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Published: Monday, May. 11th, 2020

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These states are where you can - and can't - get married online

Are virtual weddings allowed in your state? Read on...

Headlines might have you thinking that Zoom weddings are legal across the country, but we're not quite there... yet.

 

(Updated August 2021)

 

 

 

It's  true that a small handful of state officials have realized that desperate times call for drastic measures, and issued legal orders that give couples explicit permission to obtain their marriage license and/or have their marriage solemnized via video conferencing platforms.

 

But as it stands, most states have marriage laws that would prevent such ceremonies from being legally binding, and haven’t provided any official statements or clear guidance on having wedding ceremonies that are officiated remotely.

 

If you don't see your state listed here, don't give up! Visit our Weddings by State pages, select your state, and click on "Zoom Wedding Legal Information."

 

Here's the latest rundown on where you can - and can't - get hitched or perform marriage online:

 

 

California 

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

 

Virtual marriage license appointments and virtual civil ceremonies are available in SOME counties in California at the discretion of the county clerk (for example with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorer / County Clerk's Office, and on an as-needed emergency basis at the San Mateo County Clerk Division). In these cases, both applicants must be in the same room at the time of the appointment, and physically located within the State of California.

 

The provisions in Emergency Orders N-58-20,  N-08-21, and N-12-21 (issued Aug 16, 2021) have been extended through December 31, 2021. 

 

 

Hawaii

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓

 

Hawaii Governer David Ige issued an Executive Order temporarily allowing marriage ceremonies to be officiated via video conference while the state's emergency order is in effect. The changes to Section 572-1(7) say that "marriage ceremonies may be performed by synchronous, real-time, interactive audio and video telecommunications, so long as the parties to be married and the person performing the marriage ceremony shall all be physically present in Hawai'i and all of the other requisites for a valid marriage contract are met. This suspension shall apply retroactively to March 4, 2020, the beginning of the disaster emergency relief period." This emergency order has been extended through October 4, 2021. 

 

The order allows couples to apply for marriage licenses by appearing in front of an agent authorized to grant marriage licenses via video conference, while the emergency order is in effect. Couples can begin the marriage license application process online here

 

 

 

Illinois

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓

 

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued an order giving couples the right to apply for their marriage licenses and solemnize their marriages via video conference, starting May 1, 2020. This order was extended, and is set to expire on September 18th, 2021.

 

Couples can get married utilizing two-way audio-video communication technology (Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing platforms), but couples must still interact with their officiant in real time during the ceremony, which means no pre-recorded “I do’s".  The couple must also show photo identification and attest to being physically present in the state. 

 

As of May 3, 2021, marriage and civil union ceremonies are offered over Zoom teleconference by Cook County’s downtown Marriage Court. In-person ceremonies are available by appointment.

 

 

 

New Jersey

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 135, which suspends in-person requirements for receipt of a marriage license and marriage ceremonies for the duration of the state's Public Health Emergency (which was extended for an additional 30 days on May 14, 2021). 

 

It authorizes couples to obtain their marriage license and/or have their marriage solemnized via video conference. It also suspends the 72-hour waiting period between the license application and issuance, extends the period that a license is valid from 30 to 90 days, and waives fees imposed for the issuance of a second marriage or civil union license if the original has expired.

 

Required witnesses can attend the ceremony remotely via video conference. Signatures from the officiant, couple, and witnesses must be obtained before filing by transmitting, by fax, electronic or other means, a legible copy of the document to all signatories.

 

 

 

Utah

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓


In Utah County, Utah, marriage licenses can be applied for, signed (by both the couple and the officiant), and recorded with the county all online -- thanks to a fully digital and secure online system. After filing, a Certified Copy of the license is sent to the couple via email, with a paper copy sent by mail the following day. The officiant, couple, and two adult witnesses must attend the ceremony (all can attend virtually from different locations) and participate in real time, and the ceremony must be hosted from a physical location within the state.

 

Anyone getting married in the state can get their marriage license from any county, according to state law, and state residency is not required to apply for or file a marriage license in Utah County.  

 

For more details, we talked to clerks and officiants in Utah, which we have pulished in our, Guide to Virtual Wedding Ceremonies in Utah: For Officiants & Couples.

 

 

 

Michigan

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

 

Not all counties in Michigan are offering virtual marriage license services. For now, couples living in Washtenaw County (where Ann Arbor is located) can schedule a video conference appointment to apply for a marriage license remotely. We recommend you check with your county clerk for more information.

 

 

New York

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

 

As of June 25, 2021, online wedding ceremonies are no longer permitted in New York. New Yorkers can obtain a marriage license remotely (visit Project Cupid to learn more about how to apply for your marriage license online via video conference with the Office of the City Clerk). 

 

 

 

Ohio*

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

 

Ever the diligent professional wedding officiant, AMM Minister Atonn Smeltzer of Weddings for the Ages did very thorough research, and consulted his local government. After speaking with several county clerks' offices, he reached out directly to the Ohio Attorney General.

 

Atonn relayed that “it is the opinion of the Ohio Attorney General that a legally binding marriage ceremony could not be performed via online meeting - for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the following: the county marriage license forms are all still paper, and can't be signed online; and an officiant probably can't properly verify the identities of the participants in that kind of setting."

 

*Cuyahoga County is currently allowing couples to obtain their marriage license via video conference, but they cannot have their marriage solemnized virtually.\

 

 

 

Pennsylvania

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

 

Some counties in Pennsylvania are offering video conference appointments for marriage license applicants. York County, Allegheny County, and Bucks County are currently allowing applicants to schedule virtual appointments -- other counties may follow. Contact your clerk directly for more information.

 

 

 

Tennessee

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

 

AMM Minister Tim Hooker of Ocoee Ministries was told directly by Tennessee county clerks that officiants are physically “required to be in the presence” of the couple in order to legally perform marriage.

 

 

 

 

Other States

Many states are offering a two-step approach, allowing couples to begin the application process online before completing the paperwork in person, by appointment at their local office.

 

In states that have not officially authorized virtual weddings, nothing has changed, and we continue to urge couples to consult their local government officials or family law attorneys before proceeding with an online ceremony -- especially since each state's emergency provisions are being extended, revised, and expiring on an ongoing basis. 

 

We're also doing our best to update our Weddings By State pages, where you can find out what's going on in your state.

 


 

If you've been in touch with your local clerks or other government officials, we'd love to hear from you: [email protected]

 


 

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