Ohio Marriage Laws

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

People just seem to gravitate toward the state of Ohio. In fact, more than half of the US population lives within a 500-mile radius of its capital Columbus, which is perhaps why it’s earned its “The Heart of it All” catchline. However, if you’re a couple feeling the magnetic pull of the Buckeye State – with its Lake Erie shoreline and wide array of midwestern ballrooms – you may want to review the following guide we’ve compiled. Complete with detailed analysis of every relevant aspect of the legal code, these specifics will be important in ensuring the big day is legally binding.

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:

Both members of the couple and the minister must be physically present during any wedding ceremony in order for it to be considered a formal and legal ceremony in the state of Ohio. No witnesses are required, although each member of the couple must consent verbally to take the other as husband or wife. A pronouncement to that effect is then required from the officiant in order to seal the deal.

Requirements for the Couple

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

According to state law, Ohio will allow only one man and one woman, both of whom are at least 18 years of age, no closer in blood than seconds cousins and free of living spouses of their own, to enter into a legally binding marriage.

Of course, there are exceptions. For starters, relatively recent changes in federal marriage laws means same sex marriages must now be legally recognized in the state. And as far as minors interested in marrying are concerned, couples who are both 17 years old may seek the approval of a juvenile court. Consent may also be granted in the case where only one member of the couple is 17, provided the other is not over 21.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Letter of Good Standing and Ordination Credential
Online Ordination Recognized:
Relevant Office of Registration:
Secretary of State
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:

Along with county court judges, mayors and even the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, the state of Ohio also recognizes ordained and licensed ministers of all religious congregations, as well as those religious societies whose ceremonies require no ministers. This includes ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church, whose members are legally recognized to solemnize weddings without prejudice to their gender or religious beliefs, provided they are at least 18 years of age.

Keep in mind that ULC ministers will need to register as an officiant at the state level. This requires providing a copy of their credentials, along with a letter of good standing, to the secretary of state, who will then issue a special license authorizing said minister to perform weddings in Ohio. You can review more information about this state registration process HERE.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Mandatory Waiting Period:
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 30 Days of Ceremony

Marriage licenses issued in the state of Ohio will only be valid for a period of sixty days, the date at which it goes into effect printed in prominent type. Couples who don’t want to waste any time can technically marry the same day the license is issued. Great care must be taken by the officiant in question to ensure the license and marriage record is returned to the same court in which it was issued within 30 days of the ceremony.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Ohio
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Varies, approx. $40-$80
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Blood Test Required:

Both members of the couple are required to apply for the marriage license, in person, at the probate court located in the county in which either resides. Out-of-state residents, meanwhile, must obtain a license in the county where the ceremony will take place.

Both parties will need to provide, under oath, their names, age, residence, place of birth, both their father’s name and mother’s maiden name if applicable, as well as the name of the officiant expected to solemnize the wedding. The names of former spouses and any children born in previous marriages must also be divulged, along with any relevant divorce documents. Minors will also need to prove they received marriage counseling deemed adequate by the court. Any applicant who knowingly provides false information in an application or affidavit may be found guilty of falsification and fined.

If all is deemed satisfactory, the probate judge will issue the marriage license after verifying the information with any official document presented, be it a birth certificate, passport, license or immigration record. Social security numbers, once confirmed, must then be appropriately stricken from the public record, and not appear on the license.

Final Steps

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

It is the minister’s job to ensure the marriage certificate has been filled out completely and accurately by the couple, and that their name, title, congregation (Universal Life Church) and home address has been listed. That license and marriage record must then be returned to the issuing probate court within 30 days of the completed ceremony.

Interested in Performing a Ohio wedding?

Be a OH Wedding Officiant

Are you Considering Becoming a Minister in Ohio?

See the Steps to OH Ordination

Proceed to your Ordination Application

Become Ordained