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Tennessee Marriage Laws

Tennessee Marriage Laws and Tennessee Marriage License Requirements

Tennessee has much to offer when it comes to a destination wedding. There are several very romantic destinations within Tennessee that are just perfect for hosting your special day. The Chattanooga area provides both the beauty of Lookout Mountain and the serene beauty of a Fall Riverboat wedding on the Tennessee River. As well as the Chattanooga area Tennessee has Gatlinburg which is nestled in the Smokey Mountains and is the gateway city to the Smokey Mountains. Gatlinburg has for decades been a favorite spot for those couples wanting to elope. But, before you get too carried away with finding what city in Tennessee you want to get married in you will first want to make sure that you satisfy all the requirements need for marriage in the state of Tennessee. We recommend that you read through the high level Tennessee Marriage License Requirements provided below, and then follow that up with a phone call to the county clerks office to make sure everything needed is in order.

Valid US ID

If you are a United States citizen you will need a Social Security Number to get married in the state of Tennessee. As well as the SSN you will need either a birth certificate that has been certified or a driver’s license. If you are not a US citizen you can present a valid passport with a current visa to the county clerk’s office.


You neither have to be a Tennessee or United States resident to marry in Tennessee.

Waiting Period

There is no waiting for a marriage license in state of Tennessee. Though if you are a resident of Tennessee and want to get the premarital counseling discount then you will need to finish your pre-marriage counseling within a year of your wedding date. See the fees and taxes section below.

Length Marriage License is Valid

Your marriage license will be valid for thirty 30 days from the time it is issued, and will be good for ceremonies performed anywhere in Tennessee.

Medical and Other Tests

There are no medical test required.

Age Requirements

At the age of 18 no parental consent it needed. Before the age of 18 all applicants must be accompanied by their parents, legal guardian, next of kin, or person having custody of the applicant and that person must, under oath, state that the applicant is at least 16 years old and that person must give their consent to marry.

Marriages by Proxy

No a proxy marriage in its purist sense is not allowed in Tennessee. Though, if one of the marriage license applicants is incarcerated or has a disability which prevents then from appearing before the county clerks office then a notarized statement containing the applicants name, age, current address and the names and address of the parents, guardian or next of kin can be presented before the county clerk.

Previously Married

If you have been previously divorced then you will need to supply a copy of the divorce decree.

Fees and Taxes

Marriage License fees will range from $97.50 to $99.50. The state of Tennessee will take $60 off of any marriage license if you have taken the voluntary premarital counseling and provide a Certificate of Completion form that has been signed by the course provider. If you are not a resident of the state the cost is only $38.50.

Marrying a Cousin

Yes. You may marry a first cousin in the state of Tennessee.

Common Law

There are no common law marriages in the state of Tennessee, but the state will recognize a common law marriage from other states.

Same Sex Marriages

There is no same sex marriage in Tennessee.

Wedding Officiants

  1. Pastors, ministers, preachers, priests,
    rabbis, and other spiritual leaders of every religious
    belief, that is older than 18 years old. The qualified officiants must be ordained with the customs of a religious group.
  2. Any member of a county legislative body or any county executives
    Former or otherwise may officiate. Current and former judges, governors, and current county clerks, current or former speakers of the senate or house my officiate.
  3. Mayors of municipalities.


Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any other information that might be useful. Two usefull links for obtaining Tennessee marriage laws information are the Nashville, Tennessee County Marriage Law information page and the Hamilton County Marriage Laws page.

Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate

You must contact the county you married via mail and request including the bride’s full maiden name, the groom’s name, the date of the marriage and $5.00 for each copy requested. Please contact the county clerk’s office for more details.

Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling is not required in Tennessee, but there are discounts provided by the state if you do receive counseling. See the Fees and Taxes above.

Topics: Tennessee | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Tennessee Marriage Laws”

  1. burden Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Im a ga resident, want to get married in TN.what I need to do, to use my license in ga.

  2. Stephanie Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Can a soldier in Iraq get married in the state of Tennessee by proxy?

  3. Sarah Says:
    April 20th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Will Tennessee recognize proxy marriages done in other states?

  4. admin Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Yes Sarah, once a proxy marriage is performed in a state allowing it, you are legally married in all states.

  5. lorraine augustine Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    My finance and I rec’d a marriage license on 9-16-10 and he had a seizure right at the bottom of the court house stairs outside. He has been in the hospital ever sense. When he was first admitted in the emergency room I had told them how we were suppose to get married 9-18-10 and they said oh well you can get married right here in the hospital if you want to. He said he did but I thought that maybe he could get out of the hospital by then. Now he is on life support and may be able to breath on his own soon hopefully. Question is since he can not speak with the tube in his throat is it possible to be married by proxy in the hospital or court house. He signed the marriage license and we had a wedding paid for in graceland. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you. Lorraine Augustine

  6. john Says:
    October 25th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Am I to understand that a former county commissioner is qualified under the law to conduct a wedding?

  7. Megan Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 10:48 am

    UNDERSTANDING THAT THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY ITSELF IS IN NO WAY LEGALLY BINDING, is there any problem with having the religious ceremony first and follow it with the civil ceremony later on? I’m big on bullet format.

    1.) My cousin is underaged and her mother doesn’t want to sign for her.
    2.) She wants to be legally married before the baby is due so that she is covered by the “bay-daddy’s” truly excellent insurance.
    3.) She wants to have the church ceremony complete with flowers and the dress before the baby bump shows up or after she gets back into shape.
    4.) She’s due about a month after her birthday. She’s not going to be back into shape inside of a month.

    So, I don’t see any problems with having the church ceremony first so long as the pastor doesn’t say, “By the power invested in me by the state of Tennessee…” or sign anything. It’d be like a christening. Am I right?

  8. susan Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 6:33 am

    I was married in TN 21 years ago. I have been seperated from him for almost 2 years now I found out he had a crimminal backgroud in 2009.

    He concealed that from me at the time we married. Had I known I would have not looked twice at him.

    Can I get an annulment from him?
    I am disgusted and ashamed to have been with him.
    Please reply to my email above. Thanks

  9. Rebecca Says:
    April 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I am a US citizen and a resident of MI i want to get married in TN. He is not a US citizen he is an Australian citizen and he is also divorced. Is there anything special we need to do or can we just go get our marriage license?

  10. beatrice Says:
    May 14th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    16 yr old pregant girl needs her dad to sign permmission. BUT he couldnt get off from work for another 60days. Can he send notorized permissson?

  11. Jami Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Are there any marriage laws in TN dictating the duration of time between a divorce and second marriage?

  12. Kevin Says:
    July 14th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    My wife and I are residents of Georgia but were married in Tennessee in October 2010. Her name and signature as listed on the license and the marriage certificate as recorded in the county clerk’s office do not reflect her legal name at the time. Is the marriage legal?

  13. Kevin Says:
    July 15th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    see above question

  14. Marie Roberts Says:
    July 15th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I am an Ordained Minister through American Fellowship and a couple has asked me to perform their wedding ceremony Saturday, July 23, 2011 and I need to know if I am permitted to perform this ceremony ? Your response as soon as possible is greatly appreciated.

  15. Audri Says:
    August 16th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Where in the code does it state that TN recognizes a common law marriage from out of state?

  16. beth Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 11:02 am

    We are getting re-married. Both of us tore up our divorce decreese once we made the decision together. I see you have to have it to apply for a new marriage lisence. How do we go about getting a copy of the divorce decree at this point in order to obtain a new marriage lisence?
    thank you

  17. Lara Says:
    January 9th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Can premarital life coaching count as premarital counseling?

  18. Lara Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Does premarital “coaching” count just the same as premarital “counseling” for the discount?