Requirements for the Couple
- Min. Age of Couple:
- Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
- Not Required
- Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
- Second Cousins
- Marriage Equality:
Weddings in the state of New Hampshire may only be consummated between two adults aged 18 years or older. Minors older than 16 may also marry, provided they seek written permission from a family court judge with jurisdiction in the location where at least one of the two applicants resides.
The couple, or their legal guardians, will have to disclose to the court any outstanding issues with either the department of health and services or the bureau of child protection, and generally prove the marriage in question is in their best interest. Non-resident minors can not apply for this exemption.
New Hampshire also forbids the marriage of anyone closer in blood than second cousins, and does not allow anyone to be married to more than one person at the same time. Same-sex marriages have been welcome in the state since 2010.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:2 Marriages Prohibited. – No person shall marry his or her father, mother, father's brother, father's sister, mother's brother, mother's sister, son, daughter, brother, sister, son's son, son's daughter, daughter's son, daughter's daughter, brother's son, brother's daughter, sister's son, sister's daughter, father's brother's son, father's brother's daughter, mother's brother's son, mother's brother's daughter, father's sister's son, father's sister's daughter, mother's sister's son, or mother's sister's daughter. No person shall be allowed to be married to more than one person at any given time.
Source. RS 147:2. CS 156:2. GS 161:2. 1869, 9:2. GL 180:2. PS 174:2. PL 286:2. RL 338:2. RSA 457:2. 1965, 46:1. 1987, 218:2. 2009, 59:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:4 Marriageable. – No person below the age of 16 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void.
Source. 1907, 80:1. PL 286:4. RL 338:4. 2009, 59:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010. 2018, 272:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:5 Of Consent. – The age of consent shall be in the male and in the female, 18 years. Any marriage contracted by a person below the age of consent, except as hereinafter provided, may in the discretion of the superior court be annulled at the suit of the party who at the time of contracting such marriage was below the age of consent, or at the suit of his or her parent or guardian, unless such party after arriving at such age shall have confirmed the marriage.
Source. 1907, 80:2. 1923, 108:1. PL 286:5. RL 338:5. RSA 457:5. 1973, 72:35, eff. June 3, 1973.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:6 Petition by Party Under Age. –
I. If the marriage of a person resident in this state, or the marriage of a person who is a nonresident in this state who applies for permission to marry a resident in this state, either person being below the age of consent and above the ages specified in RSA 457:4, is desired, the parties desiring to contract such marriage, with the parent or guardian having the custody of such party below such age, if there be such parent or guardian, may apply in writing to the judicial branch family division having jurisdiction in the location in which one of them resides, for permission to contract such marriage.
II. The petition shall indicate whether, to the knowledge of the petitioner, the department of health and human services, bureau of child protection services has contacted or been involved with the family of the person under the age of consent.
III. As part of the decision making process, the court may conduct an in camera interview of each person under the age of consent, without that person's parent or guardian or the other party to the marriage present.
IV. Permission to contract such marriage shall be granted only upon clear and convincing evidence that the marriage is in the best interest of the person or persons below the age of consent.
V. No permission shall be granted to persons below the age of consent if both parties are nonresidents.
Source. 1907, 80:3. PL 286:6. RL 338:6. RSA 457:6. 1965, 121:1. 1967, 319:1. 1987, 218:3. 2011, 177:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2012. 2018, 273:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.
Marriage License Requirements
- Who Picks Up License:
- The Couple
- Where License is Valid:
- Any County in New Hampshire
- 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:
Couples must personally present themselves before a city or town clerk in the state of New Hampshire, where they’ll have to fill out a marriage application that will include both the individual's full names, addresses, birthplaces, social security numbers and parents’ full names and birthplaces. All surname changes desired by either party of the couple must be clearly stated, as well as the proposed date and location of the wedding ceremony and the name and address of the person tasked with presiding over the marriage. Members of the US armed forces can have a legal representative fill out and endorse the worksheet in their presence in the event they cannot be there.
The clerk will then transfer all that info to the marriage license, which will be printed out to include the exact date and time of issuance once the applicants have provided photo ID to verify their age, as well as a certified copy of the final divorce decree or death record of a spouse, if applicable, to prove they are no longer married. The fee for a marriage license is $50.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:23 Requirements. –
I. No marriage license shall be issued by any town or city clerk until the applicants have each provided for inspection the following documents:
(a) Proof of age;
(b) A certified copy of the final divorce decree, if either or both parties are divorced; and
(c) A certified copy of the death record of spouse, if either or both parties are widowed.
II, III. [Repealed.]
Source. 1937, 186:1. RL 338:23. RSA 457:23. 1961, 222:1. 1965, 333:1. 1977, 277:1. 1979, 310:2. 1981, 95:2. 1988, 226:2; 262:6. 1995, 310:181. 2005, 261:6. 2011, 187:5, eff. Aug. 13, 2011.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-C:41 Marriage Registration Forms. –
I. There shall be 2 forms for the completion of a marriage registration. The marriage application worksheet, which shall be the form that is used to record marriage intentions, shall be completed by the prospective bride and groom and the clerk of the town or city and shall contain the information needed to complete the marriage license. The marriage license, which shall be the form that is used to record that the marriage ceremony has taken place and to record who solemnized the marriage, shall be completed by the bride, groom, the officiant and the clerk of the town or city in accordance with this section and RSA 5-C:42. The marriage license shall be the official copy of the certificate of marriage when the marriage is registered with the division.
II. The marriage application worksheet shall be completed by the prospective bride and groom in the office of the clerk of the town or city. The information supplied by the groom shall include his full name; his usual residence by street and number, city, town or location, county and state; his birthplace; his date of birth; his social security number; his father's full name; his father's birthplace; his mother's maiden name; and his mother's birthplace. The information supplied by the bride shall include her full name and maiden surname, if different; her usual residence by street and number, city, town or location, county and state; her birthplace; her date of birth; her social security number; her father's full name; her father's birthplace; her mother's maiden name; and, her mother's birthplace.
II-a. (a) Upon entering into marriage, either party may retain his or her surname prior to the marriage or change his or her surname to the surname of the other party or change the surname to a hyphenated combination of the full surnames of both parties. If a party requests a surname change under this paragraph, that party may also change his or her middle name to his or her surname prior to the marriage. Each party shall indicate on the marriage application worksheet the party's name after marriage.
(b) Provided that the change is not made for a fraudulent criminal or wrongful purpose, the name of each party after marriage as indicated on the marriage application worksheet and marriage license shall become the sole legal name of each party after marriage. If a party indicates a name change other than as described in subparagraph (a), the party shall request approval of the court.
III. The clerk of the town or city shall complete the following statistical and legal information on the marriage application worksheet for both the bride and groom with information supplied by the bride and groom: the number which represents of the currently intended marriage; if previously married, whether a civil annulment occurred or the marriage ended by death or divorce; the date of civil annulment or that the last marriage ended; their race and ancestry; their level of education; any waivers presented by the groom or the bride, either for time or age pursuant to RSA 457:4 through RSA 457:9 or RSA 457:26 and RSA 457:27; whether proof of age of the bride and groom was demonstrated using identification with photograph; if applicable, the divorce decree; and, if applicable, the death record of the former spouse.
IV. The bride and groom shall record the following on the marriage application worksheet after the clerk of the town or city completes information on the application worksheet as described in paragraph III: the date and the city or town where the marriage is intended to take place, if known; the name and address of the officiant for the marriage ceremony, if known; the groom's mailing address and phone number; the bride's mailing address and phone number; the groom's signature and date signed; the bride's signature and date signed; and certification that the information provided is correct to the best of his or her knowledge and belief and that he or she is free to marry under the laws of New Hampshire.
V. Once all of the information on the marriage application worksheet has been obtained, the clerk of the town or city shall transfer the information as listed in paragraphs II and III from the marriage application worksheet to the marriage license as well as record the following information on the marriage license: the date that the marriage license is issued, the signature of the clerk, and the name of the city or town of issuance.
VI. Pursuant to RSA 457:26, the date that the marriage license is issued shall be not more than 90 days from the date that marriage intentions were filed.
VII. Upon request of the groom, the name of a legal guardian shall be substituted on the marriage license for a natural parent's name, regardless of whether the groom who makes the request is of legal age at the time when intentions are being filed.
VIII. Upon request of the bride, the name of a legal guardian shall be substituted on the marriage license for a natural parent's name, regardless of whether the bride who makes the request is of legal age at the time when intentions are being filed.
IX. The substitution of stepparents' names shall not be permitted.
X. Persons entering dates on the marriage license shall use the full or abbreviated name of the month rather than numerals.
XI. When listing the birthplace on the marriage license, if the person is known to have been born in the United States, but the state is unknown then "U.S.-Unknown" shall be entered, and, if the person is known to have been born in a foreign country, but the country is unknown, "Foreign Unknown" shall be entered.
XII. If no information is available regarding place of birth, "Unknown" shall be entered.
XIII. The prospective bride and groom shall review the information on the marriage license for completeness and accuracy prior to signing the marriage license.
XIV. If a prospective bride or groom are not of legal age to marry, the co-signature of his or her parent shall be obtained, except when a court has issued a waiver authorizing the marriage in accordance with RSA 457:6.
XV. The officiant shall record the following on the marriage license after the marriage ceremony has taken place: certification that he or she is duly authorized to solemnize the marriage in accordance with RSA 457; the officiant's status, pursuant to RSA 457:31; the date of the marriage ceremony; the city, town or location and county where the couple were married; certification that the bride and groom were married by the officiant in conformance with RSA 457 and that the information noted is correct to the best of his or her knowledge; the signature of the officiant; the officiant's typed or printed name; the officiant's title and address; and an indication of whether the ceremony was religious or civil.
XVI. The date the marriage license is received by the clerk of the town or city from the officiant shall be recorded on the marriage certificate as the date the marriage registration is filed.
XVII. The marriage license shall include the signature of the clerk of the town or city and the name of the town or city.
Source. 2005, 268:1. 2011, 187:1, eff. Aug. 13, 2011. 2014, 69:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-C:42 Marriage License and Registration. –
I. A marriage performed in the state of New Hampshire shall be registered when the marriage certificate is filed in accordance with this section and RSA 5-C:41, signed by the clerk of the town or city, and forwarded to the division.
II. An application for a marriage license may be made in any city or town in the state of New Hampshire and the marriage license shall be issued for a marriage ceremony to be performed in any city or town in the state of New Hampshire.
III. No marriage license or court-ordered waiver issued by any other state shall be acceptable for marriage in the state of New Hampshire.
IV. The prospective bride and groom shall appear in person to the clerk of the town or city to file the marriage intentions and to sign the application for the marriage license unless either party or both are members of the armed forces and unable to appear in person.
V. If either party or both is a member of the armed forces and is unable to appear in person, the following shall apply: the armed services' legal representative shall prepare the marriage application worksheet; the completed application worksheet shall be signed by the service person; the armed services' legal representative, company commander or other superior officer, shall sign a statement attesting that the information provided is correct; the service person, if unable to appear, shall submit a signed statement authorizing the non-service person to sign for both the bride and groom; the completed application, and signed release if applicable, shall then be forwarded to the clerk of the town or city who issued the application; when the application worksheet is received by the clerk of the town or city, it shall then be used as an acceptable substitute for the personal appearance of the service person; the license shall then be prepared pursuant to RSA 5-C:41 with the non-service applicant being permitted to sign the license for both the bride and groom; and the application worksheet received from the service person shall be retained permanently by the clerk of the town or city.
VI. One party may initiate the process of applying for a marriage license; however, the license shall not be issued until signatures have been obtained from both parties.
VII. An applicant for a marriage license shall provide positive identification consisting of a certified copy of a birth certificate or a driver's license or a passport or other license or identification that contains a photograph of the applicant and the applicant's name and date of birth.
VIII. When both applicants for a marriage license are nonresidents of New Hampshire, both applicants shall be at least 18 years of age and, in accordance with RSA 457, there shall be no provision for an age waiver if both applicants and his or her parents are nonresidents of New Hampshire.
IX. If either or both parties have been previously married, a certified copy of the final divorce decree or decrees, or a certified copy of the death record of each deceased spouse, shall be reviewed by the clerk of the town or city before the marriage license is issued. The clerk shall make notation upon the marriage license of such review.
X. If a civil annulment is declared as the means of dissolving a former marriage, the clerk of the town or city shall review a certified copy of the civil annulment decree before the marriage license is issued.
XI. A divorce decree in a foreign language shall not be acceptable for presentation as proof of final divorce, unless the divorce decree is translated into English and signed by the translator, with the signature certified by a justice of the peace or notary public. The cost of the translation, if any, shall be the responsibility of the applicant.
XII. If a divorce decree from a foreign country is not available, the applicant shall provide an affidavit stating that he or she was divorced and a statement from the embassy of the foreign country stating that the records are not available.
XIII. After the marriage application worksheet has been prepared and signed by the applicants, a license fee in accordance with RSA 457:29 shall be paid by the applicants to the clerk of the town or city. If the applicants do not use the marriage license for any reason, the fee shall not be refunded.
XIV. The date of the signing of the worksheet by either the bride or groom, or the earlier of 2 dates if applicable, shall be used by the clerk of the town or city to indicate when the intention of marriage was received and recorded and the date to be used to establish the beginning of the time period during which the license shall be valid. The marriage license shall be valid pursuant to RSA 457:26 for not more than 90 days from the date the marriage intentions were filed. When 90 days have elapsed from the date the marriage intentions were filed and a completed marriage certificate or a delayed certificate of marriage has not been processed, the clerk of the town or city shall make a notation on the marriage application worksheet stating the marriage presumably did not take place. In the case where the marriage certificate is received within 6 months of the end of the 90-day period, the clerk of the town or city shall remove the notation and issue the certificate. In the case where the marriage certificate is received more than 6 months after the end of the 90-day period, the clerk of the town or city shall follow the procedure for issuing a delayed certificate of marriage.
Source. 2005, 268:1. 2011, 187:2, 3, eff. Aug. 13, 2011.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:29 Marriage License Fee. – The fee for the marriage license shall be $50 to be paid by the parties entering into the marriage. The clerk shall forward $43 from each fee to the department of health and human services for the purposes of RSA 173-B:15. The clerk shall retain the remaining $7 as the fee for making the records of notice, issuing the certificate of marriage, and forwarding the $43 portion of the marriage license fee.
Source. RS 147:5. CS 156:5. 1854, 1518:2. GS 161:5. GL 180:5. PS 174:6. 1911, 173:1. PL 286:26. 1929, 54:1. RL 338:29. 1951, 92:1. RSA 457:29. 1973, 335:3. 1981, 223:1. 1989, 277:1. 1992, 289:8. 1993, 149:2. 1999, 240:5. 2010, Sp. Sess., 1:68. 2011, 224:320. 2015, 244:2, eff. July 1, 2015.
Marriage License Facts
- ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
- Mandatory Waiting Period:
- License Valid For:
- 90 Days
- License Must Be Submitted:
- Within 6 Days of Ceremony
Marriage license applications can be filed in any city or town in New Hampshire, and will be valid anywhere in the state, provided the marriage is solemnized within 90 days of issuance. In fact, couples are free to wed the moment they receive the marriage license. All marriages performed will be legally binding once the marriage license and certificate are returned to the same city or town clerk where they were issued within 6 days of the ceremony, which can be delivered either in person or through the mail.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-C:49 Officiant Responsibilities. –
I. The person who performs a marriage shall certify the fact of marriage and within 6 days return the record by mail or in person to the clerk of the town or city of license issuance.
II. No person shall certify or sign the marriage certificate as the officiant at his or her own marriage ceremony.
III. An ordained deacon in the Roman Catholic Church shall be in the category of a "minister of the gospel in the state who has been ordained according to the usage of his denomination," pursuant to RSA 457:31, and be empowered to sign the marriage certificate in the state of New Hampshire with the same authority as an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic faith.
IV. Any out-of-state minister who wishes to perform a marriage in the state of New Hampshire shall obtain a special license from the secretary of state as required by RSA 457:32.
V. In the event a special license is not obtained by an out-of-state officiant, the division shall notify the officiant by written letter to pursue a special license or be subject to prosecution in accordance with RSA 457:35. The division shall recognize the marriage certificate in such cases as valid under the provisions of RSA 457:36.
VI. In accordance with paragraph I, the officiant shall report the fact that a marriage has taken place, even if the bride and groom have a change of mind after the ceremony and ask the officiant not to report the marriage to the clerk of the town or city. The date of the marriage shall be the date that the ceremony took place.
VII. Failure of the officiant to report a marriage shall be a violation.
Source. 2005, 268:1. 2006, 141:10, eff. July 21, 2006.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:26 Marriage License. – The town clerk shall deliver to the parties a marriage license embodying the facts required in RSA 457:22, specifying the time when the application was entered, which license shall be delivered to the minister or magistrate who is to officiate, before the marriage is solemnized. The license shall be valid for not more than 90 days from the date of filing.
Source. RS 147:5. CS 156:5. 1854, 1518:2. GS 161:5. GL 180:5. PS 174:6. 1903, 93:1. 1905, 79:1. 1911, 173:1. PL 286:23. 1939, 52:1. RL 338:26. RSA 457:26. 1979, 45:2; 310:3. 1997, 325:19. 2006, 86:1, eff. July 4, 2006.
Requirements for the Minister
- Min. Age of Minister:
- Age 18
- Not Required
- Document(s) Required:
- Varies by County
- Online Ordination Recognized:
- Relevant Office of Registration:
- Secretary of State
- Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
- Before the Ceremony
- Minister I.D. # Issued:
- Only for Non-Residents
The state of New Hampshire recognizes both civil and religious ceremonies, and thus allows judges, justices and magistrates at both the state and federal level to serve as wedding officiants, as well as any minister of the gospel or member of the clergy residing in the state and in regular standing with his denomination or parish. This includes Roman Catholic deacons, granted the same authority as ordained priests.
Ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church thus qualify as religious actors in New Hampshire, in line with state requirements that all authorized ministers be at least 18 years old, without prejudice to gender or personal religious beliefs.
However, out-of-state ministers looking to marry a couple in New Hampshire must first obtain a special license from the secretary of state, or risk prosecution. The minister might be asked to produce ordination credentials from their home state in order to prove they have the authority to solemnize weddings. Any special permission granted would be done before the ceremony, and would only apply for the marriage in question.
Keep in mind that no person is allowed to legally officiate their own wedding. What’s more, all officiants in New Hampshire have a legal duty to report weddings they preside over, even in cases where the couple has a change of heart and asks them not to.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:31 Solemnization of Marriage. –
A marriage may be solemnized in the following manner:
I. In a civil ceremony by a justice of the peace as commissioned by the state, by a state supreme court justice, superior court judge, or circuit court judge, and by judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, by bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution, or by United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law; or
II. In a religious ceremony by any minister of the gospel in the state who has been ordained according to the usage of his or her denomination, resides in the state, and is in regular standing with the denomination; by any member of the clergy who is not ordained but is engaged in the service of the religious body to which he or she belongs, and who resides in the state, after being licensed therefor by the secretary of state; or within his or her parish, by any minister residing out of the state, but having a pastoral charge wholly or partly in this state.
Source. RS 147:6. CS 156:6. 1861, 2484:1. GS 161:9. 1877, 57:1. GL 180:9. PS 174:8. 1919, 56:1. 1921, 79:1. PL 286:28. RL 338:31. RSA 457:31. 1969, 435:1. 1998, 294:1. 2001, 11:1. 2006, 86:2. 2009, 59:3. 2014, 9:1, eff. July 13, 2014.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:32 Special Commission. – The secretary of state may issue a special license to an ordained or non-ordained minister residing out of the state, or to an individual residing out of state who is authorized or licensed by law to perform marriages in such individual's state of residence, authorizing him or her in a special case to marry a couple within the state. In the case of an individual residing out of state who is authorized or licensed by law to perform marriages in such individual's state of residence, the secretary of state may require the submission of a copy of a valid commission or other indicia of authority to marry in the individual's state of residence as proof of existence of that authority. The names and residences of the couple proposed to be married in such special case shall be stated in the license, and no power shall be conferred to marry any other parties than those named therein. The fee for such license shall be $25. The secretary of state shall keep a permanent record of all such special licenses, which record shall contain the names and residences of the couple to be married and the name and residence of the minister to whom the license is issued.
Source. RS 147:6. CS 156:6. 1861, 2484:1. GS 161:9. 1877, 57:1. GL 180:9. PS 174:8. 1919, 56:1. 1921, 79:1. 1925, 27:1. PL 286:29. RL 338:32. 2000, 75:1. 2003, 319:20, eff. July 1, 2003.
Wedding Ceremony Requirements
- Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
- Minister Required to be Present:
- Number of Witnesses Required:
- Min. Age of Witnesses:
- Couple's Consent Required:
- Pronouncement Required:
New Hampshire law clearly states that no magistrate or minister can solemnize a marriage by proxy. Both they and the couple need to show up to ceremonies in person.
Even though witnesses are not required, both parties must formally consent to taking the other as whatever combination of husband and wife is applicable in their case – typically known as the "I Do" moment in a marriage ceremony. The minister or magistrate must then pronounce the couple married, thus fulfilling their legal obligations and effectively solemnizing the union.
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:8 Prohibitions. – No town clerk shall issue any certificate for the marriage of any person below the age of consent, and no magistrate or minister of religion shall solemnize the marriage of any such person, if such clerk, magistrate or minister knows or has reasonable cause to believe that such person is below such age, unless permission for such marriage has been given under this subdivision. No magistrate or minister of religion shall solemnize any marriage by proxy.
Source. 1907, 80:4. PL 286:8. RL 338:8. RSA 457:8. 1987, 218:4, eff. July 17, 1987.
- Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
- Church/Ordaining Body:
- Universal Life Church Ministries
- Address of Church:
- Minister's Home Address
Now happily married, the couple might breathe a sigh of relief. But the minister’s job is not yet done.
New Hampshire requires that the officiant fill out the remainder of the marriage license, noting both the date of the marriage ceremony and the specific city, town or county where it took place; including their own full name, title, home address and signature, and ultimately certifying that they are in fact authorized to solemnize the marriage, that it was in fact a religious ceremony, and that all the information provided in the marriage license is accurate to the best of their knowledge.
The minister must then either mail or personally return the marriage license and certificate to the same issuing city clerk in the next six days so as to comply with the law.