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Updates to Utah’s Virtual Marriage Laws Are in Effect This Month

Published Thursday, May. 9th, 2024

A bride and groom raise glasses of champagne next to two computer monitors showing all their guests attending remotely on zoom, during a virtual online wedding
Photo: Photo: AJ_Watt / iStock

What to know if you're asked to officiate an online wedding in Utah, or want to get married in a remote ceremony.



Earlier this year, Utah legislators worked closely with the Utah County Clerk’s Office to enact meaningful updates to the state’s virtual marriage laws. Those updates went into effect last week, on May 1st, 2024. 


These updates should make it easier for couples to get married remotely using a Utah marriage license, and help prevent criminal misuse of the state’s remote marriage services.


These changes will directly affect wedding officiants and couples who wish to marry in the state in four key ways, which we’ll describe below. To see the full list of changes made by this legislation, read the full bill text here: Utah Senate Bill 81 County Clerk Amendments


Updates to Utah’s Remote Marriage Laws

Effective May 1st, 2024



  • Officiant must be physically located in the state while the marriage is solemnized


The first important revision codifies a policy that is already common practice: Officiants must be physically located in the state while performing an online/virtual wedding. Parties to the marriage and the two required witnesses may be located anywhere in the world, and are allowed to attend the ceremony remotely using audio-visual technology. Parties to the marriage must also explicitly state their willingness and intent to marry during the ceremony  (‘declaration of intent’). 


Relevant amended code: 

Excerpt from § 30-1-7


“(2) (b) A license is considered used within this state if the officiant is physically present in the state at the time of solemnization of the marriage.

(3) A marriage is considered solemnized if:
(a) the parties to the marriage have a valid marriage license;
(b) each party to the marriage willingly, and without duress, declares their intent to enter into the marriage;
(c) each party to the marriage has filed all required affidavits with the county clerk that issued the marriage license as required under Subsection 30-1-10(1);
(d) an officiant pronounces the parties as married; and
(e) at least two individuals 18 years old or older witness the declarations of intent and the pronouncement.”



  • Power of Attorney may not be used to obtain a marriage license


This revision was included to protect the safety and wellbeing of all parties to a marriage, with a special interest in protecting underage parties. Under the added subsections, parties must apply for their own marriage license without the use of Power of Attorney, and their age, legal name, and identity must be verified by the clerk’s office. 


Relevant amended code: 

Excerpt from § 30-1-8


“(2)(a)(vii) the age, legal name, and identity of each applicant is verified. 
(3) A power of attorney may not be used to secure a marriage license on behalf of a party to a marriage.”



  • Parties to a marriage solemnized remotely must sign an affidavit agreeing to personal jurisdiction in Utah if they divorce or annul their marriage


This revision makes it clear how – or more importantly, where – divorces and annulments will be handled if a couple that’s married in an online/virtual ceremony chooses to end their marriage. This is an important addition to the law because many international couples choose to marry remotely using a Utah marriage license. If a couple living in a foreign country marries virtually in Utah and later decides to call it quits, they must also follow Utah’s laws for divorce or annulment. 


Relevant amended code: 

Excerpt from § 30-1-10

“(1)(b) if one of the parties to the marriage will not be physically present in the state at the time of solemnization of the marriage, an affidavit from each party applying for the marriage license, stating that that party consents to personal jurisdiction of the state, and the county issuing the marriage license, for the purposes of filing a divorce or annulment of the marriage.”



  • Any person who knowingly makes a false statement on a marriage license is guilty of perjury and may be prosecuted


This addition to the code will strengthen protections against the criminal misuse of Utah’s remote marriage services, and provide a clear course of action if a wedding officiant or party to a marriage knowingly provides false information on the marriage license. Legislators hope this amendment will prevent the illegal marriage of underage parties, and protect others who might be taken advantage during an online ceremony. 


Relevant amended code: 

Excerpt from § 30-1-11


“3) An individual described in Subsection (1) who knowingly or intentionally makes a false statement on a certificate of marriage is guilty of perjury and may be prosecuted and punished as provided in Title 76, Chapter 8, Part 5, Falsification in Official Matters.”



Read our previous coverage of SB0081, sponsored by Sen. Weiler & Rep. Loubet: 


Special thanks to Russ J. Rampton, Digital Services Supervisor & Utah County Deputy Clerk for providing us with up-to-date information as this bill progressed. Contact the Utah County Clerk's office with any additional questions on performing remote appearance ceremonies.



For the Officiant: 


How to Officiate a Remote Wedding Ceremony in Utah

Learn how to officiate a remote wedding ceremony in Utah, with tips on creating a unique online wedding experience.



Paper cut outs of a bride's wedding dress and groom's suit are placed on a laptop keyboard, symbolizing online wedding ceremonies



For the Couple: 


How to Get Married in an Online Wedding Ceremony in Utah


Want to get married online in a remote wedding ceremony? It’s possible with the help of a Utah wedding officiant. Learn the basics in this simple 'how to' article. 



Bride and groom embrace on the wedding day, holding a laptop for their remote online wedding ceremony




Read all Virtual Wedding Ideas & Inspiration




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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