Everything you want, you can already get online: shoes, cars, and now, even a legal marriage certificate! Getting married online is a growing trend, with couples choosing this option for many reasons including convenience, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to express their love on a grand scale. 

But with all the different requirements and potential pitfalls, is it really possible? Or is getting married online an easy way to get into trouble? Let’s take a look at how you can get an online marriage certificate, what you need to do before you can start your search for the perfect wedding dress and ring, how much it costs, and how long it might take.

Let’s get this out of the way: Are online marriages legal?

When it comes to virtual marriage ceremonies, the answer is yes, it's possible. As of 2020, to obtain a valid US marriage certificate, you don't even have to put pen to paper or enter a courtroom.

In 2019, the Utah County marriage license office and Utah County information technology departments started a year-long effort to create a fully digital end-to-end marriage license issuance and recording process, as part of a campaign promise to "bring the Clerk/office Auditor's into the 21st century." Couples now have the option to apply for a marriage license, do the ceremony, and have the officiant submit the necessary paperwork for the marriage certificate all online as of January 2020. This Utah online marriage procedure did away with the requirement that a couple must physically visit the office to get and return their marriage license.

The best part? Anyone can get legally married online through Utah's process, since you don't have to be a resident or US citizen! 

For example, an online marriage company called Courtly walks you through the whole process of getting legally married online. At the end, you’ll receive a legal US marriage certificate through Utah County. Since marriages that are legally performed by a county within the United States are recognized across the country, it would be the same as getting it at your local county, except it’s expedited online.

What does having a virtual marriage look like?

If you want to get married online, the process is fairly simple. You will need to apply for your marriage license online and pay a fee. The application form can be found on the website of your state's department of public health or welfare (if one exists). You'll also need to provide proof that both parties are over 18 years old, such as a driver's license number or passport number. 

Once completed, it takes about three days for the state agency in charge of issuing marriage certificates within its jurisdiction (usually this is the county clerk) to issue yours after receiving payment.

If you got your marriage license from Utah County, once your marriage license is approved, you can have your online wedding ceremony. Take note that you must use your marriage license within 32 days of approval. Courtly also provides the certified officiant who will walk you through the process step-by-step. Online ceremonies only need to take about 10 minutes of your time, but you are also able to add more elaborate bells and whistles if you’d like.

Steps to get married online

Couples can use Courtly to complete the full process online from any location. A valid US marriage certificate can be obtained painlessly, without any paperwork, and in most cases in less than 48 hours. This is how the process goes:

  • Our concierge will assist you in obtaining your license utilizing our safe ID verification system. To make sure everything is prepared for your big day, we'll look over everything for faults and coordinate with the authorities.
  • Choose a time and date, and we'll match you with one of our US officiants from the Courtly network who is legally certified.
  • You can have a simple virtual ceremony in the comforts of your own home (or any other location with a reliable internet connection). The whole ceremony itself should just last a few minutes.
  • You'll receive a copy of your US marriage certificate online shortly after your online ceremony, and a print copy will be shipped to you within the following few business days.

What documents do you need to apply for a marriage certificate?

Each state in the U.S. has different requirements, and you'll need to send in certain documents with your application. You would need to coordinate with your partner in contacting the state office of vital records. 

They will point you in the direction of another neighborhood office or the clerk of the city or county where the certificate will be issued. They will let you know how much it will cost, what information you must provide, and whether you may pick up a copy in person, by mail, or online.

While remote appearance ceremonies conducted by an officiant on Courtly are permitted under US law, we have no control over whether or not foreign governments or immigration authorities would acknowledge them. You can also contact the embassy or consulate of the country where the marriage took place. Its staff will help you get a certified copy of the foreign marriage document.

How to apply for a marriage certificate online?

If you're getting a legal marriage certificate online, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, not all U.S counties will allow you to apply online. You should check with your chosen county to see if they accept online applications. 

Second, you will need to pay a fee at the time of applying. The fees vary by state and can range from $15 to $50 depending on which state you live in. Fees are often non-refundable so if your application is rejected or otherwise deemed invalid then it's unlikely that any money will be returned to your account.

For example, in California, you can request a copy of your marriage certificate online for $25. In New York, you file an application with the New York State Department of Health and pay $30 for one certified copy.

You should also be aware that some states may waive their application fee if it's paid via credit card instead of cash or check; however, this does not apply universally across all states!

How long does it take to get a marriage certificate online?

Different states have different processing times for legal marriage certificates.

Processing times vary by state. Some states only have online marriage certificates for couples who couldn't get married in person, and others have online marriage certificates for couples who wanted to get married quickly. Some states only issue online marriage certificates if you're getting married in another state, but not your own state.

The process of getting married online is a simple one. However, it's important to remember that each state has its own requirements and fees associated with obtaining a legal marriage certificate. You'll also need to make sure you meet all the necessary requirements before submitting your application as there are no refunds once you've paid for your service.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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