Washington Wedding Laws

How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony in Washington

Washington state does not have wedding laws which dictate that a wedding ceremony take any particular form, so ministers and couples have large amount of flexibility in planning exactly how they want the special day to look and feel. The Universal Life Church Monastery offers a variety of resources for ministers to help ordained officiants guide wedding ceremonies of all shapes and sizes. In order for a wedding ceremony to be legal in the state of Washington, two witnesses (other than the two individuals getting married) must be present and able to acknowledge the wedding as having taken place. Of course, the officiant must also be present. Under Washington state law, witnesses must be at least 12 years of age.

How to Officiate a Wedding in Washington

Weddings in Washington State are, legally speaking, among the simplest to officiate and legalize within the United States. There are very few extraordinary requirements or demands placed on either the individuals getting married or the individual who is officiating the wedding ceremony. In addition, both opposite-sex and same-sex couples can be legally married in Washington state and Washington's code specifies that clergy of any recognized religious organization can legally act as a certified wedding officiant, this includes the Universal Life Church Monastery. Don't let the high level of freedom fool you, though - be sure to contact your local county officials before the ceremony to ensure that you've got everything correct. Coincidentally, the Universal Life Church Monastery is based in Seattle, Washington.

How to Become an Ordained Minister in Washington

Aside from judges and court commissioners, the state of Washington recognizes clergy from a wide variety of religions and spiritual organizations. The clergyperson must simply be licensed and ordained by his or her religious organization, as is possible with the Universal Life Church Monastery's online ordination platform. Being an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church carries with it some rights and responsibilities. The central tenet of the Universal Life Church Monastery is to "do that which is right", a singular commandment our ministers are expected to respect. An ordained minister has the ability to officiate marriages and preside over funerals, as well as to start their own ministry. The Universal Life Church Monastery has ordained several thousand ministers in Washington state.

Marriage Paperwork Required in Washington

In Washington state, as in many states, a couple must submit to a three-day waiting period between requesting a marriage license and having their wedding ceremony in order for that ceremony to be considered valid under the law. Marriage license fees are determined by the county in which they are issued, and start at $35. Marriage licenses issued throughout the union by different states have varying expiration dates. In Washington, the ceremony must take place within 60 days of the date of issue of the marriage license. It is also important to note that in Washington marriage licenses do not necessarily act as official name-change documents for couples that wish to share a surname; changing your name is a separate legal procedure. Couples must register any new names with several different agencies, depending on county.

For more detailed information, review Washington State's code for yourself.

Washington Marriage Laws

 

Weddings in Washington State require a Washington State wedding license. In order to obtain a marriage license in Washington you must go to the local county clerk where you intend to marry and apply for a license. The first order of business is to provide the local county clerk with valid identification. Valid identification includes a current driver's license, a valid passport or a certified birth certificate. Both you and your betrothed must go to the county clerk's office together and present the county clerk with appropriate identification documents. In addition, there is a fee to obtain a Washington State marriage license of approximately $62. Most counties only accept cash. The fee will vary from county to county so it is best to confirm the exact amount of the fee with the county clerk in the county where you intend to marry. A Washington State marriage license is valid for sixty days.

If you have been previously married, you will need to have a finalized copy of the divorce decree or a copy of your previous spouse's death certificate to present to the county clerk. There is no residency requirement if you plan on obtaining a Washington State wedding license before you can hold the wedding. There is, however, a three day waiting period after the license has been issued before you can marry. No blood tests are required. If either of the engaged couple is between the ages of seventeen and eighteen, a parent will need to go with you to the county clerk's office to give consent for you to marry. If either of you is under seventeen years of age, you must obtain judicial consent to marry. Proxy marriages are not allowed in Washington State.

In order to act as a wedding officiant in weddings in Washington State, the wedding officiant must abide by Washington State statute RCW 3.02.010. This statute specifies that any regularly licensed or ordained priest or minister or any religious congregation, church or temple may perform weddings in Washington State. There is no residency requirement to perform marriages in Washington. Additionally, active or retired judges and justices of the peace may perform weddings in Washington State. Online-ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church Monastery are able to perform legally-recognized weddings in Washington. ULC and all other online ordained ministers must present appropriate ordination papers indicating he or she has been approved to perform marriages and must also present appropriate identification to the county clerk where the marriage is to be performed. Additionally, two certified copies of the marriage certificate must be forwarded to the county auditor within thirty days of the solemnization of the union.

Gay Marriage and Same Sex Wedding Laws:

This state currently has legal same-sex marriage by Popular Vote.

The Monastery Ordination Credential

To perform a marriage in Washington you need to be ordained and may be required to provide proof of ordination such as an ordination credential, wallet credential, or a letter of good standing from the church.

Read the full Law on the official site »

Washington Wedding Laws by County

Adams County

210 W Broadway Ave
PO Box 187
Ritzville, Washington
99169,
 
Phone: (509) 659-3257
Fmx: (509) 659-0118
Adams County website »

Asotin County

135 2nd St
PO Box 159
Asotin, Washington
99402,
Phone: (509) 243-2081
Fmx: (509) 243-4978
Asotin County website »

Benton County

7122 W Okanogan Pl
Bldg A
Kennewick, Washington
99336,
 
Phone: (509) 735-8388
Fmx: (509) 783-1058
Benton County website »

Chelan County

350 Orondo Ave
PO Box 3025
Wenatchee, Washington
98807,
 
Phone: (509) 667-6380
Fmx: (509) 667-6611
E-mail: superiorcourt.clerk@co.chelan.wa.us
Chelan County website »

Clallam County

223 E 4th St
9
Port Angeles, Washington
98362,
 
Phone: (360) 417-2231
Clallam County website »

Clark County

1200 Franklin St
PO Box 5000
Vancouver, Washington
98666,
 
Phone: (360) 397-2292
Fax: (360) 397-6099
E-mail: countyclerk@clark.wa.gov
Clark County website »

Columbia County

341 E Main St
Dayton, Washington
99328,
Phone: (509) 382-4321
Fax: (509) 382-4830
Columbia County website »

Cowlitz County

312 SW 1st Ave
Rm 233
Kelso, Washington
98626,
 
Phone: (360) 577-3016
Fmx: (360) 577-2323
E-mail: Clerk@co.cowlitz.wa.us
Cowlitz County website »

Douglas County

203 S Rainier
PO Box 516
Waterville, Washington
98858,
Phone: (509) 745-8529
Fax: (509) 745-8027
Douglas County website »

Ferry County

350 E Delaware Ave
4
Republic, Washington
99166,
 
Phone: (509) 775-5245
E-mail: ferry-superior@co.ferry.wa.us
Ferry County website »

Franklin County

1016 N 4th Ave
306
Pasco, Washington
99301,
 
Phone: (509) 545-3525
Fmx: (509) 545-2243
Franklin County website »

Garfield County

789 Main St
PO Box 915
Pomeroy, Washington
99347,

Phone: (509) 842-3731
Fax: (509) 843-1224

Grant County

35 C St NW
PO Box 37
Ephrata, Washington
98823,

Phone: (509) 754-2011
Grant County website »

Grays Harbor County

102 W Broadway Ave
Rm 203
Montesano, Washington
98563,
Phone: (360) 249-3842
Fmx: (360) 249-6381
Grays Harbor County website »

Island County

101 NE 6th, Fl 1
PO Box 5000
Coupeville, Washington
98239,
 
Phone: (360) 679-7359
alternate phone: ext. 6
Island County website »

Jefferson County

1820 Jefferson St
PO Box 1220
Port Townsend, Washington
98368,
 
Phone: (360) 385-9125
Fax: (360) 385-5672

King County

516 3rd Ave
Rm E609
Seattle, Washington
98104,
Phone: (206) 296-9300
alternate phone: (206) 296-7844
King County website »

Kitsap County

614 Division St
MS 34
Port Orchard, Washington
98366,
Phone: (360) 337-7164
Fmx: (360) 337-4927

Kittitas County

205 W 5th Ave
210
Ellensburg, Washington
98926,
 
Phone: (509) 962-7531
Fmx: (509) 962-7667
E-mail: clerk@co.kittitas.wa.us
Kittitas County website »

Klickitat County

205 S Columbus Ave
MS CH-3
Rm 204
Goldengale, Washington
98620,

Phone: (509) 773-5744
Klickitat County website »

Lewis County

345 W Main, MS: Clk01
Fl 2, Law & Justice Bldg
Chehalis, Washington
98532,
Phone: (360) 740-2704
Fax: (360) 748-1639
Lewis County website »

Lincoln County

450 Logan St
PO Box 68
Davenport, Washington
99122,
Phone: (509) 725-1401
Fax: (509) 725-1150
Lincoln County website »

Mason County

419 N 4th St, Fl 2
PO Box 340
Shelton, Washington
98584,

Phone: (360) 427-9670
alternate phone: ext. 346
Mason County website »

Okanogan County

149 3rd N
PO Box 72
Okanogan, Washington
98840,
 
Phone: (509) 422-7275
Fmx: (509) 422-7277
Okanogan County website »

Pacific County

300 Memorial Dr
PO Box 67
South Bend, Washington
98586,

Phone: (360) 875-9320
Pacific County website »

Pend Oreille County

229 S Garden Ave
PO Box 5020
Newport, Washington
99156,

Phone: (509) 447-2435
Fmx: (509) 447-2734
Pend Oreille County website »

Pierce County

930 Tacoma Ave S
Rm 110
Tacoma, Washington
98402,
 
Phone: (253) 798-7455
Fmx: (253) 798-3428
E-mail: pcclerk@co.pierce.wa.us
Pierce County website »

San Juan County

350 Court St
#7
Friday Harbor, Washington
98250,
 
Phone: (360) 378-2163
Fax: (360) 378-3967
San Juan County website »

Skagit County

205 W Kincaid St
Rm 103
Mount Vernon, Washington
98273,

Phone: (360) 336-9440
E-mail: supcrtclerk@co.skagit.wa.us
Skagit County website »

Skamania County

240 Vancouver Ave
PO Box 790
Stevenson, Washington
98648,

Phone: (509) 427-3770
Fax: (509) 427-3777
Skamania County website »

Snohomish County

3000 Rockefeller Ave
Fl 2, MS 605
Everett, Washington
98201,
Phone: (425) 388-3466
Fmx: (425) 388-3806
E-mail: contact.clerk@co.snohomish.wa.us
Snohomish County website »

Spokane County

1116 W Broadway Ave
Rm 300
Spokane, Washington
99260,
 
Phone: (509) 477-2211
Spokane County website »

Stevens County

215 S Oak St
Rm 206
Colville, Washington
99114,

Phone: (509) 684-7575
Fmx: (509) 684-7574
Stevens County website »

Thurston County

2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Bldg 2
Olympia, Washington
98502,

Phone: (360) 786-5430
Fax: (360) 753-4033
Thurston County website »

Wahkiakum County

64 Main St
PO Box 116
Cathlamet, Washington
98612,
 
Phone: (360) 795-3558
Wahkiakum County website »

Walla Walla County

315 W Main St
PO Box 836
Walla Walla, Washington
99362,
 
Phone: (509) 524-2780
Fmx: (509) 524-2779
Walla Walla County website »

Whatcom County

311 Grand Ave
301
Bellingham, Washington
98225,

Phone: (360) 676-6777

Whitman County

400 N Main St
PO Box 390
Colfax, Washington
99111,

Phone: (509) 397-6240
Fax: (509) 397-3546
E-mail: clerk@co.whitman.wa.us
Whitman County website »

Yakima County

128 N 2nd St
Rm 323
Yakima, Washington
98901,
Yakima County website »