Louisiana Marriage Laws

With its raucous Mardi-Gras festival, steamy jazz scene and spicy Cajun cooking, Louisiana just might be the most sizzling place to throw a good party. Planning a wedding in the Bayou State, however, has plenty of unique requirements and restrictions that require special attention. That's why we at the Universal Life Church have created a simple step-by-step guide meant to distill the state’s complex marriage laws and provide couples and ministers the tools they need to make sure any wedding they plan will be fully legal and binding.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

The state of Louisiana requires that a formal marriage ceremony be carried out in the physical presence of both persons in the couple, performed by a third person qualified to do so, and witnessed by two adult witnesses, in order for that union to be solemnized and legal. The ceremony must also include the free consent of both parties to take each other as husband or wife.

Other than that, couples and ministers are free to plan ceremonies according to their unique traditions and spiritual beliefs.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 with Age-Gap Restrictions for Minors
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Only two people 18 years or older can legally consent to a marriage in the state of Louisiana. All minors are therefore forbidden to marry, except in the case of 16 and 17-year-olds whose partners are not older to them by more than three years.

The state also outlaws all marriages between ascendants and descendants, or relatives closer than second cousins (or first cousins once removed). This applies for both blood relatives and those formed through adoption.

Same sex couples and non-residents are allowed to wed in Louisiana.

Requirements for the Minister

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

In Louisiana, any state judge, justice of the peace, priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, or clergy of a religious sect who’s at least 18 years old is authorized to solemnize a wedding.

All other officiants not on this list must file an affidavit stating their lawful name, denomination and address with the clerk of court in the parish where the ceremony will be held before it takes place. All ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church, and thus considered legal religious actors, should also have their ordination credentials on hand, as some counties in Louisiana may demand this along with the affidavit.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
24 Hours
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

The state of Louisiana prohibits any officiant from joining a couple in matrimony until 24 hours after the marriage license has been issued. By that same token, any wedding performed following the 30-day expiration of the license will also be null and void.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, any official who fails to complete or return both the signed marriage certificates and original license with the same court clerk that issued it within 10 days of the ceremony may be fined and eventually barred from officiating any more weddings in the state.

Marriage License Requirements

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

Couples looking to tie the knot in Louisiana can fill out a written application for a marriage license, sworn and signed, before a notary, deputy clerk or deputy registrar in any parish in Louisiana, regardless of residence or where the ceremony will take place.

That application must include the date and time it is filled out; the full name, race, residence, age and social security number of each party; the names of both their parents; a list of all former marriages, the disclosure of any blood relations between the two and an acknowledgement that both are free to marry, and that the information provided has not been knowingly falsified. Birth certificates and Government Issued ID cards will be required to verify the information provided, and no license shall be granted without written consent for minors to marry, or proof of divorce, if applicable.

It’s not necessary that the couple both apply at the same time, provided each executes the application before a notary and swears by the information they provide. Exceptions will be made for any member of the armed service that provides military ID, or any couple a judge determines to have good cause, in which case one party will be allowed to fill in and sign for their partners.

The fee for a marriage license varies by parish, typically between $20 and $40.

Final Steps

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

The state of Louisiana places a great onus on the person tasked with performing the marriage ceremony. And that responsibility doesn’t end with the I-DOs.

In fact, any wedding officiant who fails to complete any part of the forms provided by the Department of Children and Family Services, who ignores to mark the date and place of the ceremony or forgets to file the two signed copies with the same court clerk where the original license was issued within 10 days of the ceremony will be fined $20 for a first offence, $50 for a second and $100 for a third, after which they’ll be barred from officiating any more weddings in the state. So please be sure to file the forms properly!