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Published: Friday, Oct. 15th, 2021

How to Get Married in Alaska - Planning a wedding in The Last Frontier

Planning an Alaska wedding? This short guide will help -- from finding an officiant to completing the marriage license. 

 

 


From rugged beaches to charming fishing towns and enchanting forests, Alaska offers romantic and adventurous backdrops of every kind. It’s easy to see why Alaska is a top destination for weddings!

 

Applying for a marriage license in The Last Frontier will look different in each borough, 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 Alaska, scroll down for helpful links.)

 

 


1. Get yourself a sweetheart! 


Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
 

 

2. Find a wedding officiant in Alaska.


A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal. In Alaska, a friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony if they’ve been ordained (Get ordained online for free with AMM) or approved as a marriage commissioner by the court.  

 

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 Alaska:

 

A minister, priest, or rabbi of any church or congregation in the state, a commissioned officer of the Salvation Army, elders of churches and congregations anywhere within the state; marriage commissioners or judicial officers of the state; elected public officials; and others.

(Find a detailed list and more Alaska marriage laws here.)

 


3. Choose a date and a venue...


Alaska is home to breathtaking views, unique history, isolated and pristine natural beauty, diverse arts and food choices, and charismatic one-of-a-kind cities like Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Fairbanks that make it 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. 

 

 

Marriage License Quick Facts

3 Day Waiting Period
90 Day Expiration Period
7 Day Return Period

 

 

 

4. The marriage license.

 
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: 


Applying for your license


You’ll apply for your marriage license through a Vital Records Office in Juneau or Anchorage, or through your borough’s local courthouse if located outside of these cities. You don’t need to be an Alaska resident to marry there.

 

During the COVID crisis, vital records offices may mail your marriage license, which can take up to an additional 2 weeks to receive. 

 

Requirements to apply: 

 

 

  • Both parties must be 18 years old or meet the requirements for minors
  • Both parties must show a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state or military ID, passport, or Tribal/BIA card)
  • Both parties must sign the license in person, notarized by a Licensing Officer or Notary at the Juneau or Anchorage Vital Records Office or (if located outside of those cities) an Alaska Courthouse
  • Parties must give number of previous marriages and date of divorce or dissolution, and provide copy of Divorce Decree if divorced in the past 60 days 

 

If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in Alaska, we recommend contacting the court of vital records office closest to your venue to learn more. 

 


Cost 


The cost of a license will be about $60, and can be paid by check or money order. If you choose to appoint a marriage commissioner, this is an additional $25 fee. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.

 

 

Waiting period


Your license will be issued on the fourth day following your application (3 day waiting period). Note that this period may be longer during the COVID crisis.

 


Using and returning the license


An Alaska marriage license can be used anywhere in the state and expires 90 days after it’s been issued.

 

The license must be signed by each party to the marriage, two adult witnesses, and the marriage officiant following the ceremony, and returned by the officiant to a vital records office or your local court. (We’ll cover this more below.) 

 

The license must be returned within 7 days of the ceremony.

 

 

photo of Ketchikan Alaska at sunrise, with the sky and mountains a purple blue and pink

To get a marriage license in Ketchikan, head to the Ketchikan Court building downtown

 

 

5. Meet with your wedding officiant...


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 or keyword. 

 


6. The wedding day! 


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. For tips on how to complete the license, head here. Once it’s signed, your wedding officiant must record it with a local registrar within 7 days of the ceremony. Check with your local office for details.

 

Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married! 

 

 

Cruise ships in Juneau Alaska, showing the mountains and port with a couple cruise ships along the shore

Apply for your Juneau marriage license at the Vital Records Office

 

 

 

Are you officiating a wedding in Alaska?

 

 

 

 

Visit our Weddings by State: Alaska pages. 

 

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 officiating in Juneau and Anchorage.

 


 

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