How to Get a Marriage License in Pennsylvania

Marriage Certificate, Marriage License, Wedding License

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Getting married? The most important thing that you will need for the day is your marriage license! But figuring out the legalities is not as straightforward as you may think. Factor in that each state has varying laws for the process of getting your license – and it can become a daunting and confusing task. And… Pennsylvania has 67 counties, and each county does things a bit differently when it comes to getting your license.

We’re here to help you sift through the process and make this super easy!

Who can get married in Pennsylvania?
• Both parties must be 18 years of age to get married without parental consent.
• First cousins may not marry, but second cousins may marry each other.
• One does not need to be a resident of Pennsylvania in order to marry in Pennsylvania.

What is the application process?
• Couples may apply in any county in Pennsylvania and the license will be valid in any other county in PA.
• Some counties offer to have the couple apply online, others require that the couple applies in person at the county courthouse.
• Couples will need photo IDs and social security cards.
• No witnesses are needed for the application process.
• When applying, couples will have the option to get a traditional license, or a self-uniting license. PA is one of several states in the US which offers this option.

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What are the next steps after the application is submitted?
• After filling out the application, couples will be scheduled to have an interview. Some counties require the interview to take place in person at the county courthouse. Some counties offer to hold the interview over a video meeting.
• After the interview is completed and the couple is approved for a license, a license will be issued to them. Each county offers different options for getting the license. Options may include:
o picking up the license at the courthouse
o having the license mailed to the couple
o having the license emailed to the couple

NOTE: There is a three-day waiting period from the day the license is issued and when it will be valid.

• PA marriage licenses are valid for 60 days.

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Who fills out the license on the wedding day?
• The officiant is responsible for filling out the license on the wedding day.
• There are no witnesses needed in PA – unless using a Self-Uniting License.
• There are three sections to the wedding license in PA.
o One section is filled out and given to the couple. This section is a ‘keepsake’ license and is not a legally binding document. It typically looks like a certificate.
o The second section is labeled, ‘Duplicate’ and is the section that the officiant will fill out after the wedding and send back to the courthouse. In PA, the officiant is responsible for getting this section back to the courthouse. It must be postmarked within 10 days of the wedding date.
o The third section is often embossed with an official seal, and is for the officiant’s records.
• When sending back the license, it may be mailed through the USPS. Some prefer to mail it with registered or certified mail, and others like to hand deliver it in person. All are acceptable ways of returning the license.

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How do you get your official license?
• When the couple applies for the license, they will select how they want to receive their legal/official license. Options may include picking it up at the courthouse or having it mailed to them.
• Each county has a different timetable when it comes to processing the license. Couples may receive their official license in a week or two, or possibly several months after their wedding date. Ask the registrar what their typical turn-around time is.

More Information
• Do you still have questions about your Pennsylvania marriage license? Email Donna at:
• Are you getting married in a different state? Donna has guides for the tri-state area.
• Wedding Planners: Do you struggle to inform your couples with the correct legal information about their licenses? I offer in-person workshops for you and your team to better understand marriage license requirements. Contact me for more information.


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