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Published: Monday, May. 11th, 2020

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 November 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:

 

 

Arizona

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

 

The Maricopa County Clerk's office has made it possible for Arizona residents to apply for their marriage licenses fully online, without a trip to the office or a scheduled appointment through their "Online Marriage License Program."

 

Couples will need valid ID and a supported browser, access to a printer, along with other basic requirments. After a couple's application is accepted and approved, the license is mailed to the registered address for use. 

 

Virtual marriage ceremonies are only available through the court system, as outlined by Administrative Order 2021-172 signed Nov 11, 2021, but may not be available everywhere in the state. Couples in Pima County can request a Zoom ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace for a fee.

Updated Nov 15, 2021

 

 

California 

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

 

Virtual marriage license appointments are available in some counties in California at the discretion of the County Clerk's Office (for example in San Diego County and Orange County). Couples will begin the process online, but may need to complete their application by visiting the office in-person.  

 

Virtual civil ceremonies performed by the Clerk's Office are available in some counties, at their discretion (for example in Los Angeles County, Santa Clara County, and Alameda County). 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.

 

These services will remain available through January 1, 2024, under amendments made by AB583 and Chapter 620 to the California Family Code.

Updated Nov 14, 2021

 

 

Colorado

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

 

Colorado law currently allows couples to apply for their marriage licence remotely using video conference technology as long as: both parties to the online marriage or civil union appointment are in the same room, at the same time, in the state of Colorado for the appointment.

 

(These options are provided by Section 14-2-106.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes and will be effective until repealed on December 31, 2023.)

Updated Nov 15, 2021

 

 

Hawaii

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

 

The Hawaii Department of Health has updated their website, notifying marriage performers and couples that online ceremonies are no longer permitted in the state. The site states: 

 

"Online ceremonies authorized by 10th Supplemental Emergency Proclamation ended 8/5/2021. HRS Section 572-1 (7) returns as controlling statute: Online ceremonies will not be registered.
 
572-1(7) The marriage ceremony be performed in the State by a person or society with a valid license to solemnize marriage and the parties to be married and the person performing the marriage ceremony be all physically present at the same place and time for the marriage ceremony."

 

Couples can begin the marriage license application online at this time, but "Both the prospective spouses or prospective partners must appear together in person before a license agent to obtain a marriage or civil union license." (via HI DOH)

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

Illinois

Couples can apply for marriage licenses online ✓

Officiants can perform marriage via video conference ✓

 

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued an order (EO 2020-36) giving couples the right to apply for their marriage licenses and solemnize their marriages via video conference in May 1, 2020. This order has been extended several times (EO 2021-32) and will stay in effect through January 8, 2022. 

 

After that time, the order may or may not be extended again. We recommend contacting the Clerk's office in your county for the most current information.

 

In Cook County, couples can begin the process of applying for their marriage license online by visiting the Cook County Clerk's Virtual Marriage License Issuance via Online Video Call portal.

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

New Jersey

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

 

Previously, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 135, which temporarily suspended the in-person requirements for receipt of a marriage license and marriage ceremonies for the duration of the state's Public Health Emergency. However, Gov. Murphy ended the Public Health Emergency in June of 2021 (Exec. Order No. 244).

 

The New Jersey Dept. of Health website says that couples should contact their "Local Registrar to determine if license applications are handled during business hours or by appointment."

Updated Nov 14, 2021

 

 

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.

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

Michigan

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

 

Couples living in Washtenaw County (where Ann Arbor is located) can schedule a video conference appointment to apply for a marriage license remotely.

 

Not all counties in Michigan are offering virtual marriage license services. We recommend you check with your county clerk for more information.

Updated Nov 15, 2021

 

 

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). 

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

Ohio*

Officiants CANNOT perform marriage via video conference ✗

Couples can apply for marriage licenses 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."

 

Couples can apply for a marriage license online in some counties, but not all. (Some counties, including Franklin County, require couples to have 'verifiable medical concerns that make them unable to appear in person' in order to schedule a Zoom appointment.)

*Cuyahoga County is currently allowing couples to obtain their marriage license via video conference, but they cannot have their marriage solemnized virtually. Couples must pre-register for their license online before applying. 

 

We recommend contacting your county clerk directly for more information. 

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

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, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, and Bucks County are currently allowing applicants to schedule virtual appointments -- other counties may follow. 

 

However, the City of Philadelphia website says that "Both applicants [for a marriage license] must appear in person at the Register of Wills and provide the required documents, including identification."

 

Contact your local clerk's office directly for more information.

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

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.

 

Couples can begin the application process online before picking their license up in person, and some counties may even require this (such as Davidson County). 

 

Contact your clerk's office for the most up-to-date information, as this information may change frequently.

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

Texas

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

 

In some cases: As of September 1, 2021, couples can apply remotely for a marriage license only in those counties where a county clerk has been certified by the Texas Judicial Council (under Section 71.039 of the Texas Family Code). In other counties, couples can begin the application process online but will need to complete the process in person.

 

We recommend you contact your county clerk directly for more information on whether or not they've been certified. 

Updated Dec 21, 2021

 

 

Wisconsin

Couples can apply for marriage licenses via video conference ✓

 

Couples living in Dane County, Wisconsin can apply for a marriage license through virtual meetings scheduled through the Clerk's Office (held over Zoom), and don't need to attend their appointment from the same physical location.

 

Not all counties in Wisconsin are offering virtual appointments. We recommend you contact your local clerk's office for more information.

Updated Nov 15, 2021

 

 

 

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 (such as in Delaware and Michigan). In Oregon, couples can apply for a license online and receive their document by mail. 

 

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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