Arkansas Marriage Laws

Written and edited for accuracy by the Arkansas marriage law researchers at the Universal Life Church on

Arkansas has its own state-specific statutes regarding marriages, marriage licenses, and wedding officiation. The details in the following article will cover everything that you need to know as the couple or as the minister performing the ceremony. Use our step-by-step instructional guide to make sure you are meeting the rules and requirements for a legally recognized marriage.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
Minister Required to be Present:
Number of Witnesses Required:
Min. Age of Witnesses:
Not Applicable
Couple's Consent Required:
Pronouncement Required:

It is essential that all legally relevant parties are physically present for the wedding ceremony. This includes the minister, and both members of the couple as Arkansas does not allow proxy marriages. No witnesses are required in this state.

The ceremony may be completely customized to reflect the wishes of the couple. The content and the tenor is up to their preference. The minister just needs to include the two legally required portions of the ceremony. These are the verbal confirmation of consent by the couple, often recognized as the “I do” exchange, and the pronouncement by the minister that the couple is wed.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 17 with Guardian Consent
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:

In the state of Arkansas adults age 18, or minors who are 17 and have parental consent, can legally be wed.

Arkansas does not have a residency requirement for those applying for a marriage license. This means out-of-state couples, or even residents of other countries, are welcome to hold weddings in the state.

All states in the U.S. honor marriage equality so same sex couples are able to legally wed in Arkansas.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Credentials of Ministry
Online Ordination Recognized:
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:

Marriage officiants in Arkansas must be 18 years of age or older to perform a wedding ceremony. There are no residency requirements so the minister may be from another state or even another country.

In Arkansas, ministers will be required to show documentation prior to the wedding ceremony at the County Clerk’s office. After getting ordained online, ministers should obtain an official ULC credential of ministry, as they will likely be asked to provide it in a process of registration with the county office that issued the license. Once registration is complete, the minister will be issued a certificate stating that their license is registered in said county by the clerk.

To verify the documentation that the County Clerk’s office will need from the minister, we always recommend contacting that office directly to confirm the process. It can vary from county to county. They will let you know with certainty the current up to date registration steps. Make sure to keep any documents that they issue, as it is possible they will request a ministerial registration number on the marriage license.

The ULC’s general recommendation is to have, at minimum, a copy of the ordination credential but additional items such as a letter of good standing may be required to register in Arkansas. Make sure to complete the registration process, and submit all paperwork prior to the ceremony.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Mandatory Waiting Period:
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
By Expiration

The couple needs to make sure that the marriage license they get is for a “religious” ceremony, regardless of if they plan to have religious elements in the wedding or not. This is different from a “civil” ceremony, which would be conducted by a judge or a justice of the peace. Universal Life Church ministers have the authority to perform marriages because of their ordination, which makes the ceremony a “religious” one.

Arkansas does not require a waiting period between when they issue the license to the couple and when the wedding can take place. This means it can take place the very same day, giving the couple a great amount of flexibility. The only exception is for underage couples who will have a 5 day waiting period before the license is issued.

Once the license is issued, it will be valid for 60 days at which point it needs to be returned. In Arkansas they require the license to be returned whether the wedding has taken place or not.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Arkansas
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Blood Test Required:

The couple may go to any county in Arkansas to pick up the marriage license, and the marriage can take place anywhere within the state. The license must be returned to the office from which it was issued.

The couple will need to bring with them a form of photo identification and the $60 fee that a marriage license currently costs in Arkansas.

Arkansas will not require either member of the couple to get a blood test before obtaining a marriage license.

Final Steps

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

After the completion of the wedding ceremony there are only a couple of additional steps that need to take place to make sure the wedding is recognized as legally binding.

The marriage license must be filled out by the minister. In the blank space that asks for the officiant name, please give the full name without any titles. If it has an additional space asking for a title, there you will put “minister”. If they ask for the name ordaining body, put “Universal Life Church Ministries.” A blank on the license for “church address” should be filled in with your personal address in the case that they need to contact you.

Take care to be sure all blanks are correctly filled out before returning the license to the county office that issued it for recording. Errors can result in the need to have a license reissued at an additional cost to the couple.

It is very important to note that in Arkansas it is essential that the license is returned to the county office that issued it, whether or not the wedding takes place, by the expiration date. Failure to do so may result in penalties.

ULC ministers should keep a personal record of any and all ceremonies that they perform, especially if they are paid or under contract for services.

Most importantly, have a wonderful time during this special occasion sharing a beautiful and love filled moment with the couple!

Interested in Performing a Arkansas wedding?

Be a AR Wedding Officiant

Are you Considering Becoming a Minister in Arkansas?

See the Steps to AR Ordination

Proceed to your Ordination Application

Become Ordained