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.
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.01 Persons who may be joined in marriage – minor to obtain consent.
(A) Except as provided in section 3101.02 of the Revised Code, only male persons of the age of eighteen years, and only female persons of the age of eighteen years, not nearer of kin than second cousins, and not having a husband or wife living, may be joined in marriage. A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman.
(1) Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state.
(2) Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in any other jurisdiction shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state and shall not be recognized by this state.
(3) The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of this state, as defined in section 9.82 of the Revised Code, that extends the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is void ab initio. Nothing in division (B)(3) of this section shall be construed to do either of the following:
(a) Prohibit the extension of specific benefits otherwise enjoyed by all persons, married or unmarried, to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes, including the extension of benefits conferred by any statute that is not expressly limited to married persons, which includes but is not limited to benefits available under Chapter 4117. of the Revised Code;
(b) Affect the validity of private agreements that are otherwise valid under the laws of this state.
(4) Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state, country, or other jurisdiction outside this state that extends the specific benefits of legal marriage to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state and shall not be recognized by this state.
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.02 Condition of consent by juvenile court for persons age seventeen.
(A) If both persons to be joined in marriage are the age of seventeen years, they may be joined in marriage only if the juvenile court has filed a consent to the marriage under section 3101.04 of the Revised Code.
(B) If only one person is the age of seventeen years, that person may be joined in marriage only if both of the following apply:
(1) The juvenile court has filed a consent to the marriage under section 3101.04 of the Revised Code.
(2) The other person to be joined in marriage is not more than four years older.
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.
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.08 Who may solemnize marriages.
An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.
Effective Date: 04-11-1991 .
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.10 License to solemnize marriages.
A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of the minister's being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing the minister to solemnize marriages in this state so long as the minister continues as a regular minister in that society or congregation. A minister shall produce for inspection the minister's license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage at which the minister officiates or proposes to officiate or upon demand of any probate judge.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.52, SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.
Effective Date: 06-04-1976 .
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.
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.07 Expiration date of license.
No marriage license shall be effective nor shall it authorize the performance of a marriage ceremony after the expiration of sixty days from the date of issuance. This provision shall be printed on each license in prominent type.
Effective Date: 10-01-1953 .
Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.13 Marriage record.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, a certificate of every marriage solemnized shall be transmitted by the authorized person solemnizing the marriage, within thirty days after the solemnization, to the probate judge of the county in which the marriage license was issued. If, in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, a probate judge solemnizes a marriage and if the probate judge issued the marriage license to the husband and wife, the probate judge shall file a certificate of that solemnized marriage in the probate judge's office within thirty days after the solemnization. All of the transmitted and filed certificates shall be consecutively numbered and recorded in the order in which they are received.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.52, SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.
Effective Date: 04-11-1991.
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.
3101.05 Application for marriage license.
(A) The parties to a marriage shall make an application for a marriage license. Each of the persons seeking a marriage license shall personally appear in the probate court within the county where either resides, or, if neither is a resident of this state, where the marriage is expected to be solemnized. If neither party is a resident of this state, the marriage may be solemnized only in the county where the license is obtained. Each party shall make application and shall state upon oath, the party's name, age, residence, place of birth, occupation, father's name, and mother's maiden name, if known, and the name of the person who is expected to solemnize the marriage. If either party has been previously married, the application shall include the names of the parties to any previous marriage and of any minor children, and if divorced the jurisdiction, date, and case number of the decree. If either applicant is the age of seventeen years, the judge shall require the applicants to state that they received marriage counseling satisfactory to the court. Except as otherwise provided in this division, the application also shall include each party's social security number. In lieu of requiring each party's social security number on the application, the court may obtain each party's social security number, retain the social security numbers in a separate record, and allow a number other than the social security number to be used on the application for reference purposes. If a court allows the use of a number other than the social security number to be used on the application for reference purposes, the record containing the social security number is not a public record, except that, in any of the circumstances set forth in divisions (C)(1) to (5) of section 3101.051 of the Revised Code, the record containing the social security number shall be made available for inspection under section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
Immediately upon receipt of an application for a marriage license, the court shall place the parties' record in a book kept for that purpose. If the probate judge is satisfied that there is no legal impediment and if one or both of the parties are present, the probate judge shall grant the marriage license.
If the judge is satisfied from the affidavit of a reputable physician in active practice and residing in the county where the probate court is located, that one of the parties is unable to appear in court, by reason of illness or other physical disability, a marriage license may be granted upon application and oath of the other party to the contemplated marriage; but in that case the person who is unable to appear in court, at the time of making application for a marriage license, shall make and file in that court, an affidavit setting forth the information required of applicants for a marriage license.
A probate judge may grant a marriage license under this section at any time after the application is made.
A marriage license issued shall not display the social security number of either party to the marriage.
Each person seeking a marriage license shall present documentary proof of age in the form of any one of the following:
(1) A copy of a birth record;
(2) A birth certificate issued by the department of health, a local registrar of vital statistics, or other public office charged with similar duties by the laws of another state, territory, or country;
(3) A baptismal record showing the person's date of birth;
(4) A passport;
(5) A license or permit to operate a motor vehicle as defined under section 4501.01 of the Revised Code;
(6) Any government- or school-issued identification card showing the person's date of birth;
(7) An immigration record showing the person's date of birth;
(8) A naturalization record showing the person's date of birth;
(9) A court record or any other document or record issued by a governmental entity showing the person's date of birth.
(B) An applicant for a marriage license who knowingly makes a false statement in an application or affidavit prescribed by this section is guilty of falsification under section 2921.13 of the Revised Code.
(C) No licensing officer shall issue a marriage license if the officer has not received the application, affidavit, or other statements prescribed by this section or if the officer has reason to believe that any of the statements in a marriage license application or in an affidavit prescribed by this section are false.
(D) Any fine collected for violation of this section shall be paid to the use of the county together with the costs of prosecution.
Amended by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 511, §1, eff. 4/8/2019.
Effective Date: 02-12-2001 .
- 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.