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How to Get Married in Mississippi - Planning a Wedding in The Magnolia State

Published Wednesday, Oct. 12th, 2022

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




As the birthplace of blues, Mississippi brings a lot to the table, with unforgettable music, food, hospitality and history. And with its riverfront views, fertile hills, and thriving cities, it’s easy to see why this charming Southern state is a top destination for weddings. 


Applying for a marriage license in The Magnolia 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 Mississippi, scroll down for helpful links.



A beautiful wedding arch outdoors, draped with white linen and colorful flowers

Mississipi is filled with magical indoor and outdoor wedding venues to choose from



How to get married in Mississippi 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 Mississippi.

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 Mississippi:


Any minister of the gospel ordained according to the rules of his church or society, in good standing; any Rabbi or other spiritual leader of any other religious body authorized under the rules of such religious body to solemnize rites of matrimony and being in good standing; any judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court or county court may solemnize the rites of matrimony between any persons anywhere within this state who shall produce a license granted as herein directed. Justice court judges and members of the boards of supervisors may likewise solemnize the rites of matrimony within their respective counties. Any marriages performed by a mayor of a municipality prior to March 14, 1994 are valid provided such marriages satisfy the requirements of Section 93-1-18.. (§ 93-1-17)


(Find more Mississippi marriage laws here.)


Close up of a groom and bride holding hands on the wedding day

A friend or relative can officiate your ceremony in MS if they've been ordained. 



3. Choose a date and a venue...

Mississippi is home to unforgettable music, food, nightlife, and history, along with thriving cities like Jackson, Gulfport, and Southaven – 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. 




Marriage License Quick Facts

No Waiting Period
No Expiration Period
5 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 Circuit Clerk. Some offices require you to make an appointment before appearing. You don’t need to be a Mississippi resident to marry there. 


Requirements to Apply: 


  • Both parties must appear together to apply and provide valid photo ID 
  • Both parties must provide proof of age, such as a birth certificate, baptismal record, armed service identification card, life insurance policy, driver’s license, etc.
  • Both parties must be at least 21 years old (the age of consent to marry in MS) or have parental consent and meet the requirements for minors 
  • Provide exact dates for any previous divorces, along with a copy of the divorce decree if within the past six to 12 months


If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in Mississippi, we recommend contacting the circuit court clerk closest to your venue to learn more. 


Your license will cost about $38. Some offices will only accept certain forms of payment, such as cash or credit card, so plan ahead! There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.

Waiting period

There is no waiting period between the time you receive your license and when your ceremony can take place. However, in some counties, couples with late afternoon appointments may be required to pick their license up the following day. 

Using and returning the license

A Mississippi 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 and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the circuit clerk. (We’ll cover this more below.) No witnesses are required to sign. 


The license must be returned within 5 days of the wedding ceremony. 


Bride and groom kiss under an outdoor wedding arch

Seal it with a kiss! Then make sure your marriage license is signed and returned to the clerk.



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 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. 



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! 



A bride and groom kiss on the wedding day




Do you want to perform a wedding in Mississippi? 


Visit Weddings by State: Mississippi. 


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 Jackson.





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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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