How to Get Legally Married in Virginia

April 7, 2015

When I lived in Virginia Beach and was getting married in Williamsburg, according to the City of Williamsburg back in 2009, I was shocked to find out that my best friend's husband who was an ordained and legit church pastor in Florida would not be able to officiate our wedding because of his being from out-of-state... yet the City of Virginia Beach allowed this with proper documentation and a one-time required application. Every county and city is different even in Hampton Roads when it comes to getting legally married!

While most all of us can agree that wedding ceremonies are much more sentimental and meaningful, we unfortunately can't ignore the legal side of things when it comes to two joining their lives together. So today, I have the wonderful Cris of Kiss My Tulle who did all the research for you on how to get legally married here in the state of Virginia!

Application, ID, and Residency Requirement: A license for marriage in Virginia is issued by the clerk or his/her deputy clerk of a circuit court in any county or city in the Commonwealth of Virginia (you can find a list of Virginia Circuit Courts here). The ceremony may be performed anywhere in the State. Applicants must, under oath, furnish information required to complete the marriage record. These items are material, and the applicant may be subject to prosecution for perjury for violation of the portion of the statutes which requires this information. For divorced persons, there is no statutory waiting period before marriage after the divorce is granted unless remarriage is specifically prohibited by a court. In some cases, clerks may require documentary proof of age or termination of previous marriage. Most of the offices of the clerks of court are closed on Saturdays.

There is no blood test requirement for marriage in Virginia. There is no waiting period required between application and issuance of the license and a couple may be married immediately after the issuance of a license. The marriage license issued in Virginia is for marriages to be performed in Virginia ONLY.

In Virginia the following marriages are prohibited,

  • A marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one or both parties.
  • A marriage between an ancestor and or descendant; or between a brother and a sister; or between an uncle and a niece; or between an aunt and a nephew; whether the relationship is by half or the whole blood or adoption.
  • When either of the parties lacks capacity to consent to the marriage because of mental incapacity or infirmity.
  • "Common Law" marriages are not valid if entered into in Virginia or any other jurisdiction, which does not permit them for its residents.

Under 18: The minimum age for marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is sixteen (16) years for both persons intending to marry; however, if either party is under eighteen (18), consent to the marriage must be given by the father, mother, or legal guardian. This may be done in person by the parent or legal guardian before the person issuing the license or by written consent properly sworn to before a notary public. Special provisions are made in Virginia law to allow marriage for under age parties when the female is pregnant and for situations in which under age applicants have no parent or legal guardian.

How Much a Marriage License Cost?: In Virginia, most marriage licenses cost $30.00, but may vary depending on the county. This can be payable by cash or credit card (available only at some circuit courts); cash is always king.

Officiants: A minister of any religious denomination must be authorized by a circuit court to celebrate the rites of matrimony. To obtain such authorization, the minister must produce proof of his ordination and regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member. In addition, the court in each city and county has appointed secular persons who are eligible to perform civil marriage ceremonies.

License Validity: In Virginia, a license is valid for sixty (60) days after the license is issued.

Equality Rights: Same sex marriage is legal in Virginia.

Name Change: Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. Check out Tidewater and Tulle's feature on how to change your last name for more specific information.

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. Please know that it is very important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.

- Cris

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Photo by Jessica Ryan Photography. To see this boho chic backyard wedding, head over to the full feature here on Tidewater and Tulle.