AMERICAN WEDDINGS BLOG

Published: Monday, May. 11th, 2020

Tags: news, regulations, marriage-law, technology, coronavirus, virtual-weddings, wedding-and-ceremony-planning

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

Zoomweddings

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

 

(Updated March 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:

 

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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, effective May 4, suspends in-person requirements for receipt of a marriage license and marriage ceremonies. 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.

 

New York

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓

 

Procedures for Virtual Marriage Ceremonies Conducted by Non-City Clerk’s Office Marriage Officiants

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely, and clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.

 

“Video marriage ceremonies. There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage,” Cuomo said. “You can do it by Zoom. It’s ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

 

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.

 

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."

 

The order also 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.  

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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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Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!