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Exec. Orders set to expire in Illinois this weekend: Marriage Licenses and Online Wedding Services affected

Published Thursday, Nov. 11th, 2021

Newlyweds kiss outside of a Chicago subway entrance

Updated Nov. 17th: 


This Executive Order (2020-36 : Marriage licenses) has been extended through December 11, 2021. For more details, head here.




In May of 2020, Gov. Pritzker issued an Executive Order outlining special guidelines for the marriage process in Illinois during the COVID-19 crisis. That order has been extended multiple times, but is scheduled to expire this weekend on November 13th. 


If the Order isn’t extended another time, engaged couples and wedding officiants in the state should prepare to return to pre-COVID ‘business as usual’ beginning Sunday, Nov 14th.


Update: This order was extended through Dec 11, 2021. 



This means returning to the pre-pandemic timelines and guidelines for applying for a marriage license with a city clerk, the expiration and return period when using a license, and more:



  • Couples will need to apply for their marriage license in person

Use of audio-visual technology for online application appointments will be discontinued


  • Couples will not be able to use their license until 24 hours after it’s issued

This waiting period, which was suspended under the order, will be reinstated


  • Online weddings will no longer be allowed

Use of audio-visual technology to solemnize remote weddings will be discontinued, weddings must be solemnized in person


This expiration date, which was suspended under the order, will be reinstated


  • Marriage licenses must be returned within the 10 day return period

This return-by date, which was extended under the order, will be reinstated


A return to pre-pandemic policies will impact some officiants more than others. Pritzker’s executive order left the use of audio-visual technology up to the discretion of county clerks, meaning that some counties never adopted new methods for appointments and ceremonies.


Other temporary changes -- such as being able to complete an application form online, or using a license the same day it’s issued -- have been appreciated by busy couples across the state.


Reverend Scarlett Mullikin, an AMM Minister and officiant in Kankakee County, tells us that although most semi-rural counties like hers chose not to offer virtual weddings or online marriage license appointment options for couples, she’s seen the benefit of same-day weddings for both busy couples and officiants firsthand.


Still, Rev. Scarlett says she's been apprehensive of the 60 day expiration and 10 day return period suspensions, and of “folks being caught off guard if or when that is lifted.” And she says that other officiants she’s spoken to have witnessed “couples not being able to start the name change process, or missing the window of proving marital status change for their employment sponsored medical insurance,” due to confusing deadlines and marriage licenses not being filed in a timely way. 


For now, the Cook County Clerk’s website and automated information system both reflect a return to pre-pandemic policies, and more information should be available on Monday, following the weekend break.



We recommend you contact your local County Clerk’s office directly for the most up-to-date information, as these details may change rapidly over the coming weeks. 


Visit Illinois Executive & Administrative Orders to see all recent proclamations related to the coronavirus pandemic. 



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Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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