PA Marriage Rules

Pennsylvania Marriage License Rules:

Every couple that intends to get married in Pennsylvania must apply for a marriage license, and there are certain rules that govern who may get a marriage license, how to get it and when it is valid. If you live in a state other than PA, please check with your county Register of Wills to obtain information about your state’s rules.

Who Can Get Married in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania recognizes marriages between a man and a woman any two people (Congratulations to those in the LGBT community on the court decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in PA! ) who are not currently married to other parties. The couple that wish to be married cannot be related as first cousins, parent and child, siblings, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, or grandparent and grandchild. A person must be at least 18 years old in order to get married without consent of an adult. A child who is 16 or 17 can get married with the consent of a parent. A child under the age of 16 can get married with the consent of a judge and a parent.

Name Change:

Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit or check with your local courthouse.

How to Apply:

Both of you must go, in person, to the county courthouse in order to apply for a marriage license. Each person should bring a driver’s license or official photo identification as well as proof of Social Security number. A license fee will be required when you submit your application. Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, marriage license fees varies by county, and are required at the time of application. Please check with your Register of Wills office for current marriage license fees. If either party has been previously married, he or she must also bring proof that the previous marriage has ended, such as a divorce decree or the date on which the former spouse died, if a widower.

Marriage License Validity:

A marriage license has a three-day waiting period in Pennsylvania. The physical license can be picked up at the county courthouse, or you can request to receive it by mail. The license is valid for 60 days. If the marriage has not taken place before the expiration of those 60 days, then the couple must apply for a new license. A marriage license obtained in Pennsylvania may be used for a wedding in any county in Pennsylvania, not just the county in which the application was submitted.

The wedding must be officiated by:

  • a current or retired judge who served in the federal courts or the courts of Pennsylvania
  • a mayor
  • a Humanist Celebrant
  • a minister
  • a priest
  • or rabbi of a Pennsylvania town or city.

A copy of the marriage license must be signed and certified by the person officiating the wedding, and given to the county court that issued the license within 10 days of the wedding. If the certificate is not returned in time, the wedding may not be considered valid, and the couple may have to apply for a new marriage license.

How Much a Marriage License Cost?

The fee for a marriage license varies by county and is required at the time of application. Please call the county Register of Wills office for the county in which you will be applying for their fees and other requirements.

Additional Fees:

  • Lost License $10.00
  • There are no exceptions or waivers to the license fee.
  • No extensions or refunds are made once the license is issued.

Proxy Marriages:

No. Both parties must be present.

Common Law Marriage:

No. However, your common-law marriage will be recognized in Pennsylvania if it was created before January 1, 2005.

In Pennsylvania copies of marriage records were required to be filed starting in 1885. Copies of these marriages may be obtained from the courthouse in the county where the marriage license was issued. There are three types of marriage records available. The first is a plain copy of the marriage record which is typically for family genealogy records or personal use. The second (one-seal) and third type (triple-seal) are for official purposes and used by the persons named in the records. Order Copies of Records Online

After 1906, all birth and death records are stored in the Vital Record Division of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

It is important that you verify all information with your Register of Wills office before making any wedding or travel plans.

Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.