Published: Friday, Sep. 24th, 2021
From scenic lakefront views, to wide open skies and dense green forests, Indiana offers romantic backdrops of every kind. And considering the state’s gorgeous venues, restaurants, museums, and monuments, it's easy to see why it’s a top destination for weddings.
Applying for a marriage license in the Hoosier State will look different in each county, so it’s important to get a head start on the planning process to avoid unnecessary stress. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you begin.
(If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding in Indiana, scroll down for helpful links.)
Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal.
In Indiana, a friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony, if they’ve been ordained. (Get ordained online for free with AMM.)
If you want to hire a professional, the state has many qualified independent officiants to choose from. The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in Indiana: A member of the clergy of a religious organization (even if the cleric does not perform religious functions for an individual congregation), such as a minister of the gospel, a priest, bishop, archbishop, rabbi, or iman; a judge, various clerks, mayors, and legislators, and members of The Friends Church, The German Baptists, The Bahai faith, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (Find more Indiana marriage laws here.)
Indiana is home to hip thriving college towns, fast cars, Amish countryside, architectural triumphs, and dozens of natural wonders. With a surprisingly lively arts and culture scene, and bustling cities like Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Bloomington, it’s a favorite for destination weddings. Whether you’re dreaming of a big to-do or a romantic elopement for two -- -- there’s something for everyone!
Popular dates, venues, and officiants book up fast, so start early. And remember you’ll need permission (and a permit) to use a public space, such as a city park or recreational area. Permits can take weeks to process, so factor this into your timeline, too.
Alright, time to make sure your wedding’s legal! We’ll break down each part of the marriage license process, one step at a time:
You’ll apply for your marriage license by visiting the Clerk's Office together in person. If at least one of the parties to your marriage is a state resident, you can apply for your license in any county. Out-of-state couples must apply for their license in the county where it will be used. You don’t need to be an Indiana resident to marry there.
Both applicants must be 18 years of age or older (or meet the requirements for minors) and bring proof of their age and identity, for example a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate. Applicants will also need to provide their parents’ full names, birthplace, and last known address.
If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in Indiana, we recommend contacting the Clerk’s Office closest to your venue to learn more.
The cost of a license varies by county, ranging from about $25 to $65. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.
There is no waiting period between the time an application is filed and when your marriage license is issued and can be used.
If at least one of the parties to your marriage is a state resident, you can use your marriage license in any county. Out-of-state couples must use their license in the county where it was issued. Your license expires 60 days after it is issued.
The license must be signed by each party to the marriage and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the Clerk’s Office by the officiant. (We’ll cover this more below.)
The license must be returned within 30 days of the ceremony.
To get a marriage license in Marion County, head to downtown Indianapolis!
Once you’ve chosen a date, a venue, and have your marriage license details worked out, you’ll be ready to meet with your wedding officiant to plan the ceremony!
This is when things start to come into focus. You’ll talk about the tone of your ceremony, the ‘vibe’ you want to create for your guests, and any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. You and your officiant might meet a few more times to exchange more ideas, fine-tune a script, or rehearse the ceremony leading up to the wedding day.
AMM’s website is full of resources to help you decide what kind of ceremony you want, tips on working well with your officiant, and advice on keeping your ceremony authentic and on budget. Visit articles tagged for couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category and keyword.
Aside from yourselves, the most important thing you’ll bring with you on the wedding day is your marriage license -- because no license, no marriage. Your officiant won’t be able to perform the wedding without having a license present (even if you have it at home), so make sure it’s with you.
After the ceremony, you and your officiant will sign the license. In Indiana, this means completing the original and duplicate certificate provided by the clerk. For tips on how to complete the license, head here. Once they are signed, your wedding officiant must return the duplicate and license to marry to the clerk of the circuit court within 30 days. Check with your county for details.
Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married!
The Allen County Clerk's Office, in Fort Wayne, Indiana
(image via Allen County Clerk)
We’ve got everything you need to understand the state’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, and helpful tips for several cities in the state, including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and South Bend.
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!