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How to Get Married in New Mexico - Planning a wedding in the Land of Enchantment

Published Monday, Jan. 17th, 2022

Planning a New Mexico wedding? This short guide will help -- from finding an officiant to completing the marriage license. 



From the state’s brightly colored mesas to its snow-capped peaks, white sand dunes, and sweeping grasslands, New Mexico offers romantic backdrops of every kind. Not to mention the non-stop fiestas, world-famous green chile fare, Southwest-inspired arts and adobe, and laid-back attitude! It’s easy to see why New Mexico is a top destination for weddings. 


Applying for a marriage license in this Mountain State will look different in each county, so it’s important to get a head start on the planning process to avoid unnecessary stress. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you begin. 

(If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding in New Mexico, scroll down for helpful links.)


Colorful hot air balloons in the sky near ShipRock, New Mexico, blue sky behind rusty colored rock formations

The beautiful Ship Rock formation, 

in the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico



How to get married in New Mexico in 6 Steps 



1. Get yourself a sweetheart! 

Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.


2. Find a wedding officiant in New Mexico.

A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal. 


In New Mexico, a friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony, if they’ve been ordained. (Get ordained online for free with AMM.



If you want to hire a professional, the state has many qualified independent officiants to choose from. The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in New Mexico:  


An ordained member of the clergy or authorized representative of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe, or pueblo; Active or retired judges, justices, and magistrates of any of the courts established by the constitution of New Mexico, United States constitution, laws of the state or laws of the United States; and Civil magistrates.


(Find more New Mexico marriage laws here.)



A couple embrace on their wedding day in sunny New Mexico, with traces of snow on the ground around them

Visit the County Clerk in Gallup to apply for your McKinley County marriage license

Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash



3. Choose a date and a venue...

New Mexico is home to epic natural wonders and historical sites, a thriving arts and music scene, and memorable cities like Sante Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Taos, and Roswell (not to mention a few UFO sightings!), making it a favorite for destination weddings. Whether you’re dreaming of a big to-do or a romantic elopement for two – there’s something for everyone!


Popular dates, venues, and officiants book up fast, so start early. And remember you’ll need permission (and a permit) to use a public space, such as a city park or recreational area. Permits can take weeks to process, so factor this into your timeline, too. 



NM Marriage License Quick Facts

No Waiting Period
No Expiration Period
90 Day Return Period 





4. The marriage license. 

Alright, time to make sure your wedding’s legal! We’ll break down each part of the marriage license process, one step at a time: 

Applying for your license

You’ll apply for your marriage license through your local County Clerk’s Office. Some counties require couples to begin the application form online before appearing in person, so it’s important to check with your local office before scheduling your appointment. You don’t need to be a New Mexico resident to marry there.


Requirement to Apply: 


  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old, or meet the requirements for minors.
  • Both parties must appear in person
  • Proof of age and identity (such as a government issued photo ID)


If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in New Mexico, we recommend contacting the County Clerk Office closest to your venue to learn more. 


Your marriage license will cost $25. Some offices will only accept cash, while others may take credit cards or checks, so it’s a good idea to check with your local office ahead of time. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.

Waiting period

There is no waiting period between the time an application is filed and when a marriage license is released. 

Using and returning the license

A New Mexico marriage license can be used in any county in the state, and does not expire.


The license must be signed by each party to the marriage, two adult witnesses, and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the County Clerk’s Office within 90 days of the wedding. It does not matter who returns the license. (We’ll cover this more below.) 


The license must be returned within 90 days of the ceremony.



A white lace wedding dress hangs on the outside of a reddish orange adobe building in New Mexico

Doña Ana County marriage licenses can be purchased at the

County Clerk Office in Las Cruces

Photo by Bailey Alexander



5. Meet with your wedding officiant...

Once you’ve chosen a date, a venue, and have your marriage license details worked out, you’ll be ready to meet with your wedding officiant to plan the ceremony! 



This is when things start to come into focus. You’ll talk about the tone of your ceremony, the ‘vibe’ you want to create for your guests, and any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. You and your officiant might meet a few more times to exchange more ideas, fine-tune a script, or rehearse the ceremony leading up to the wedding day. 


AMM’s website is full of resources to help you decide what kind of ceremony you want, tips on working well with your officiant, and advice on keeping your ceremony authentic and on budget. 


Visit articles tagged for Couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category or keyword. 


6. The wedding day! 

Aside from yourselves, the most important thing you’ll bring with you on the wedding day is your marriage license -- because no license means no marriage. Your officiant won’t be able to perform the wedding without having a license present (even if you have it at home), so make sure it’s with you. 


After the ceremony, you and your officiant will sign the license. For tips on how to complete the license, head here.


Once it’s signed, you must record it with the local county within 90 days. Check with your county for details.


After it’s been recorded, you’re officially married! 


A happy couple of newlyweds kiss outdoors surrounded by friends and family and they smile and cheer

Get your Bernalillo County marriage license in Alvarado Square, Albequerque

Photo by Jonathan Borba




Do you want to officiate a wedding in New Mexico? 


Visit Weddings by State: New Mexico


We’ve got everything you need to understand the state’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, and helpful tips for several cities in the state, including Las Cruces and Albuquerque. 





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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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