Many couples consider marriage as one of their biggest goals. For them, marriage represents different things: faith in their religion, lifelong commitment to each other, and more. However, getting married can get physically, psychologically, and financially challenging.
Some laws and policies will make getting married significantly less complicated. In terms of wedding licenses, examples include a lack of waiting periods, expiration dates, and requirements for witnesses. As such, here are the seven easiest states to get married in:
- Washington, D.C.
What Are the Easiest States to Get Married in?
For multiple reasons, Idaho frequently tops lists of the easiest states to get married in. Firstly, the marriage license has no waiting period. After acquiring the permit, you do not have to wait at least 24 hours, unlike in some states.
Marriage licenses obtained in Idaho do not have an expiration date. Whereas other states require you to get married within 90 or so days after you receive your permit, Idaho gives you the freedom to choose any wedding day — even if that is still half a year away.
Furthermore, you are not required to bring witnesses to your ceremony. If you are planning an elopement, this convenience will allow you not to invite anyone at all.
Additionally, you do not have to be a resident of Idaho to apply for a marriage license there. However, these permits are only valid for ceremonies in Idaho. In other words, you must get married in Idaho if you have an Idahoan marriage license.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Idaho:
- Visit a County Recorder’s Office. You and your partner must be present.
- Bring at least $30 in cash to pay for the license. The exact amount varies per county and day. On Saturdays, you might have to pay $50.
- Present your social security numbers (SSN). If your partner is not a U.S. resident, bring any proof of identity from their country of citizenship. If you do not have an SSN, request a letter from the local Social Security Office.
- Present any of the following to prove your age and identity:
- Current driver’s license
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
- State-issued identification card
Georgia deserves its place in the list of easiest states to get married in, primarily because of the lack of waiting periods for marriage licenses. They have no expiration dates, but once you have performed your ceremony, you must send the signed permit within 30 days.
While non-residents of Georgia can apply for marriage licenses in the state, there are some rules to keep in mind. If one person is Georgian, they can obtain a permit from any county. However, if both are not from Georgia, they can only request a license in the county of their wedding venue.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Georgia
The application process for a marriage license in Georgia varies per county. If you need to apply at a particular county, find their contact information and inquire there. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the requirements at Fulton County:
- Choose one from three locations: downtown, north, and south. You and your partner must both be present at your appointment.
- You can book an appointment in advance for the downtown location. However, north and south have a walk-in-only policy.
- Present your proof of age through one of the following:
- Current driver’s license
- Valid military ID
- Valid passport
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
- You must also provide a copy of your final divorce decree if you are a divorcee.
- Pay $56 for the fee. The downtown office accepts cash, credit, debit, and prepared cards for payment. However, the north and south offices are cashless.
- If you and your partner attended a qualified premarital education program, you only have to pay $16.
3. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., offers multiple conveniences, which make it one of the easiest states to get married in. Firstly, marriage licenses do not have an expiration date. You can also get married immediately after the permit’s issuance, as there is no waiting period.
The state accepts applications for a marriage license in-person and online. You can receive your permit the day you apply for one but expect delays nonetheless.
Based on your preference, you have three options for officiants: a court official, a religious celebrant, and yourself. If you choose to self-solemnize — officiate your wedding yourself — you are also not required to have a witness.
It is also worth noting that Washington, D.C. is one of the nine states that recognize common law marriages. If you and your partner have been together for several years, intend to marry, fulfill all the requirements for matrimony, and already act as a married couple, then your relationship qualifies as a common law marriage.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Washington, D.C.:
- Access a copy of the marriage license here, or click here if you want to fill out the form online.
- Show proof of age. Any of the following documents are valid:
- S. driver’s license
- Any government-issued ID
- Pay the non-refundable $45 marriage license application fee. The modes of payment are cash, credit, check, and money order.
- The bureau will waive $35 of the expense if you have a DC Domestic Partnership Certificate.
Connecticut is another popular destination for couples looking for the easiest states to get married in. Although there is no waiting period, the marriage license is only valid for 65 days. If you are planning a quick wedding, this expiration date is not pertinent.
As for your officiant, you have several options: judges, religious celebrants, justices of the peace, family support magistrates, family support referees, and state referees. However, you do not need witnesses to solemnize your union.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Connecticut:
- Visit the vital records office of the city or town where your wedding will occur. You and your partner must be present to sign the application.
- The following documents are required:
- Proof of identity with your current address (if unavailable, bring two different utility bills)
- Name and contact information of your officiant
- Address of the wedding venue
- Schedule of wedding
- Social Security cards
- Sworn statement about the validity of the information you provided
- Pay the $30 application fee. The modes of payment are cash and money order.
Nevada is an exciting place for several reasons. Specifically, Las Vegas is a popular choice for elopements and bachelorette parties. This prominence is partly due to the city’s wide range of activities and sceneries.
However, Nevada is also one of the easiest states to get married in, with Las Vegas being infamous for quick marriages. For one, many companies and venues offer inclusive packages that give couples a stress-free but memorable experience.
Marriage licenses issued in Las Vegas have no waiting periods. Furthermore, your application stays in their system for a year. However, you must apply for the permit within 90 days of your ceremony.
You can accomplish the application for a Las Vegas marriage license online. You and your partner do not have to be Nevadan residents.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Nevada:
Again, the application process will vary across cities and towns. If you plan to get married in a different municipality, contact the licensing bureau of that area. Here is a quick rundown of the process at Clark County to give you an idea:
- You and your partner must visit the Clark County Marriage Licensing Bureau at 201 E. Clark Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- There are specific instructions for applicants whose partner is incarcerated or hospitalized. However, you do not need to bring them to the bureau.
- Provide proof of age and name, which can be any of the following documents (original copy with a recent photo of you):
- Driver’s license or instruction permit
- Any government-issued ID, including those of a foreign country, if one person is a non-U.S. resident
- Matricula Consular Card
- Military ID or Military Dependent ID
- Permanent Resident Card
- Certificate of citizenship or naturalization
- Pay $102 for the marriage license application fee. The office accepts credit and debit, though additional fees may apply.
Another reason Nevada is one of the easiest states to get married in is the Clark County Marriage Licensing Bureau’s office hours. It is open from eight a.m. to midnight every day, including holidays.
Colorado allows non-Coloradan couples to apply for a marriage license in the state. However, the permit is only usable for ceremonies in Colorado. Furthermore, remember that you can only request a license once you are at most 35 days away from your wedding.
These downsides aside, Colorado is an excellent place for couples looking to get married quickly. Firstly, you are not required to provide witnesses. You can also ask for an officiant from the court; you can even self-solemnize if you are capable.
Whereas other states require that both partners are present for the application, Colorado is more flexible. If either of you cannot appear at the clerk’s office in person, you only need a notarized absentee application form and a valid ID.
Once you submit your documents, you might receive your marriage license as soon as 20 minutes after. As Coloradan permits do not have a waiting period, you can get married once you leave the county clerk’s office.
Colorado is one of the few states that allow proxy marriages. A proxy marriage is a type of ceremony where another person represents the absent partner. For instance, if you are from Colorado and your partner is in the military, you can get married even if they are still on a mission.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Colorado:
- Find the nearest county clerk’s office to you or the venue. Some offices require you to book an appointment in advance, while others accept walk-in applicants.
- Present proof of identification with your date of birth:
- Birth certificate
- Military ID
- State-issued driver’s license
- Alien registration card
- Inmate ID
- Certificate of naturalization
- If your proof of ID is in a foreign language, append a certified translation.
- If you do not have an SSN, provide a Sworn Statement Affidavit.
- Divorced and widowed applicants need to provide the date and place of the event; for divorcees, you must also state the type of court for the divorce.
- If you are applying for a proxy marriage, one applicant must submit these additional requirements in person:
- Accomplished and notarized absentee application
- Accomplished and notarized Authorization of Proxy Marriage
- Copy of absent party’s ID used for notarizing the Sworn Statement Affidavit (if applicable)
- Copy of military or contractor ID
- Pay the $30 application fee. Modes of payment differ by the office.
Hawaii is well-known for its breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable sceneries, making it a destination wedding hotspot. Thus, it makes sense that Hawaii is also one of the easiest states to get married in.
Firstly, Hawaii is accessible to non-Hawaiian couples looking to solemnize their union. There are no residency requirements. With that said, you must hold your ceremony in a Hawaiian wedding venue.
Hawaiian marriage licenses do not have waiting periods. Thus, you can get married as soon as you receive the permit. There is no need to look for a witness, too; the officiant doubles as your official witness.
However, the issued marriage license is only valid for 30 days. You must reapply if you do not hold your ceremony within that period.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Hawaii:
- Accomplish the online application form here. You must pay $65 for the application and portal fees.
- Once done, take note of your Authorization Code or Locator ID.
- Set a meeting with a license agent. Access a list of agents with their contact information here. This meeting must take place no more than 30 days before your ceremony.
- You and your partner must both be present for this meeting.
- Present proof of age and identification, which must have a photo of you:
- Driver’s license
- State-issued ID
- The agent will verify your application and documents. Once corroborated, they will issue your license.
Additional Things to Remember
Online Weddings Are Possible
Given the past two years, the development of online weddings makes sense. Virtual weddings are like conference calls — all parties interact through an online platform, such as Zoom. The couple celebrates their day through a video call with their officiant and guests.
Virtual weddings are legally binding in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, but you must observe additional guidelines. In states that allow self-solemnization, such as Colorado and Washington, D.C., your virtual wedding can be more of a symbolic ceremony.
However, once a state legalizes and recognizes your union, the remaining states must also acknowledge the legitimacy of the marriage.
Virtual weddings require real-time participation from the couple, their officiant, and two witnesses. This ability to interact legally validates the ceremony.
Consider a Courthouse Wedding
The list of easiest states to get married in above contains locations renowned for their world-class beauty. You have numerous options for national parks, public venues, and private venues, which all give a unique and spectacular experience.
However, you might not want the financial, physical, and psychological stress of planning a traditional wedding. In this case, courthouse weddings are a perfect alternative.
Renting a venue will not add thousands of dollars to your wedding budget. You do not need to find officiants and witnesses. Furthermore, there is less paperwork to accomplish and fewer vendors to hire. Generally, courthouse weddings require significantly less planning.
With a courthouse wedding, you can focus on other aspects of a wedding weekend that bring you joy. You can have a staycation at an Airbnb, treat your family and close friends to dinner, or hold a massive reception.