Published: Friday, Apr. 17th, 2020
We’re getting inundated with calls and emails from couples asking if they can still apply for a marriage licence during the COVID-19 shutdown. The answer depends on where you live. Marriage license bureaus and county clerk’s offices are currently operating in accordance with a variety of local policies and restrictions – which change frequently. Some are closed, and others are open.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to apply for your marriage license during a global pandemic and shutdown:
If you don’t already have your marriage license, you will need to contact your local marriage bureau or county clerk’s office. We recommend searching, "marriage bureau in [County Name]."
Try calling to speak to someone first before visiting in person to confirm any changes to their operating hours.
Ask if they are still issuing marriage licenses. If they are, ask how to quickly apply for and receive your marriage license at this time. It’s also worth asking what kind of delays to expect, if there are any.
If they’re not issuing marriage licenses at this time, politely request a referral to another marriage bureau or office that is still issuing marriage licenses and can assist you. In most states, it’s fine to get a license from a few counties over, as long as the wedding is still happening in the same state.
Once you are in possession of your marriage license - and honoring any waiting periods, if applicable - you may proceed with your wedding ceremony at any time. (Important: Please read this if you are considering having a Skype or virtual wedding ceremony.)
No matter who your officiant is, double check that they are lawfully able and authorized to perform your ceremony before doing so.
And finally, make sure that your officiant and witness(es) are healthy, able to leave their home, and will continue to practice safe social-distancing - even during the ceremony.