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Can You Get Married Over The Phone? (Plus a Look at Other Remote Wedding Options)

Published Friday, Apr. 5th, 2024

A young bride in a white wedding gown smiles while talking on her cell phone, against a tan background.
Photo: ViDi Studio / Adobe Stock

Ring, Ring… Wedding Rings? What the law says about phone weddings and other remote wedding options



Modern couples are always dreaming up new, creative ways to tie the knot. We’ve seen skydiving vows, underwater weddings, and even watched a couple set themselves on fire to make their ceremony memorable. 


But can you get married over the phone?


The idea of a phone wedding might seem outlandish at first, but it’s not that far-fetched. Just consider how quickly internet weddings have become commonplace! 


Related: Pixel-Perfect Inspiration from 5 Metaverse and Video Game Weddings


In only a few short years, online weddings have gone from futuristic to ordinary. When the COVID-19 pandemic kept people isolated inside for months, marriers got creative online and in-world. They organized symbolic mock ceremonies within video games like Animal Crossing, The Sims, Final Fantasy, and Fable. And emergency orders in multiple states allowed legally-binding virtual weddings to be held on platforms like Zoom and Google Meet from the safety and comfort of home. 


So, the question now is: 


Can you get married by phone? Would a wedding performed over the phone be legally binding? 


The answer is no. 


A wedding ceremony performed over the phone doesn’t meet the legal requirements to marry in any state, primarily because in every state, the wedding officiant must be able to see and hear the marriers in real-time during the ceremony. This requirement allows the officiant to confirm the marriers’ identities and their willingness to marry.


Most states require that the people getting married appear in person in front of the officiant, but Utah County allows couples and witnesses to meet with an officiant remotely using audio-visual technology. 


Coincidentally, this limitation is also the reason that weddings held in video games and metaverse venues aren’t legally binding on their own. Officiants must be able to clearly see and hear a couple agree to marry in real-time, which isn’t possible when the couple only appears as animated characters or avatars.


Read More: Can you legally marry someone in a video game?



So, weddings by phone are a no-go. But in the meantime, there’s always the internet! 


A video-conference wedding is the closest you’ll get to a wedding by phone for now – and you’ll need to find a wedding officiant in Utah to perform your ceremony using a Utah County marriage license if you want to be married this way. 


These virtual ceremonies are held on a platform like Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype, which allows everyone participating to see and hear each other clearly. Click the links below for more information: 



(Note: A few additional states offer online marriage services through the local clerk’s office, but these options are limited and will vary from place to place. Contact your local clerk’s office with questions.)


A proxy marriage ceremony might be a match


If you’re not able to appear before the officiant for your marriage ceremony, such as during deployment or incarceration, you might want to consider a proxy marriage ceremony. A trusted friend or family member will ‘stand in’ for you at the wedding, appearing in your place. Proxy marriages require a power of attorney and other state-specific paperwork to make them legally binding.  


Proxy marriage ceremonies are only available in a few states, and certain conditions must be met. Click the links below to get started, and contact your local city or county clerk’s office to learn more about proxy marriage laws in your area:




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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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