Booking a wedding date
Whether you are getting married right away or planning for a future date, I always recommend to couples that they schedule their preferred wedding date on my calendar as soon as they know what it is. You may want to get married on a specific, special day, or have future commitments or travel planned.
While I always try to accommodate requests for certain days, the only way to guarantee your preferred time and date is to be sure to book it as soon as you know what it is. Holidays and weekends are popular and may fill up, and I also have personal time commitments where I will be unavailable.
Getting the marriage license
The Utah County Clerk’s website has information on remote (online) marriage and FAQ sections which are all about how to get married with online ceremonies. You may wish to visit these pages before beginning your journey here. I have tried to simplify some of the info and provide answers to questions that they do not cover.
- You will fill in the license sequentially – with one person initiating the process and then entering their fiancé’s email. Utah County will then send an email to the second person for their identification and information.
- Each person must provide a photo of an official government issued identification document such as a passport or drivers license (see this list of accepted documents) as well as taking a current selfie during the application process which is used to match you to the identification – see this video for selfie tips.
Please NOTE: This is the step which causes the most problems for couples. A clear, high quality and readable photo of your ID without flash spots or glare will help immensely. Taking your selfie against a blank white or plain background, with head and shoulders only visible and matching the ID photo as best you can will help with this step a lot. Things to avoid are “selfie” angles, photo filters, colors or shadows that obscure your face and other things that may limit the automated system from comparing your photo to your ID.
- If you have problems uploading your documents or photos, don’t worry! – Just fill out the Troubleshooting Request and they will attend to the issue when their offices are open. You can also email your photos and license details (Names, email addresses) to firstname.lastname@example.org and they can help you with the process.
- You must pay for the completed license. The Utah County list of fees is very confusing, but for most people paying from the USA, you will choose the option “Base license fee without discount” for $70. For international couples it is “Base License fee without discount – $145”. Both the discount for attending marriage counseling and the donation for victims of domestic violence are optional but you may choose them if you wish.
PLEASE NOTE: Choosing to attend the marital counseling sessions will slow down getting your license by WEEKS since you need to have the class completion certificate to obtain the $20 discount. This is not recommended for online wedding couples as normally the ceremonies are a bit more urgent.
- The wedding license fee covers BOTH individuals in the couple, you need only pay once.
- You will get an email with your license from Utah County with the subject line beginning: “Completed! You have been issued Utah County Marriage License” (be sure to check spam folders or junk mail if you don’t see it). Forward this email to me when you get it.
- If you have any problems at all with this process outside of uploading your photos (see above), please contact Utah County for help – they are great at customer service and very responsive.
- Utah County Clerk / Auditor – Marriage License Office
Marriage Clerks: 801.851.8108
Marriage Supervisor: 801.851.8226
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 7:30 pm, Sat: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (Mountain Time)
- Utah County Clerk / Auditor – Marriage License Office
Cost – $70 to $145 for a Utah County marriage license, based on final shipping address.
How is it legal?
From the website of the Utah County Clerk –
“All certificates of completed marriages issued and certified by Utah county have gone through all three of these steps. The couple has legally applied for and been issued a marriage license, a valid wedding ceremony within the state has taken place, and the marriage has been registered with the county. Any couple with certified copy of their marriage certificate has been legally married according to Utah law and the laws of the United States.”
In essence, this means that the marriage is valid according to both state and federal laws in the United States, and may be recognized by most countries. Thus, I can perform an online ceremony for any couple, but legality outside the US may or may not be accepted. Please contact an immigration specialist or attorney if you are concerned about legality in your country.
What about international couples?
I will preface all of this by saying I am not an immigration attorney and any questions about the legality in your specific country should be answered by someone specializing in that area.
However, in general this new way of getting married online is being treated just as if the couple had traveled to another country, in this case the United States, gotten married there, and then traveled to one or the other’s country afterward. Because it is such a new way of getting married, and since much the globe is still living under a worldwide pandemic, there may be exceptions being made that have not been in the past, or legal questions that are still under review in some areas.
Do I need an Apostille?
If you are using your wedding certificate outside the US, you almost certainly will need one. However, not all countries accept apostilled documents. You may wish to check with officials in your area.
Again quoting from the Utah County Clerk’s website –
“Most countries recognize marriages solemnized in other countries, but that is a question for the individual country. However, when recognizing a certified legal document from another country additional authentication may be required. One form of additional certification is called an apostille. The government agency that provides apostilles for Utah marriage licenses is the Utah Lt. Governor’s office. Additional information at: Authentications.Utah.gov.”
The process to request an Apostille is not digital at this time. I have tried to take this information and distill it into concrete steps to follow.
Here is a list of countries that accept apostille for wedding licenses as per the the Hague Convention of 1961
Here are a few articles I have found about couples using Utah Online Weddings to get married:
Do we have to be together, or in the US?
No, you can be located anywhere. Both members of the couple can be located in different countries. You do not need to be a US citizen to use this service. The witnesses can also attend from other locations. However, wedding party participants (the couple and the witnesses) MUST all have a stable connection to the internet and be able to join the conference from a device that supports both video and audio. Please test your equipment prior to the ceremony.
The key to the Online Weddings magic is that the officiant MUST be physically located in the state of Utah and must be the host of the online conference.
If you are intending to marry for immigration purposes, please note that most international laws require the couple to physically consummate the marriage at some point after the ceremony. (Disclaimer: I am not an immigration lawyer, but there are a lot of smart people who are much more informed about these things. Some more articles are linked below.)
How does it all work?
The step-by-step requirements to fulfill an online wedding are as follows:
- One person MUST be located geographically in Utah (that’s me!). Be wary of sites advertising online weddings that do not have a Utah-based officiant. The Utah County Clerks office has begun verifying Utah residency for their approved remote wedding officiants. Ask to see their “Utah County Designee Officiant” certificate which is issued only to their vetted officiants.
- The couple books an appointment for an online wedding with me.
- My system will automatically generate a Zoom conference and that is included in your booking appointment.
- The couple MUST obtain their license ONLY from the Utah County Clerk.
- The couple MUST send the officiant (forward to me) via email the link to the wedding license from the Utah County Clerk. The ceremony will not begin until I have this link available.
- The couple MUST provide two witnesses over the age of 18 and they need to be able to tell me their full legal names. It is not necessary for them to speak fluent English.
- ALL wedding party participants MUST be visible and audible to begin the conference. This refers only to the couple and their legal witnesses. The ceremony can be streamed to non-participating wedding guests that do not appear on-camera. You can invite guests – 50 streams for a Simple wedding and 90 streams for a Custom ceremony. Once the wedding witnesses identity has been established, they can step out of camera view.
- The persons getting married will answer in turn when I ask the question “Do you ________ come here of your own free will and accord to be joined in marriage to _____” (This is the “I Do” part) PLEASE NOTE – It is very important that when you are asked this question, that you answer in the affirmative. DO NOT JOKE or PAUSE, AND SAY NO, NAH, or MAYBE, or even pretend to want to say no or have any doubt about it. Doing this will end the ceremony immediately. If there is any doubt that a participant is under duress to marry, then I cannot proceed. Both participants MUST say “I do”, “Yes” or some other appropriate affirmative during this part.
- Following the ceremony, I will fill in the wedding license affirmations stating the location and witness names.
- Once the license has been registered, a digital copy will be sent via email from the Utah County Clerk. This does not come from me, it is issued by the government of Utah County.
- Once you have your certified wedding license via email, you can then proceed to request an apostille if necessary or begin any needed document change.
How do I get a certified copy of the license?
To be clear – the PDF that the couple will get via email and following the license being submitted to the Utah County Clerk is a fully valid and certified copy that can printed by you and can be used for various legal purposes (excepting getting the apostille). However, the couple will also receive one certified paper copy of their license from the Utah County Clerk as part of their initial application. This paper license has a stamp and signature on the back of the license and an embossed seal on the front, but is just as official as the certificate that you will receive via email for most purposes. You may request additional paper copies as needed. I do not have the authority to issue licenses, my role is only to verify and attest that the wedding has been performed according to Utah county and state law.
If the couple needs additional authentication of the license (an apostille) for international law, you can read all about how to apostille your Utah Wedding Certificate.
TL;DR – what I can and can’t do for you
I can: Officiate a legal wedding as per the laws of the United States, and include anything in the wedding service that you would like to have in it, such as participation with family members or other requests. I can sign the official certificate form and verify that you and your witnesses are present in the call and over the age of 18. I can perform a destination wedding at nearly any location within the geographical boundaries of the state of Utah.
I cannot: Provide a wedding license or assist in obtaining one, furnish witnesses, provide an apostille, answer legal questions about immigration or visa processes in any country, or change anything on your wedding license before or after you apply for it.