Planning a wedding is a big undertaking, to be sure. But sorting out the legal paperwork before you say "I Do" can be even more challenging. To help get you organized before your Big Day, The Huffington Post has put together a comprehensive, state-by-state guide to getting married. Read on for everything you need to know about getting hitched in all 50 states. --Susan Ory Powers
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
Tying the knot in the Commonwealth of Virginia does not require residency in the state, and there is no waiting period after obtaining a license.
The age of consent for marriage is 18 years and older. Those younger than 18 but older than 16 may marry with the permission of a parent or legal guardian. This permission may be granted in person before the town clerk or via a written, notarized declaration. Special provisions can also be made if the female minor is pregnant.
Wedding licenses are issued by clerks of circuit courts or their designated deputies in any Virginia county or municipality. The cost is $30. Although
does allow for affidavits to be filed attesting to license information if a bride or groom cannot be present to apply for a license, it is simpler for both to be present for license application. The wedding ceremony must occur within 60 days of the issuance of the marriage license, or the license will expire.
Virginia marriage license requirements include Social Security numbers and proofs of age. Official pictured identification is necessary and can be any of the following: a driver's license or state ID, U.S. passport, certificate of U.S. citizenship, certificate of naturalization, unexpired foreign passport, alien registration card with photo or U.S. military card. Information needed for the license includes date and place of birth, race, number of previous marriages, marital status (if previously married, i.e., widowed, divorced), education completed, residence, name of father and maiden name of mother. No documentation is required for divorcees. Each party is required to take a legal oath that all information on the license is true. Falsification of information is subject to a
Witnesses And Officiants
of a court or district court may act as wedding officiants. Other officiants,
or civil, must be authorized to perform ceremonies by the Virginia Circuit Court. Out-of-state ministers may also be authorized, but since the approval process may take up to a month, couples should make allowances for the process in planning their wedding date.
that has no ordained clergy, one person chosen by the society may be authorized to complete the marriage license by the circuit court. Many circuit clerk's offices provide a list of eligible religious and civil officiants. No witnesses to the ceremony are required by Virginia law; however, particular rites may stipulate the need for witnesses.
Same-sex marriages are illegal in Virginia. According to
of the Constitution of Virginia, ratified in 2006, "only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions." Authored by Republican Bob Marshall, who was a Virginia House delegate, and opposed by Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, the amendment was on the Nov. 7, 2006, statewide ballot and was passed by 57 percent of the voters.
further clarifies that same-sex unions legalized in other U.S. states are void and contractual rights of such are "unenforceable" within Virginia.
Did You Know?
Common-law marriages may not legally originate in Virginia. However, according to
, if a person has entered a common-law marriage in another state where these unions are legal, that union is recognized in Virginia. Marriage between first cousins is allowed in Virginia, but not marriages to parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. While Virginia may be for lovers, there seem to be certain restrictions on marital consummation: Couples might want to check out the Virginia Code for illegal sex acts before the honeymoon, or risk a
See the full set of marriage requirements at the Virginia Department of Health and in the Virginia Code.
A name change following marriage in Virginia can be a hassle. It's a good idea to start by getting certified copies of your marriage certificate, filing a name change petition, then changing your name on your driver's license and vehicle registration. Name changes must also be submitted to your employer, as well as the Social Security Administration and the U.S. passport agency. Also consider changing your name on voter registration forms, bank accounts, credit cards, frequent-flier accounts and utilities providers.