Idaho Marriage Laws

The largest diamond ever discovered in the US turned up in the great state of Idaho. If prospective couples needed any further proof of the so-called Gem State’s natural appeal as a wedding destination, past its breathtaking swaths of mountainous wilderness, that fact alone probably does it. And yet the state’s rather unique marriage laws and implicit restrictions do present their challenges. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to sift through the state’s legal codes and flag all potential stumbling blocks on the road to a legally binding wedding in the following step-by-step guide.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

The state of Idaho will recognize marriages solemnized by the following persons: all justices of the supreme court, court of appeals or district court, either current or retired; all current mayors and lieutenant governors; current and former governors; current federal or tribal judges; all approved tribal officials and all priests or ministers of the gospel of any denomination, provided they are at least 18 years old.

This includes ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church, which the state shall recognize as a sanctioned ‘religious actor’ regardless of that person’s gender or personal beliefs. Certain counties may require ordination credentials or letters of good standing upon the return of the marriage license.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Idaho does not require any particular form for a marriage ceremony, leaving it to couples and ministers to plan these according to their own traditions and beliefs.

However, every last state in the US does require that each person in the couple solemnly and formally declare to take the other as their spouse. In Idaho, that declaration must be made in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage, as no other witnesses are technically required to attend the ceremony.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Idaho
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Varies by County
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

All couples looking to get hitched in Idaho will first need to procure a marriage license, in person, from the office of a county recorder. They’ll be asked to submit a written application that will include both persons’ social security numbers. Any person who hasn’t been assigned one will need an affidavit attesting to why that is, and will instead be asked to submit a birth certificate, passport, or whatever other proof the recorder may deem necessary to prove their legal standing as residents of the country. The recorder also reserves the right to demand proof of prior divorce, or request written affidavits from other competent witnesses if any information provided is deemed inadequate.

The fee for a marriage license will hover around $30 in most counties, though some may charge as much as $20 extra for applications filed on Saturdays.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
Does Not Expire
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 30 Days of Ceremony

The marriage license and attached certificate issued to prospective newlyweds will be valid throughout the state of Idaho. Although it technically doesn’t expire, couples who fail to use their marriage license within the first year will be required to contact the Idaho Bureau of Vital Health and Statistics before holding a ceremony.

Whoever solemnizes the marriage must return the completed marriage certificate, along with the original license, to the same office of the recorder where it was issued, within 30 days of the ceremony, or risk a misdemeanor and up to a $50 fine.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Only adults 18 years or older are legally allowed to marry in the state of Idaho. All minors 16 and older will therefore need the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, while all minors under 16 will also require court approval (and implied in that a physician’s determination that the minor is both physically and mentally developed enough to assume marital duties) along with the aforementioned guardian’s consent.

Idaho forbids all marriages between parents and children, siblings, ancestors and descendants of every degree, aunts/uncles and nieces/nephews, and first cousins.

Same sex couples have been granted the federal right to marry in the state.

Final Steps

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

It is up to the person tasked with carrying out the wedding ceremony to fill out the certificate attached to the original marriage license, stating their own name and personal address, the date and location of the ceremony, and the names of the two persons that were joined in matrimony, before signing the document.

The minister must then return the completed documents to the same office of the recorder who issued them within 30 days of the ceremony. Failure to do so may result in a misdemeanor and a fine between $20 and $50, as determined by the court.