In the United States, marriage laws are regulated at the state level, not federal. This can make life complicated if you are say from New York, but want to get married in California. It is essential to research the laws of the state you wish to get married in. Additionally, it is also important to know if your marriage will be recognized by the state you live in if you are getting married out of your state of residence.
Here are some facts you might not know about marriage laws in the United States, starting with fees. Each state charges a different amount for a marriage license. The range is from $ 15 in Nebraska to $ 88.50 in Florida. So if you are trying to pinch every penny, that is something worth checking out. It would be a shame to have to have to pay twice, so make sure you know when your license expires. The only states that provide non-expiring licenses are Wyoming and South Carolina.
If you are scared of needles you might want to avoid getting married in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma or West Virginia. Those eleven states require blood tests prior to granting marriage licenses. Not only can blood tests be physically painful, they can also come with some financial pain in the form of a fee, and each state will charge a different amount.
Had a few to drink? Then you might want to think twice about getting married in Pennsylvania. A long-standing law that has yet to be changed is that no marriage will be performed in the state of Pennsylvania if either the bride or groom is drunk. So be careful if you plan to pop some bubbly with your bridal party before the ceremony. Not only must you be sober to be married, when you sign your marriage license you must speak English or bring someone with you who does speak English.
Family relations? In twenty-six of the fifty states, a resident can marry their cousin. Joke all you want about marrying your cousin in the South, but it turns out some of the states that allow cousins to marry each other include California, Colorado, New Mexico, Connecticut, Alaska, and Maine in addition to several more. Some of the states that do not permit cousins to marry include Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas and Oklahoma as well as nineteen others.
If you crave the tropical breeze and beautiful sunsets of Hawaii, make sure you bring cash because their county clerks will not accept any other form of payment for marriage licenses. It is also a state with one of the higher fees at $ 60 a pop.
The most common day for weddings is Saturday. As many wedding planners know, this means venues cost much more on Saturday. If you are in Idaho, your marriage license will cost more on Saturday, too. The state raises the cost from $ 28 to $ 45 on a Saturday. Idaho is also the only state that requires the bride and groom to read a pre-marital AIDS education pamphlet.
If you are having a crazy night in Las Vegas and find the man or woman of your dreams and decide at 3am that a wedding is the best idea, you are in the clear. You can get married twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year in Las Vegas. But your 3am decision is going to cost you a little bit more. Between the hours of midnight and 8am marriage licenses cost $ 60, rather than the normal $ 50. In a hurry? Get married in a Las Vegas drive-thru chapel, limousine, or helicopter.
When getting married in Texas make sure you do not have any delinquent court-ordered child support or you won’t be legally able to get married in the state. Texas is the only state that requires any action in terms of court-ordered child support.
Getting married in California has the perks of the beaches and wine country, and you can also have anyone officiate. Any person in the state can become a deputy for a day and be granted the ability to officiate one marriage.
For those getting married abroad, do everything as far in advance as possible, and you may also want to consider using a wedding planner in that country. He or she can assist in filling out documents specific to the country. Make sure to bring all the essential documents with you. Some countries will require non-family witnesses. Other countries may take months to process the forms.
Each state (and country for that matter) requires different procedures for obtaining a marriage license. It would be a shame to put the time, effort, and money into planning a wedding only to find out you missed a step or forgot a document.
Molly Danziger is a writer for My Wedding Workbook, the next-generation online wedding planner that’s free, easy-to-use and helps brides-to-be manage every detail for every-wedding related event, from your engagement party and bridal shower to your ceremony, reception and honeymoon.