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Will Utah Legislators Put Limits on Virtual Weddings in 2024?

Published Thursday, Jan. 18th, 2024

Close up of a laptop keyboard and wedding rings
Photo: Rawf8 / Adobe Stock

Attention Utah Officiants: Legislation to limit remote marriage ceremonies is being considered in the Utah Senate. Here’s what you need to know!



Update May 2024: This bill passed! See the outcome here: Updates to Utah’s Virtual Marriage Laws Are in Effect This Month


Update 4:30pm ET 1/18/24: S.B. 81 1st Substitute was adopted by committee this afternoon and replaces the previous bill described below.


Read more here: “The Las Vegas of Virtual Weddings”: Utah Sen. Weiler works with County Clerk and others to clarify guidelines for virtual marriages


This updated version will keep the current policy in place while clarifying guidelines and ensuring that all individuals confirm their identities when applying for a marriage license.


During the hearing, Sen. Weiler commented that he was "fine with Utah being the Las Vegas of virtual weddings," but that it was important for clear guidelines and legal "guard rails" to be in place, in order to prevent unlawful marriages from being performed virtually. 


If passed, S.B. 81 1st Substitute will allow couples to continue marrying in virtual marriage ceremonies from any location, with an officiant physically located within the state of Utah at the time of the ceremony.


Find up-to-date information on the Utah Legislature website.


Update 2:45pm ET 1/18/24: A substitute version of the bill is being considered (see it here) that would maintain and clarify the state's current guidelines for virtual ceremonies. It will be discussed today (1/18/24) in a Senate hearing scheduled for 2pm MST. Find up-to-date information on the Utah Legislature website.



Right now, Utah wedding officiants can perform virtual marriage ceremonies for couples living anywhere in the world, using a marriage license issued remotely by the Utah County Clerk.


It’s a unique service that’s made the state of Utah a top (virtual) wedding destination, and Utah County stand out as one of the most innovative and tech-savvy marriage bureau in the country, if not the world. It’s a valuable tool for Utah wedding officiants, and one that’s changed the lives of numerous couples around the globe.


But all that could soon change… 


Earlier this week, legislation to restrict remote marriage services was introduced in the Utah Senate. 


If approved, the updated law would require that at least one of the individuals getting married be physically located in Utah during the ceremony. Currently, only the officiant must be physically located in Utah. 


This policy change would take effect quickly, as soon as May 1st of this year.



This means that international couples, deployed military couples, and others would no longer be able to get married online with a Utah County marriage license and the help of a Utah officiant, unless one of them was able to travel to Utah – a change that would greatly limit professional officiant businesses in the state, as well as countless couples and families.


AMM reached out to the Utah County Clerk’s office for some insight into the bill, and what our ministers might expect in the next few days. We heard back from Russ J. Rampton (Utah County Deputy Clerk and Digital Services Supervisor) who tells us that the office is keeping a close eye on the legislation and is in contact with the bill’s sponsor and other legislators:


“We are currently working with the sponsor of the bill and other legislators to amend it to conform with our current policy requiring the officiant to physically be in the state of Utah at the time of solemnization.”


Russ adds that Utah has a short legislative session, only 45 days, and that things can move quickly and change suddenly.


In the meantime, we’re keeping a close eye on this bill too, and will keep you up to date as the session continues.


Visit the AMM News page for updates: 


AMM News: Marriage Laws


What’s so important about Utah County’s remote wedding services? 


With the use of audio-video technology like Zoom or Skype, Utah County’s online wedding services are just as legal as a traditional marriage ceremony, and just as meaningful. 


Couples apply for their Utah marriage license electronically, meet with an authorized Utah officiant virtually to take their vows, and have their documents signed and filed without ever leaving home. 



It’s been a valuable and life-changing service for couples all over the country and around the world. Same-sex couples and interfaith couples who are unable to marry in their home countries due to strict religious laws have especially benefited, as well as deployed members of the U.S. armed forces, disabled and vulnerable adults who cannot travel for a wedding, long-distance couples on a budget, and many others who simply appreciate the ease and comfort of getting married online.



It’s a unique service. In fact, this type of fully-remote marriage license and ceremony is only available in Utah, with a Utah County marriage license! While a few other states do offer limited remote marriage services, all of these require that the couple and their officiant be physically located within the state while the ceremony takes place. 



Virtual remote marriage services became popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel restrictions and safety precautions made it difficult for couples to get married in traditional ways. At that time, several states issued temporary executive orders that suspended requirements for in-person participation and allowed marriages to be solemnized remotely. 


Since then, remote weddings have become less common. But they continue to be recognized as a useful and valuable alternative to traditional weddings – allowing couples to get married in a simple and hassle-free way, offering officiants an additional business opportunity, and giving families the chance to gather and celebrate in an affordable and safe way.


Currently, lawmakers in New Jersey and New York are considering legislation to bring back virtual marriage ceremonies and expand their online marriage license services, to make it possible for couples and officiants to once again meet remotely over Zoom or Skype to solemnize a marriage or apply for a marriage license. 


For more information and inspiration about virtual wedding ceremonies, click the link below:



Browse all Virtual Weddings Ideas & Inspiration 



Close up of a laptop keypad with a woman's hand, and two paper dolls in the shape of wedding clothes, sitting beside two gold wedding rings



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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