Published: Friday, May. 6th, 2022
From wide open skies to winding riverbanks, sky-high rock formations to sparkling city highrises, Nebraska offers romantic backdrops of every kind. And considering the state’s rich cultural history, museums, and first class tourist accommodations, it’s easy to see why it’s a top 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 Nebraska, scroll down for helpful links.
Looking for a unique backdrop for your outdoor wedding?
Head to Jail Rock in Morrill County, just outside Bridgeport, Nebraska
Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal.
A friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony if they’ve been ordained.
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 Nebraska:
Every judge, retired judge, clerk magistrate, or retired clerk magistrate, and every preacher of the gospel authorized by the usages of the church to which he or she belongs to solemnize marriages, may perform the marriage ceremony in this state. (§ 42-108)
Nebraska is home to open skies, picturesque farmland, and natural wonders that span from sky-high rock formations to winding riverbanks, not to mention thriving arts and nightlife scenes in cities like Omaha and Lincoln – 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 through the County Clerk Office. Some counties may allow couples to apply through their license by mail, or to begin the application by mail. Your license is valid in any county in the state and you don’t need to be a Nebraska resident to marry there.
Requirements to Apply:
Your license will cost $25. Some offices will only accept cash or credit cards (with a small additional fee), so plan ahead! There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.
There's no waiting period between the time you receive your license and when your ceremony can take place.
A Nebraska marriage license can be used in any county in the state, and expires one year after the day it’s issued.
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 same clerk’s office where it was issued. (We’ll cover this more below.)
The license must be returned within 15 days of the wedding.
Head to beautiful downtown Omaha to get your marriage license in Douglas County, Nebraska
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.
After it’s signed, you must record it with the local county before the end of the 30 day expiration period. Check with your county for details.
Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married!
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 Lincoln and Omaha.
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!