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How to Get Married in West Virginia: Plan a Wedding in The Mountain State

Published Tuesday, Jul. 18th, 2023

Photo: Wedding Dreamz / Unsplash

Planning a West Virginia wedding? This short guide will help -- from how to find a West Virginia wedding officiant to how to apply for and complete your marriage license. 



From natural beauty to cozy city comforts, West Virginia offers romantic backdrops of every kind – making it a popular destination for weddings. 


Applying for a marriage license in this Appalachian 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 West Virginia? 

Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in West Virginia

View of mountains and wildflowers near Morgantown, West Virginia in Monongalia County

Image: Elijah Hail / Unsplash

Get married in beautiful West Virginia! This sweet view makes a perfect wedding backdrop and isn't far from Morgantown... and your marriage license at the Monongalia County Clerk's Office!



How to get married in West Virginia 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 West Virginia.


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 and have registered with a local government office.



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 West Virginia, including AMM Ministers:


A religious representative who has complied with the provisions of section 2-402, a family court judge, a circuit judge or a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, is authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in any county of this state. Celebration or solemnization of a marriage means the performance of the formal act or ceremony by which a man and woman contract marriage and assume the status of husband and wife. For purposes of this chapter, the term "religious representative" means a minister, priest or rabbi and includes, without being limited to, a leader or representative of a generally recognized spiritual assembly, church or religious organization which does not formally designate or recognize persons as ministers, priests or rabbis. (§ 48-2-401 Persons Authorized To Perform Marriages.)


(Find more WV marriage laws here.)



Two grooms hold hands in the woods on their wedding day, wearing coordinating white and tan suits and vests

There are many LGBTQ+ friendly wedding venues and wedding vendors to choose from in West Virginia -- or ask a friend to get ordained online to marry you in your favorite spot for a personalized ceremony!  



3. Choose a date and a venue...


West Virginia is home to friendly venues, gorgeous mountain views, and popular cities like Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown – 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. 


West Virginia Marriage License Quick Facts

No Waiting Period
60 Expiration Period
Return Period May Vary*

*It’s important to return your license as soon as possible following the ceremony. Follow the directions given to you by the Clerk’s office when returning your license. Each Clerk’s office will have a recommended return period to ensure your license is processed quickly and on time.

 Stylized graphic showing a young couple getting married and a wedding officiant signing an oversized marriage license with an oversized pen to symbolize the legal aspects of marriage ceremony

Did you know? Every state has different laws governing when the marriage license is issued, can be completed, and must be returned. There are called a state's marriage license Waiting Period, Expiration Period, and Return Deadline. Learn more here. 



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: 

Apply for your WV marriage license


You’ll apply for your marriage license through the County Clerk’s Office. You don’t need to be a West Virginia resident to marry there.


Requirements to Apply: 


  • Both applicants must be at least 18 years old or meet the requirements for minors
  • Both applicants must appear in person to apply, and provide proof of age and identity, including a government issued photo ID, proof of social security number
  • Both applicants must provide the full names of both of their parents, and parents’ place of birth
  • Applicants who have been previously married must provide the exact date on which the previous marriage ended (by divorce, death of spouse, etc); If a former spouse died within 30 days of the ceremony a death certificate must be presented at the time of application


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



Your license will cost about $57. Discounts are available for couples who complete four hours of Premarital / Marital Counseling and submit the required documentation. Some offices will only accept certain forms of payment, 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.

Use and Return your WV marriage license

A West Virginia marriage license can be used anywhere in the state, and expires  60 days after it’s issued. 



The license must be signed by each party to the marriage and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the Clerk’s office where it was issued. Directions on how to return the license will be given to you when it's issued.


The license must be returned by the Officiant to the office where it was issued promptly following the ceremony. Ask your local Clerk’s Office for more information on returning the license. 


Guitar decorated with beautiful colorful flowers rests on a chair outdoors near a field during a wedding ceremony

Photo: Jen Theodore / Unsplash



4. 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 you can’t get married without a marriage license. 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, it must be returned promptly by the Officiant to the clerk’s office where it was issued. Check with your county for specific details on returning the license.


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

Close up photo of bride and groom on the wedding day, smiling, groom is looking at the camera and the bride rests her hand on his chest happily

Photo: Olivia Hutcherson / Unsplash



Asked to perform a wedding in West Virginia? 


Visit Weddings by State: West Virginia


We’ve got everything you need to understand the state’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need.





You might also like: 




Read all West Virginia Wedding Articles 



AMM Minister takes a selfie with the newlyweds after performing a wedding ceremony on the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia

An AMM Minister performs a wedding high above the New River Gorge in an adventure wedding ceremony the couple will never forget. Read the full article here. 




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