Can You Get Married Without a Marriage License in the US?
Published May 20, 2022
Can you get married without a marriage license? Yes, but it will not be legally binding. Ceremony and celebration are perhaps the most memorable elements of a wedding. However, if you want to get married legally, you need to sign a marriage license first. This paper legally binds two people together and is important if you intend to change your name. Acquiring a marriage license and, later, a marriage certificate requires multiple steps.
What distinguishes a marriage license from a marriage certificate? First, you obtain a marriage license, which is an application to get married. Next, you will receive a marriage certificate once the form has been completed, the ceremony has occurred, it has been signed, and your officiant has submitted it to the county. Finally, the couple will receive a certified copy of the marriage certificate following the wedding, which will serve as proof of their marriage.
Getting Married Without a License
Back to “can you get married without a marriage license?” There are numerous ways for couples to devote their lives to one another; one is referred to as a “commitment ceremony.” Commitment ceremonies are actual ceremonies, minus the red tape and stress of a legal ceremony on the same day as the exchange of vows. It is an opportunity for couples to exchange vows or have a ceremony based on their personal ideas and values.
Can a pastor marry a couple without a marriage license? Yes, as commitment ceremonies have no restrictions. In addition, several states allow you to solemnize your vows without a court or civil officiant during commitment ceremonies, and you can even have someone sing your vows with you.
Commitment ceremonies can even seem like a legally binding wedding. However, the couple will be at no point to sign documents and make the wedding legal by government standards. Unknowingly, you may have attended a wedding ceremony that was a commitment ceremony.
“Spiritual,” “symbolic,” and “promise” ceremonies are alternative terms for commitment ceremonies.
Choosing Commitment Ceremony Over Legal Weddings
There are several reasons or factors why couples opt for a commitment ceremony over a legally binding ceremony. For some, their partnership may not be legal in their region or country, others may not want a legal marriage, or it may be difficult or impossible to get legally married.
Before then, most same-sex marriages were commitment ceremonies since the United States did not recognize same-sex marriages. After the passing of marriage equality, same-sex couples could officially sign the documents and become legally married. Sadly, same-sex marriage is still banned in some areas of the world.
Commitment ceremonies for heterosexual couples are just as popular but placed under different conditions. Many of these couples were legally married in the past, perhaps for tax, immigration, or child-rearing purposes. Still, they did not have a ceremony or celebration, so they arranged a commitment ceremony at a later time. In instances where previous relationships, such as divorces and separations, have not been finalized, a commitment is a method to celebrate while still waiting for other details to be finalized.
Many polyamorous couples opt for a commitment ceremony, as the law does not recognize their partnership. Without government recognition, these groups can celebrate their love and partnership through commitment ceremonies.
A Marriage Without a License
The planning of a commitment ceremony is similar to that of a wedding ceremony. The exchange of vows and rings is a normal part of any wedding, but the words and details you choose to include are what make it memorable for your relationship. Of course, you can always ignore the rules and focus on what matters to you.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is a professional writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage others to share their voices as well.