Vermont is a great state to have a wedding for a number of reasons, including the fact that anyone can officiate the ceremony, even a friend or relative who is not a minister or judge.
Before you make plans, be sure you know how and when to get your marriage license. You will need to apply at a county clerk's office and follow a few requirements. For a list of all of the County Clerks in the state of Vermont, listed by County, click here. Since the license is valid for two months, you have plenty of time to get this taken care of before your wedding date.
Residency and ID Requirements
You do not have to be a resident of Vermont to be married in the state. However, residents need to apply for a license in the town where one of them resides. Nonresidents can apply for a license at any town clerk in Vermont. In either case, you can get married anywhere in the state.
Some towns may allow only one of you to appear in person, while others will require both of you. There may also be an online form available that lets you begin filling out the application. Because of this and other local variances, it's always best to contact the specific town clerk's office where you'll be applying to find out the details.
When you go to the office to fill out the application, you will both have to show proper identification. This requirement can also vary, but a valid driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport is usually acceptable. A certified copy of your birth certificate can be helpful as well.
Additionally, be prepared with information about your parents. This includes their full birth names and the states where they were born.
If either of you has been married before, you will need to supply information about those marriages to the clerk. In the case of a spouse's death, the date should be all that's needed. For divorced individuals, you will need to know the date when the divorce was finalized and, possibly, where. If you've been married more than once, you'll need to provide information on how and when each ended.
While you may not need to bring a certified death certificate or divorce decree with you, it's not a bad idea to have one. The clerk's job is to ensure you're legally able to be married and having proof that you are can clear up any questions that may come up.
If the two of you are in a civil union with one another, you can get married by applying for a marriage license.
Vermont does not allow for a covenant marriage option.
There is no waiting period in Vermont. As soon as you have the license, you can have a wedding.
The cost for a marriage license is generally $60. Some towns will only accept cash, while some take other forms of payment.
No blood tests are required.
After You Get Your Marriage License
By Vermont law, you both must sign the license and deliver the license to the person who will conduct your wedding ceremony before the marriage can be performed. After the ceremony, the person who performs the ceremony (officiant) will complete the sections concerning the date, place and officiant information, and sign your license. At that point, the license becomes a marriage certificate. The officiant must return the certificate to the town clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days after the wedding, so that your marriage can be officially registered.
Vermont does not allow marriages by proxy. You must both be present at the wedding ceremony.
Vermont does allow first cousins to marry but within certain limitations. In the past, the Vermont Department of Health has said, "First cousins, who are Vermont residents, or residents of another state where marriage between first cousins is allowed, may marry each other in Vermont. You cannot marry in Vermont to evade the laws of the state where you live."
In this matter, it's recommended that you call the town clerk where you want to get married to verify this requirement.
The state does, however, specifically state that most close relatives cannot marry. It's illegal to marry a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle.
Common-law marriages are not recognized in Vermont.
On September 1, 2009, Vermont became the fourth state to allow gay marriages. It was also the first state to approve same-sex marriage by a vote of the legislature.
Additionally, same-sex marriages were protected by the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 2015. In the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Justices ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to marry. This decision legalized gay marriages throughout the country.
If either of you is 16 or 17, you will need the consent of a parent or legal guardian. They will need to appear with you at the clerk's office and sign the affidavit giving consent on the back of the marriage license.
Anyone under the age of 16 cannot be married in Vermont.
Authorized persons to perform weddings in Vermont include judges and justices, justices of the peace, and ordained or licensed members of the clergy. Non-resident clergy will need to file for a permit from the county probate court where the marriage will take place.
By Act 148, Vermont allows you to have a friend or a family member be the officiant of your wedding through the Temporary Officiant program. After paying the $100 fee and registering for the program, anyone meeting the requirements can be authorized to solemnize a specific wedding ceremony.
Additionally, in Vermont, you do not need to have official witnesses at the wedding ceremony.
Marriage License Timeline
The Vermont marriage license is valid for 60 days. This gives you two months to have the wedding ceremony after receiving the license. After the ceremony, your officiant has 10 days to file it with the town clerk that issued the license.
Certificate of Marriage Copies
Your marriage license does not automatically include a certified copy of your marriage certificate. When applying for the license, you can talk to the town clerk about procedures to get one. Also, two weeks after the ceremony, a copy can be requested at the town clerk's office or you can request on through the Vermont Department of Health's Vital Records Unit. The cost of each copy is about $10.
The information in this article is intended to help you get started in the process of getting a marriage license in the state of Vermont. It should not be regarded as legal advice and the laws and requirements can change. For these reasons, it's best to contact the local town clerk's office to verify the information and consult an attorney with any legal questions.