Delaware Marriage Laws - Universal Life Church

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Delaware Marriage Laws

Congratulations! If you've found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Delaware. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Delaware. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Delaware.

Quick Facts
  • ULC Ordination Accepted: Yes
  • Minister Registration Required: No
  • Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
  • Minister's Minimum Age: 18
  • Marriage License Waiting Period: 1 Day
  • Marriage License Valid For: 30 Days
  • Marriage License Return Within: By Expiration

1 How to Become an Ordained Minister in Delaware

If you haven't already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!

2 How to Officiate a Marriage in Delaware

Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk). Let them know that you are a minister of the Universal Life Church in Seattle, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage.

Select your county to quickly generate the contact information for your local marriage authority.

Select a county

Delaware's Top Wedding Spot

Delaware's Top Wedding Spot

Henry Francis du Pont's Winterthur Estate, near Wilmington

3 License to Marry in Delaware

After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our online store to purchase whatever documentation will be required. We typically advise ministers in Delaware to get an Ordination Package. While Minister registration is not technically required in Delaware you may be asked to display proof of your ordination to the county clerks before they will accept the marriage as having been legally solemnized. Having this proof of your ordination will also provide peace-of-mind to any couple that you intend to marry. Additionally, please attempt to leave at least 3 weeks between the date of the wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your materials in advance.

4 How to Perform a Wedding in Delaware

Now that you've done all of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their Delaware marriage license from the appropriate office. This license is valid for 30 days, and there is a mandatory 1-day waiting period between when the couple receives the marriage license in Delaware and when the ceremony may be legally performed. Please be aware that the signed license must be returned to the issuing office by its date of expiry. At the Universal Life Church we receive several calls from wedding officiants in Delaware, after they've received their license to marry by getting ordained online, asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony. Once the legal matters have been taken care of, officiating a wedding (while a sometimes-daunting task) can be a great deal of fun. We would suggest that new Delaware wedding ministers concerned about the ceremony peruse one of our helpful wedding guides. The minister training section of our website should offer a helpful refresher for more experienced ministers.

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Delaware Marriage Code

Marriage in Delaware is governed by Title 13 of Delaware's General Statutes. Ministers who got ordained online with the Universal Life Church have successfully solemnized thousands of weddings in the state. Below, you will find that we have reproduced a relevant excerpt of this code.
§ 106 Solemnization of marriages; production of license; penalty; registration of persons authorized to solemnize marriages.

(a)",A clergyperson or minister of any religion, current and former Judges of this State's Supreme Court, Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Chancery, Court of Common Pleas, Justice of the Peace Court, federal Judges, federal Magistrates, clerks of the peace of various counties and current and former judges from other jurisdictions with written authorization by the clerk of the peace from the county in Delaware where the ceremony is to be performed may solemnize marriages between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation. The Clerk of the Peace in each county for good cause being shown may:

(1)",Allow by written permit within that Clerk's respective county, any duly sworn member of another state's judiciary, to solemnize marriages in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation.

(2)",Allow by written permit within that Clerk's respective county, the Clerk of the Peace from another county within the State to solemnize marriages in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation.

Within the limits of any incorporated municipality, the Mayor thereof may solemnize marriages between persons who may lawfully enter into matrimonial relation. Marriages shall be solemnized in the presence of at least 2 reputable witnesses who shall sign the certificate of marriage as prescribed by this chapter. Marriages may also be solemnized or contracted according to the forms and usages of any religious society. No marriage shall be solemnized or contracted without the production of a license issued pursuant to this chapter.

(b)",For purposes of this section, the words "resident of this State" shall include the son or daughter of a person who has been domiciled within the State for 1 year or more, notwithstanding the actual place of residence of the son or daughter immediately prior to the date of the marriage.

(c)",In the case of absence or disability of the duly elected Clerk of the Peace, the chief deputy or, if there is no chief deputy, a deputy employed in the office of the Clerk of the Peace, shall be authorized to solemnize marriages.

(d)",Whoever, not being authorized by this section, solemnizes a marriage, shall be fined $100, and in default of the payment of such fine shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days, and such marriage shall be void, unless it is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief of either of the parties in its validity.

(e)",Other than as provided in this subsection, nothing in this section shall be construed to require any person (including any clergyperson or minister of any religion) authorized to solemnize a marriage to solemnize any marriage, and no such authorized person who fails or refuses for any reason to solemnize a marriage shall be subject to any fine or other penalty for such failure or refusal. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a clerk of the peace who issues a marriage license, or a deputy thereof, shall be required to perform a solemnization of such marriage if requested by the applicants for such license.

View the Delaware Statutes on the official state site
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Kent County

414 Federal St
Dover, Delaware

Kent County website »

New Castle County Clerk

800 French St
Wilmington, Delaware

New Castle County Clerk website »

Sussex County Clerk

2 The Circle
Georgetown, Delaware

Phone: (302) 855-7834
Fax: (302) 855-7798
Sussex County Clerk website »