Requirements for the Couple
- Min. Age of Couple:
- Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
- Not Required
- Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
- First Cousins
- Marriage Equality:
The minimum marrying age in Tennessee is 18 years old. Either member of a couple between the ages of 16 and 18 will require the signature of two separate legal guardians on their behalf, followed by the observation of a 3-day waiting period before any license is issued. Minors under the age of 16, for their part, will need to seek approval in Juvenile Court before being issued a marriage license.
The state of Tennessee welcomes residents and non-residents alike, and recognizes same sex marriages. It will not, however, marry any combination of siblings, ancestors/ descendants or any other blood relatives closer than second cousins.
(a) No county clerk or deputy clerk shall issue a marriage license until the applicants make an application in writing, stating the names, ages, addresses and social security numbers of both the proposed male and female contracting parties and the names and addresses of the parents, guardian or next of kin of both parties. The application shall be sworn to by both applicants. Should either individual be incarcerated, the inmate shall not be made to appear but shall submit a notarized statement containing the name, age, current address and a name and address of the individual's parents, guardian or next of kin. If an applicant has a disability that prevents the applicant from appearing, the applicant may submit a notarized statement containing the person's name, age, current address and the names and address of the parents, guardian or next of kin. (b) (1) If either applicant is under eighteen (18) years of age, the application shall remain on file, open to the public, in the office of the county clerk for three (3) full days before issuance of the license. No waiting period shall apply if both parents, the guardian or the next of kin of any minor applicant join in the application. No waiting period shall apply if both applicants are eighteen (18) years of age or over. (2) If either applicant is under eighteen (18) years of age, immediately upon filing of the application, the county clerk shall cause to be sent by registered mail to the parents, guardian or next of kin of any minor applicant, a notice of the application. The provisions of this subdivision (b)(2) shall not apply if both parents, the guardian or the next of kin of any minor applicant join in the application. (3) The parents, guardian or next of kin of an applicant may join in the application either by personal appearance before the county clerk or deputy county clerk, or by submitting a sworn and notarized affidavit.
Marriage License Requirements
- Who Picks Up License:
- The Couple
- Where License is Valid:
- Any County in Tennessee
- Marriage License Pick-Up:
- In Person Only
- Cost of License:
- Varies by County
- Accepted I.D. Types:
- Photo ID
- Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
- Blood Test Required:
No marriage license will be issued in the state of Tennessee until both parties of the couple fill out the necessary application (stating their names, ages, addresses and social security numbers, and the names and addresses of their parents, guardians or next of kin) and swear to the information contained in it.
The city of Nashville requires couples verify their social security numbers, and the state will also demand proof of prior divorce, if applicable. Only those who are either incarcerated or who have a disability that prevents them from appearing in person before a county clerk will be exempt from this requirement after providing a notarized statement.
A marriage license in Tennessee will set you back anywhere from $90 to $110, depending on the county in which it is issued. Applicants who prove they’ve undergone premarital counseling within a year of applying can knock $60 off the total fee.
Tenn. Code Ann. 36-3-104(a) No county clerk nor deputy clerk shall issue a marriage license until the applicants make an application in writing, stating the names, ages, addresses and social security numbers of both the proposed male and female contracting parties and the names and addresses of the parents, guardian or next of kin of both parties.
Marriage License Facts
- ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
- Mandatory Waiting Period:
- License Valid For:
- 30 Days
- License Must Be Submitted:
- Within 3 Days of Ceremony
Once issued, the marriage license must be presented to the minister who will be presiding over the ceremony. Keep in mind that any marriage solemnized in Tennessee by a minister ordained by the Universal Life Church will be considered a ‘religious’ one.
The license, once granted, will be valid for 30 days. It must be returned back to the same county clerk office that issued it within 3 days of the wedding ceremony.
(a) Before being joined in marriage, the parties shall present to the minister or officer a license under the hand of a county clerk in this state, directed to such minister or officer, authorizing the solemnization of a marriage between the parties. Such license shall be valid for thirty (30) days from its issuance by the clerk.
Requirements for the Minister
- Min. Age of Minister:
- Age 18
- Not Required
- Document(s) Required:
- Proof of Non-Online Ordination
- Online Ordination Recognized:
- Relevant Office of Registration:
- County Clerk
- Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
- Before Ceremony
- Minister I.D. # Issued:
The state of Tennessee recognizes both civil and religious unions, and therefore sanctions any minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader having the “care of souls” to solemnize a wedding, as well as any county mayor, judge, chancellor, judge, governor, speaker of the house or senate – either serving or retired – that hasn’t been convicted of a felony or removed from office.
It gets a little more complicated for ULC ministers, because in 2019 Tennessee passed a law declaring that officiants ordained online do not have the authority to perform legal wedding ceremonies. The Universal Life Church Ministries has filed a lawsuit alleging that the law is unconstitutional and asking for it to be overturned, but that case is still being litigated.
For now, online-ordained ministers in Tennessee require proof of physical ordination before officiating a legal wedding ceremony. That item can be found in the Classic Wedding Package, which we recommend our Tennessee ministers order.
(a) (1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and all members of the county legislative bodies, county mayors, judges, chancellors, former chancellors and former judges of this state, former county executives or county mayors of this state, former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions, the governor, the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives, the county clerk of each county and the mayor of any municipality in the state may solemnize the rite of matrimony. For the purposes of this section, the several judges of the United States courts, including United States magistrates and United States bankruptcy judges, who are citizens of Tennessee are deemed to be judges of this state. The amendments to this section by Acts 1987, ch. 336, which applied provisions of this section to certain former judges, do not apply to any judge who has been convicted of a felony or who has been removed from office. (2) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act. (3) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which any minister officiated before June 1, 1999, such marriage shall not be invalid because the requirements of the preceding subdivision (2) have not been met. (b) The traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whereby the parties simply pledge their vows one to another in the presence of the congregation, constitutes an equally effective solemnization. (c) Any gratuity received by a county mayor, county clerk or municipal mayor for the solemnization of a marriage, whether performed during or after such person's regular working hours, shall be retained by such person as personal renumeration for such services, in addition to any other sources of compensation such person might receive, and such gratuity shall not be paid into the county general fund or the treasury of such municipality. (d) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a county executive officiated prior to April 24, 1981, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (e) For the purposes of this section, ?retired judges of this state? is construed to include persons who served as judges of any municipal or county court in any county that has adopted a metropolitan form of government and persons who served as county judges (judges of the quarterly county court) prior to the 1978 constitutional amendments. (f) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a retired judge of this state officiated prior to April 13, 1984, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (g) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a judicial commissioner officiated prior to March 28, 1991, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (h) The judge of the general sessions court of any county, and any former judge of any general sessions court, may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. Any marriage performed by any judge of the general sessions court in any county of this state before March 16, 1994, shall be valid and declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (i) All elected officials and former officials, who are authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. (j) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a county mayor officiated outside such mayor's county prior to May 29, 1997, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.
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:
The state of Tennessee is fairly lenient when it comes to setting out the manner, order and aesthetic in which wedding ceremonies take place, leaving it to the couples to do so according to their needs. Witnesses are not required.
However, no marriage on Tennessee’s soil will be considered legally solemnized without the verbal consent of the couple, in which each accepts the other as their wedded spouse. The union must then be pronounced by the minister presiding over the marriage.
No formula need be observed in such solemnization, except that the parties shall respectively declare, in the presence of the minister or officer, that they accept each other as husband and/or wife.
- Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
- Church/Ordaining Body:
- Universal Life Church Ministries
- Address of Church:
- Minister's Home Address
The state of Tennessee clearly states that it is the officiating minister’s job to list the fact and time of the ceremony on the marriage license; to identify themselves and their relevant church (the Universal Life Church), to provide a home address if asked, and finally to sign the document and return it to the county clerk where it was issued within three days of the wedding. Failure to do so will be considered a Class C misdemeanor.
(a) One authorized by § 36-3-301 who solemnizes the rite of matrimony shall endorse on the license the fact and time of the marriage, and sign the license, and return it to the county clerk within three (3) days from the date of marriage. Every person who fails to make such return of the license commits a Class C misdemeanor. (b) The functions, duties and liabilities of the party solemnizing marriage as set forth in this part shall, in the case of marriages solemnized among the Religious Society of Friends, be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation, or in the clerk's absence, the clerk's duly designated alternate.