents, you may also be required to submit proof of annulment/ divorce/ death of the previous partner in case you were married before. It is imperative to mention that separation from the former spouse (regardless of the duration of separation) is not enough to file for a marriage license and may result in disqualification. If you are under 18 years of age, you may require the parent’s consent form to obtain marriage license.

Should You Consider the Option of Getting Married in Another State?

Getting married out of your state is exciting, and if you have legit reasons (for example preference for a certain city or if you want to hold the wedding near your parent’s home) you should go for it. However, keep yourself prepared for a few things:

  • There may be a slight delay or waiting period between obtaining a marriage license and holding the actual wedding.

  • Getting married in another state is sometimes more costly than getting married in your state. Besides wedding expenditures, the legal fee is also higher for out-of-state licenses. The cost of obtaining marriage license may range from $25 - $100.

  • You may have a time-limit or validity period for marriage license. For example, according to Texas state laws, you typically have to wait for a minimum of 3 days after getting marriage license to hold the ceremony. Also, the license expires after 30 days, which means you either have to re-apply or call for extension. In Arizona, the validity period is as long as 1 year.

  • In certain cases, the waiting period can be waived by requesting special permission from the court. Same is true for active military personnel.

  • Always make sure to keep some cash on hand. This is because, county offices in Las Vegas and Hawaii accepts cash only.

Hope this information is useful to you. Good luck on this beautiful journey.