Can You Get Married in Another State? Discover the Secrets and Benefits

Yes, you can get married in another state where you don’t live ๐Ÿš€. Many people do it for destination weddings, family reasons, or simply a change of scenery. You only need to follow the marriage requirements of that particular state.

A couple stands at a state border, one foot in each state, holding hands. A wedding officiant stands nearby, ready to perform the ceremony

Don’t worry about the legality; your marriage will still be valid back home ๐ŸŽ‰. Every state has specific rules, so it’s essential to understand them to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Whether it’s getting a marriage license or finding an officiant, planning ahead is crucial ๐Ÿ“.

Imagine saying your vows under the stars in a romantic setting without any hassles. By preparing well, you can have the dream wedding you’ve always wanted ๐ŸŒŸ. Dive into our guide for all the tips and steps!

Understanding the Basics of Getting Married in Another State

A couple stands in front of a map, pointing to different states. A marriage license and paperwork are laid out on a table

Getting married in a different state involves specific requirements and laws that vary. You must understand these basics to ensure your wedding goes smoothly.

What Is a Marriage License?

A marriage license is essential. It’s a legal document allowing you to marry. Without it, your marriage isn’t valid.

When getting married in another state, you must apply for a marriage license in that state.

Requirements may include photo ID and proof of divorce if previously married.

Often, a completed application and a fee are needed.

For example, states might require a valid driver’s license or passport. Original birth certificates are also common.

Remember, getting a prenup might be advisable based on state laws.

Make sure to prepare all documents well ahead of time. You donโ€™t want last-minute issues.

Differences in Marriage Laws by State

State laws vary significantly. Some states have easier processes, while others are more stringent.

Residency requirements can differ. Some states may require one of you to be a resident, while others do not.

The waiting period between applying and getting married also varies.

Some states might require a blood test or other health checks. Be aware of these differences to avoid complications.

Each state has its unique rules.

Researching the specific laws in the state where you want to get married is crucial.

Check if any special permits or additional documents are needed.

For example, some states might have specific requirements for officiants.

Understanding state laws ensures a smooth and legal wedding process. Always verify with the local county clerk or official website.

The Legal Prerequisites for Marriage in Various States

A map of the United States with each state highlighted, accompanied by a list of legal requirements for marriage in each state

Getting married in another state involves meeting specific legal prerequisites. These include identifying documents, age and consent guidelines, residency requirements, and other unique conditions.

Identification and Proof of Identity Requirements

To marry in another state, you need to provide valid identification.

Acceptable forms are typically a driver’s license, passport, or another government-issued photo ID.

You must present this documentation when applying for a marriage license. Having the right ID ensures that the marriage is legally recognized.

Each state may have slightly different rules about what types of ID are acceptable. Always check the state’s requirements where you plan to marry.

Age and Parental Consent

Age requirements vary by state, but most set the minimum age at 18.

If you’re under 18, you’ll generally need parental consent.

For instance, in Illinois, those aged 16-18 must have consent from a parent or guardian.

Some states also require a court order in addition to parental consent for minors to marry.

It’s crucial to know the specific age requirements of the state you choose for your marriage to avoid legal issues.

Residency and Non-Resident Considerations

Residency requirements differ by state. Some states require that at least one partner be a resident, while others do not.

For example, Illinois does not require you to be a resident to obtain a marriage license.

If neither you nor your partner reside in the state where you’re marrying, you may need to apply for your license in the county where the wedding will take place.

Waiting Periods and Blood Tests

Some states have waiting periods between the issuance of a marriage license and the wedding.

This waiting period can range from none to several days. For example, a state may require a waiting period of three days.

In addition, some states still require blood tests for certain conditions before you can get married.

These tests might screen for diseases or genetic conditions, though many states have done away with this requirement.

Special Cases: Proxy Marriages and Common Law Marriage

Proxy marriages and common law marriages are special cases with unique requirements. Not all states recognize these marriage types.

Proxy marriages allow one or both parties to be absent during the ceremony, typically requiring a legal representative or proxy.

Common law marriage does not require a formal ceremony or license and is recognized in some states if the couple lives together for a certain period and presents themselves as married.

Always confirm the specific regulations with the state you plan to marry in.

How to Apply for a Marriage License

A couple fills out forms at a government office. A clerk reviews their documents and stamps a marriage license

Applying for a marriage license may seem daunting, but itโ€™s straightforward if you know the steps. Here’s what you need to know about applying in person or online, the documents youโ€™ll need, and understanding how long the license is valid.

Applying in Person vs. Online Application

You can apply for a marriage license in person or online.

In-person applications require you to visit the county clerk’s office.

Many states now offer online applications. This can save time but usually requires you to visit an office later to show ID and sign papers.

Pros of Online Applications:

  1. Convenience: Apply from home.
  2. Time-Saving: Skip long lines.

Cons of Online Applications:

  1. Additional Steps: You often need to finalize things in person.
  2. Technical Issues: Online systems can sometimes be tricky.

Wherever you apply, bring your photo ID and any other required documents.

Documents Needed for Application

You’ll need several key documents.

First is a valid government-issued photo ID, like a driverโ€™s license or passport.

Keep your social security numbers ready, as they’re often required.

If you were married before, you might need divorce papers or a death certificate.

Additionally, some states ask for proof of residency.

Here’s a checklist:

  • Photo ID: Driverโ€™s license, passport.
  • Social Security Number: Required in most states.
  • Proof of Residency: Utility bill, rental agreement.
  • Previous Marriage Documents: Divorce or death certificate.

Having these ready speeds up the application process.

Understanding License Expiration

License expiration is crucial. Each state has its own rules about how long a marriage license remains valid.

Typically, licenses are valid for 30 to 90 days.

You must marry before the license expires or apply for a new one.

For example, in Michigan, you have 33 days to get married.

Tips to Manage Expiration:

  1. Plan Ahead: Schedule your wedding date within the validity period.
  2. Know State Rules: Validity varies by state.
  3. Renew if Expired: You must reapply if you miss the validity window.

Planning Your Wedding in Another State

A couple researching wedding venues online, with a map of another state on the table, surrounded by brochures and a notebook filled with notes

Planning a wedding in another state requires attention to local laws, venue selections, and coordination with vendors. Arranging logistics for a destination wedding can make your special day stress-free and memorable. ๐ŸŽ‰

Choosing Your Venue and Wedding Officiant

Choose a venue that fits your style and budget. Many states have beautiful options, from beachside resorts to charming chapels.

Make sure the venue is equipped to handle your guest list and desired setup.

Research online and read reviews to find the right spot.

Finding an authorized officiant is crucial.

You can either bring your officiant or hire one locally.

Check the stateโ€™s requirements for who can legally perform the ceremony.

Verify the officiant’s availability and fees to avoid surprises.

Coordinating with Local Vendors

Connect with local vendors early.

Wedding planning in another state can be smoother with the right team.

Florists, caterers, and photographers familiar with the area can offer insights you might not consider.

Use social media and wedding websites to find trusted professionals.

Set up virtual meetings and discuss your vision.

Clear communication ensures they understand your needs and can provide the best service.

Some vendors may offer packages for destination weddings, which can streamline the process and potentially save you money.

Considering Destination Wedding Logistics

Destination weddings have unique logistics.

Travel arrangements for you, your wedding party, and guests are essential.

Book flights and accommodations early to get the best rates.

Inform your guests well in advance so they can plan accordingly.

Create a detailed itinerary for the wedding weekend.

This helps everyone know where they need to be and when.

Think about transportation between venues and any activities planned around the wedding day.

Using a wedding planner experienced in destination weddings can ease the stress.

Ensure you have all necessary documents, like your marriage license.

Check the state’s specific requirements to avoid any legal hiccups.

Communication and preparation are the keys to a seamless out-of-state wedding.

State-Specific Marriage Guidelines and Requirements

A map of the United States with highlighted areas representing different state-specific marriage guidelines and requirements

Understanding the marriage guidelines and requirements for each state ensures your wedding plans go smoothly. Here’s a breakdown to help you navigate the process in various locations, ensuring compliance with state-specific rules.

Requirements for Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona


  • Government-issued photo ID: Required.
  • Legal age: Must be 18 or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: No residency requirement.
  • Marriage certificate: Issued by the county clerk.


  • ID: Government-issued photo ID required.
  • Age requirement: 18 or 16-17 with consent.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Counseling: Premarital counseling may be suggested.


  • ID: Photo ID required.
  • Age: Minimum 18, or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Waiting period: No waiting period.

Applying for a Marriage License in California, Colorado, and Connecticut


  • ID: Photo ID mandatory.
  • Age: Must be 18 or 16-17 with consent and counseling.
  • Residency: No requirement.
  • County Clerk: Apply at any County Clerk office.


  • ID: Photo ID needed.
  • Age: 18, or 16-17 with consent.
  • Residency: Not necessary.
  • Waiting period: No waiting period.


  • ID: Photo ID required.
  • Age: 18, or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: No need to be a resident.
  • Location: Apply in the town where the ceremony will happen.

Marriage in Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii


  • ID: Photo ID needed.
  • Age: 18, or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: Not needed.
  • Waiting period: 3 days unless you complete premarital counseling.


  • ID: Photo ID essential.
  • Age: 18, or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: No residency requirement.
  • County Clerk: Obtain the license from any County Clerk.


  • ID: Photo ID required.
  • Age: Minimum 18, or 16-17 with consent.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Waiting period: No waiting period.

Illinois to Michigan: Understanding Regional Variations


  • ID: Needed.
  • Age: 18 or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: No need to be a resident.
  • County Clerk: Get the license from the county clerk.


  • ID: Needed.
  • Age: 18 or 16-17 with consent.
  • Residency: Non-residents must apply in the county of marriage.
  • Waiting period: No waiting period.


  • ID: Required.
  • Age: 18 or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: Non-residents must apply in the county of marriage.
  • Clerk of Court: Apply at the clerk of court office.

New York, Texas, and Wisconsin: What to Expect

New York:

  • ID: Required.
  • Legal age: 18 or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Waiting period: 24 hours.


  • ID: Needed.
  • Age: 18 or 16-17 with consent.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Waiting period: 72 hours unless waived by a judge.


  • ID: Photo ID needed.
  • Age: Must be 18 or 16-17 with parental consent.
  • Residency: No residency requirement.
  • Waiting period: 6 days.

Final Considerations Before You Say ‘I Do’

A couple stands before a map, researching marriage laws in different states. A wedding checklist and legal documents are spread out on the table

Getting married in a different state is exciting but requires planning. Key things to consider include validity of your out-of-state marriage and your financial and legal responsibilities.

Checking the Validity of Out-of-State Marriage

First, ensure your marriage certificate will be recognized in your home state. Each state has different requirements.

You must obtain a marriage license in the state where the ceremony will take place.

Verify the legal age requirements and whether you need witnesses.

Some states require premarital blood tests.

Check for specific health tests or waiting periods before your wedding day.

If youโ€™ve been previously married, have a divorce decree handy.

This helps avoid any legal complications.

Financial and Legal Responsibilities

Understanding your financial and legal responsibilities is crucial. You might want a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets. Discuss this with your partner well ahead of the wedding day.

Make sure both of you are aware of proxy marriage laws if either of you can’t be present. Some states allow this under strict conditions. Think about your combined financial status, including any debt or property ownership.

Lastly, understand the filing requirements for taxes in both states, as it can affect your status. This planning ensures a smooth start to your married life.

Happy planning! ๐Ÿ’