Published: Friday, Apr. 8th, 2022
With both abundant natural beauty and world class urban centers, Kansas offers romantic backdrops of every kind – making it a favorite destination for weddings.
Applying for a marriage license in this Midwestern 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 Kansas, scroll down for helpful links.)
Sunflowers make for a joyful wedding bouquet! (photo via Laura Gilchrist)
Grinter Sunflower Farms in Leavenworth County, right outside Lawrence,KS (Douglas County)
Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
A wedding officiant is someone who conducts a marriage ceremony and signs a marriage license. However, Kansas is one of the few states that doesn’t require an authorized officiant to perform a wedding ceremony, and couples can choose a ‘self-uniting’ or ‘self-solemnizing’ ceremony.
A friend or relative can also perform your wedding ceremony if they’ve been ordained.
If you want to hire a professional officiant, the state has many qualified independent officiants to choose from. The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in Kansas:
Any currently ordained clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society; various religious licentiates and appointees; various judges and justices; the two parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties belong, may be married without an authorized officiating person. (§ 23-2504)
Kansas is known for open skies, sweeping plains, and welcoming locals, along with thriving cities like Wichita and Kansas City, 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.
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:
You’ll apply for your marriage license electronically through the Kansas Judicial Branch website. You don’t need to be a Kansas resident to marry there.
Requirements to Apply:
Your marriage license will cost $85.50, with a small additional fee to process payments made by credit/debit card and electronic check. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.
Kansas has a 3 day waiting period between the time an application is filed and when a marriage license is released.
A Kansas marriage license can be used in any county in the state, and expires 6 months from the date it was issued.
The license must be signed by each party to the marriage (if the ceremony is self-uniting), and by the couple and their marriage officiant (if one is present).
The license must be returned within 10 days of the ceremony to the office that issued it.
We love an outdoor farm wedding!
Photo by Rachel Crowe
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 for Couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category or keyword.
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.
Once it’s signed, you must return it to the issuing office within 10 days of the ceremony. Check with your county for details.
Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married!
Topeka is stunning at night! Have a twilight ceremony,
then celebrate out on the town in Shawnee County, Kansas.
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 Kansas City, Olathe, Topeka, and Wichita.
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!