Published: Monday, Nov. 16th, 2020
Utah just became the first state in the country to recognize a virtual Zoom wedding between partners living not just in different states, but in different countries. And this legal Zoom wedding isn’t just the first in the country, it’s the first of its kind anywhere.
Here at American Marriage Ministries, we often hear from couples or officiants that want to conduct an online Zoom or Skype wedding where one or more of the participants lives in a different country or state. We get it, love transcends borders, so why shouldn’t marriage?
Now, it looks like we might be able to offer some advice. Below are the details of a story we will be following closely.
Only a few short weeks ago, Scott Marmon, a man living in New York, married his partner, Augustina Montefiori, a woman living in Argentina, with the help of a Utah judge and Utah’s fully digital marriage licensing system. The union was made possible by a series of changes to Utah’s marriage certificate signing and recording process -- changes that started before the coronavirus pandemic began, and have continued to evolve over the past few months.
As reported by The Daily Mail, Scott and Augustina Montefiori were married virtually after spending 10 months apart. The international couple had been together for three years, long distance for one, and had planned to marry in March before the COVID-19 crisis changed their plans. Like couples around the nation, rather than give up they got creative.
This marriage highlights an exciting option for couples separated by the travel restrictions in different states and different countries, who are unable to reunite at this time due to health and safety risks and regulations.
How was this ceremony possible? AMM spoke with a Utah County Clerk in Provo, south of Salt Lake City, to find out the details.
First, several years ago, Utah County adopted a law allowing for digital signatures on legal documents. When the Utah County marriage licensing system was updated, this allowed couples to apply for, and sign, their marriage licenses electronically using a secure digital system. The couples receive a QR code and link to their license, which they can then send to their officiant.
Next, after the ceremony is performed, either in-person or virtually, officiants are able to follow this code or link to the couple’s marriage license, sign it digitally, and file it electronically with the county.
Note: There is no residency requirement to apply for a marriage license in Utah. There is, however, a requirement that the license be used in Utah. This means that for weddings where a couple is attending virtually, the officiant performing the wedding must be physically located in Utah at the time of the ceremony and designated as host. To read more information on Video Conference Ceremonies head to our Utah Virtual Wedding Officiant Regulations page.
Interestingly, Utah moved their marriage licensing and recording process online before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Their forward thinking has proven increasingly helpful to couples across the state, as they try to lessen risk and practice good safety habits by doing more things remotely. As other state governments become more creative with their own laws, and more services move online (as they have done in NYC with Project Cupid), we look forward to seeing the new ways technology helps to bring couples together.
That said, the Utah County Clerk’s office noted that these marriages and virtual ceremonies may not ensure that international partners separated by travel restrictions can be reunited, and that all immigration and travel laws should be checked and followed closely by each couple.
Updated August 13, 2021
To find out more about performing marriage (in Utah or any other state), and to apply for ordination with us online, head to our Weddings by State index.