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How to Get Married in Colorado - Planning a Wedding in The Centennial State

Published Friday, Nov. 25th, 2022

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



From breathtaking mountains to exciting city centers, Colorado offers romantic backdrops of every kind, making it 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.


Asked to officiate a wedding in Colorado? 

Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Colorado


Outdoor wedding venue, with lights hanging above tables and a floral wedding arch, with green hills and mountains in the distance



How to get married in Colorado 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 or choose a self-solemnizing ceremony


In Colorado, you have two options on how to conduct a wedding ceremony. You can choose to be married by a wedding officiant in a traditional ceremony, or to perform the ceremony yourself. This second option is called a ‘self-uniting’  or ‘self-solemnizing’ ceremony and doesn’t require an officiant. 


If you choose to be married by an officiant, a friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony once 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 Colorado:


(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe... (§ 14-2-109)


(Find more Colorado marriage laws here.)



Two young grooms in matching white suits embrace on their wedding day in front of green bushes outdoors



3. Choose a date and a venue...

Colorado is home to stunning natural beauty, unbeatable outdoor recreation, five star resorts, and thriving cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and  Loveland – 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
35 Day Expiration Period
63 Day Return Period*

*Licenses returned late will incur a late fee, plus an additional per-day fee until filed



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 the County Clerk and Recorder office. Some counties require that you make an appointment and start the application process online. You don’t need to be a Colorado resident to marry there.


Proxy marriage is legal in Colorado under certain conditions. Learn more about proxy marriages here.  


Requirements to Apply: 


  • Both parties must be present at the appointment, or one party must appear with a completed and notarized absentee affidavit (proxy marriage)
  • Both parties must be 18 years of age or older, or meet the requirements for minors 
  • Both parties must provide legal proof of age in the form of valid government issued photo ID
  • If previously married, exact divorce information is required
  • Parties must provide their parents names and current addresses; their place of birth; and last four digits of their social security number. (If they do not have an SSN, they must complete an additional affidavit)


The process for applying for a civil union license is similar, but only applicants 18 years and older can apply.


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



Your license will cost about $30. Some offices will only accept cash or credit cards, 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.

Using and returning the license


A Colorado marriage license can be used in any county in the state, and expires  35 days after it’s issued. Directions on how to return the license will be given to you when it's issued.



The license must be signed following the ceremony and returned to the County Clerk. (We’ll cover this more below.) 


The license must be returned within 63 days after the ceremony. If the license is received late, a late fee will be charged, as well as a per-day fee until filed.


View of Denver skyline on a partly cloudy day



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! 



Taken from below as two smiling newlyweds jump down from a short wall, with blue sky behind them




Do you want to become a wedding officiant in Colorado? 


Visit Weddings by State: Colorado 


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 Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and Thornton.




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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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