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Groom 101

Marriage License Laws by State

Chris Easter

These days, it seems that you need a license to do just about anything. And getting married is no different. Every state in the United States requires a marriage license for a couple to wed. A few states also require a blood test (see detailed list below). To apply for a marriage license, go to your local county clerk’s office. This is usually located at your county courthouse. Often, both the bride and groom must be present to apply. You’ll both be asked a series of questions regarding your personal information and background. If everything checks out, a license will be issued. In most states, you receive your license the same day you apply. Some states, however, have a short waiting period. Each state also has different rules regarding the length of time that the marriage license is valid and how soon you can marry after receiving i

Once you’ve purchased your marriage license, don’t forget to bring it to the Church or wedding venue on the big day. Without it, you can’t legally get married. After the ceremony, the married couple and the wedding officiant must sign the license for it to be valid. You’ll also need witnesses (best man and maid of honor) to sign it. The final step is for the couple to file for a certified copy of the certificate to receive a marriage certificate from the government.

The following table shows each state’s specific information regarding marriage licenses.

STATE BLOOD TEST REQUIRED? WAITING PERIOD HOW SOON CAN YOU MARRY? WHEN DOES LICENSE EXPIRE?
Alabama No None Immediately 30 Days
Alaska No 3 Days Immediately 3 Months
Arizona No None Immediately 1 Year
Arkansas No None Immediately Never
California No None Immediately 90 Days
Colorado No None Immediately 30 Days
Connecticut Yes None Immediately 65 Days
Delaware No None 24 Hours 30 Days
DC Yes 3 Days Immediately Never
Florida No 3 Days Immediately 60 Days
Georgia No None Immediately Never
Hawaii No None Immediately 30 Days
Idaho No None Immediately Never
Illinois No None 1 Day 60 Days
Indiana Yes None Immediately 60 Days
Iowa No 3 Days Immediately Never
Kansas No 3 Days Immediately 6 Months
Kentucky No None Immediately 30 Days
Louisiana No None 3 Days 30 Days
Maine No 3 Days Immediately 90 Days
Maryland No None 2 Days 6 Months
Massachusetts No 3 Days Immediately 60 Days
Michigan No 3 Days Immediately 33 Days
Minnesota No 5 Days Immediately 6 Months
Mississippi Yes 3 Days Immediately Never
Missouri No 3 Days Immediately 30 Days
Montana Yes None Immediately 180 Days
Nebraska No None Immediately 1 Year
Nevada No None Immediately 1 Year
New Hampshire No 3 Days Immediately 90 Days
New Jersey No 72 Hours Immediately 30 Days
New Mexico No None Immediately Never
New York No None 24 Hours 60 Days
North Carolina No None Immediately 60 Days
North Dakota No None Immediately 60 Days
Ohio No None Immediately 60 Days
Oklahoma No None Immediately 30 Days
Oregon No 3 Days Immediately 60 Days
Pennsylvania No 3 Days Immediately 60 Days
Rhode Island No None Immediately 3 Months
South Carolina No 24 Hours Immediately Never
South Dakota No None Immediately 20 Days
Tennessee No None Immediately 30 Days
Texas No None 3 Days 31 Days
Utah No None Immediately 30 Days
Vermont No None Immediately 60 Days
Virginia No None Immediately 60 Days
Virginia No None Immediately 60 Days
Washington No 3 Days Immediately 60 Days
West Virginia No None Immediately 60 Days
Wisconsin No 5 Days Immediately 30 Days
Wyoming No None Immediately Never

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