If you've just set a date for your wedding, this can be an exciting time for the two of you! Don't let the marriage license laws of Pennsylvania put a dent in your wedding plans. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a Pennsylvania marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your wedding date.
Requirements may vary as each county in Pennsylvania could have their own requirements.
Marriage License ID Requirement in Pennsylvania:
You will need to present photo identification such as your driver's license, state ID, or passport. Social Security numbers will be requested.
You do not have to be a resident of Pennsylvania. However, some counties may require that you both speak English or bring with you someone who can translate.
You will need to show a certified copy of the final divorce decree, with court raised seal, of your divorce or annulment decree or know the date of death of a deceased spouse.
If you have resumed your maiden name, related documents must be shown. Foreign documents must be translated into English.
Waiting Period in Pennsylvania:
There's a three (3) day waiting period in Pennsylvania.
You can request a waiver of the waiting period.
Send a letter as early as possible addressed to the County Register, requesting a Waiver and your reason why. Your letter should contain both names, a telephone number, proof of your wedding date (a wedding invitation will work), and a return address so a letter of confirmation to be sent to you. There is an additional $15.00 fee in cash only for this service.
Fees in Pennsylvania:
It will cost you approximately $40 - $75 to get married in Pennsylvania. Cash only. Please verify with the County Register the cost of a marriage license in the county where you want to get married. Additional surcharges have been added to the basic cost of a marriage license.
Proxy Marriages in Pennsylvania:
Cousin Marriages in Pennsylvania:
No. You may not marry your first cousin. See Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 23, Chapter 13, § 1304, section (e) for more information.
Common-Law Marriages in Pennsylvania.:
No. However, your common-law marriage will be recognized in Pennsylvania if it was created before January 1, 2005.
Same Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania:
Yes, as of May 2014.
If either of you are under 18 years of age, you must pay an additional $5.00, show your Birth Certificate, and have the written consent of a parent or guardian. Anyone under 16 years of age needs parental consent and the approval of a Judge of the Orphans Court.
Any ordained minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation, Judges, and Justices of Peace may perform wedding ceremonies. Mayors of cities and boroughs are also authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.
See Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 23, Chapter 15 for more information.
Note: A marriage performed by a minister ordained via the Internet was declared invalid because the minister did not have a congregation.
Source: "Marriage Performed by Internet-Ordained “Minister” Declared Invalid" 9/07/2007.
Self-Uniting Marriage License:
Yes. If you want this type of license, you need to inform the clerk before you begin the application process.
8/17/07 Update: We heard from a couple in Allegheny County who was denied the opportunity to officiate at their own ceremony. We reviewed the Pennsylvania statutes and did not see any changes in the laws. We also checked the legislative sessions for 2007 and couldn't find any change in the laws. Since this could be a county issue, we recommend double-checking with the clerk at the marriage license office where you intend to obtain your marriage license.
10/07/09 Update: A reader checked with several Pennsylvania counties about self-uniting marriage licenses. Two counties, Venango County and Indiana County said no; Westmoreland County said yes. We could not verify that information on the county web sites. Laws can change quickly, so do double check with the county where you plan on applying for your marriage license.
A Pennsylvania marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days. What this means is you two have 60 days to get married and have your marriage license officially recorded. If you wait past that time frame, you can't get married without applying for and paying for another marriage license.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage:
For marriage records, you will need to contact the Marriage License Clerk, County Court House in the county where the license was issued.
Still Confused About Getting Married in Pennsylvania?
If you are still confused about the different terms used in the marriage license application process, check out these articles:
PLEASE NOTE:State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.
It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.