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Virginia Marriage Laws

Are you engaged and planning out your dream wedding? Many couples choose Virginia for its rich history, gorgeous wine country and painless marriage licensing. Whether you want an elaborate wedding in the sands of Virginia Beach or a quiet civil ceremony, Virginia strives to make the process as easy and exciting as possible. Once you’re hitched, spend a few days in the Blue Moon Cottage, sunning on white beaches or touring through some of the most storied vineyards in the world. History buffs will love the chance to see George Washington’s plantation, the lost colony of Roanoke and Colonial Williamsburg. There’s something for every young couple to enjoy; after all, there’s a reason why the state has adopted the slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.” However, before you rush off to don your wedding clothes, make sure you know Virginia’s marriage laws. There are specific things you’ll need to obtain a marriage license, whether you’re eloping or bringing along the whole family.

Virginia Marriage Laws and Virginia Marriage License Requirements

Valid US ID

In order to obtain a marriage license, you will need to present valid ID such as a driver’s license. You can also use any state-issued or military ID or passport. Copies of both of the engaged parties’ birth certificates are also required, as are their social security numbers.


Virginia thrives on tourist vacations, and so does not require that either of the engaged couple be current or prior residents to marry.

Waiting Period

Virginia does not enforce a waiting period on eager couples. The ceremony can take place as soon as the license is signed, although you may want to choose a more romantic spot than the county clerk’s office.

Length Marriage License is Valid

Virginia marriage licenses expire 60 days after being issued, and can only be used within the state. After the 60 days are up, or if you decide to marry in another state, you will need to apply again.

Medical and Other Tests

Virginia does not require any additional tests or medical examinations to obtain a marriage license. However, if it appears that one of the engaged couple cannot consent due to mental infirmity or intoxication, a license may be denied pending further examination.

Age Requirements

If both the bride and groom are above 18 years old, they are free to marry. If, however, one or both are younger than 18 they will need signed parental consent. The minimum age of marriage is 16. If one or both of the couple are under 16 and the girl is pregnant, she will need to show proof of pregnancy from a doctor and have parental consent to be married.

Marriages by Proxy

Virginia does not allow proxy weddings, in which someone stands in for the bride, groom or both.

Previously Married

If you have been married in the past, you will want to bring proof of divorce, as it is required in some Virginia jurisdictions.

Fees and Taxes

It costs $30.00 to obtain a marriage license in Virginia, and the highest legal amount that can be charged is $50.00. You will need to bring cash, as it is the only accepted form of payment.

Marrying a Cousin

Virginia permits the marriage of first cousins, but does not permit the marriage of closer relations such as siblings, uncles to nieces or grandparents to grandchildren. This applies to adopted or half-relations as well.

Common Law

A common law marriage is a legally recognized marriage where no ceremony has taken place. This usually occurs through long cohabitation in the same house. Common law marriages, however, are not allowed in the state of Virginia.

Same Sex Marriages

Virginia does not recognize same-sex marriage, nor hold civil union ceremonies for homosexual couples.

Wedding Officiants

The most common officiant in Virginia is an ordained minister. The minister needs to have proof of ordination but can be from any denomination. If you would like to be married by a minister from a specific church, denomination or religion you will need to plan ahead and book a suitable officiant. Couples can also be wed by a judge or marriage commissioner. Witnesses are not required at marriage ceremonies in Virginia.

Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate

Couples wishing to obtain a marriage license should bring all applicable paperwork and payment to a county clerk. The marriage license will be issued if all requirements have been met, and can then be used statewide. Once the marriage is complete, couples will be given a marriage certificate as legal proof of their union.

Premarital Counseling

Virginia does not require premarital counseling. There are, however, counselors within the state that specialize in premarital counseling if you are interested in getting your marriage off to a strong start.

Surrounding States Marriage Laws and Requirements

If the marriage laws and requirements of Virginia do not suit your needs, but you want to get married in that part of the country you might want to look at the marriage laws for either North Carolina Marriage Laws and Requirements or Tennessee Marriage License Requirements.

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