Illinois Marriage Laws

Illinois, home to both the flattest farmland and wetlands and the tallest building in the country, boasts an equally diverse set of marriage laws sure to keep prospective newlyweds on their toes. No stranger to states with unique marriage license and ceremonial requirements and procedures, we here at the Universal Life Church have taken it upon ourselves to condense our legal research on Illinois into a rather simple and easy-to-follow guide, highlighting the chronological steps couples and ministers must take in order to ensure their wedding will be legally binding in the Prairie State.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Any two persons wanting to get married in the state of Illinois must be at least 18 years old. Minors over 16 years of age will need the consent of both their parents or legal guardians to wed. In the event that one parent can’t be reached, and the second files an affidavit swearing that every effort has been made to do so, the court may order the clerk to issue a marriage license regardless.

Illinois forbids the legal union of all relatives closer than second cousins, although it will make exceptions for first cousins if either both are over the age of 50, or one is infertile.

Same sex couples and non-state residents are welcome to marry in Illinois.

Marriage License Requirements

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

Couples looking to secure a marriage license in the state of Illinois must both present themselves before a clerk in the county in which the ceremony will take place. They will be asked to complete a written application on which each will state their names, sex, occupations, addresses, social security numbers and their place and date of birth. All previous marriages must be revealed, and certified copies of divorce decrees provided if those occurred within six months of the application. Couples must also divulge if they are related in any way, and provide the names and addresses of any guardians consenting to the marriage if they are minors.

The fee for a marriage license will vary depending on the Illinois county in which the application is made.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
1 Day
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

Once satisfied that all the information provided checks out, the clerk will issue the couple a marriage license and certificate that will be effective as of the following day, unless a court determines it effective immediately for special circumstances.

The license will then only be valid in the county where it was issued, and for a period of no longer than 60 days. It must be returned to the same clerk within 10 days of the ceremony, or at the end of the license’s 60-day expiry, even if no marriage takes place.

Requirements for the Minister

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

The state of Illinois sanctions a wide range of civil and religious officials authorized to solemnize weddings on its soil. This includes most judges, either serving or retired and not removed from office, all county clerks presiding over more than 2 million inhabitants, public officials and mayors, as well as any recognized head of a religious denomination, Indian Nation/Tribe or Native Group. All must be at least 18 years old. Retired judges and mayors are barred from receiving any compensation for officiating a wedding.

Bear in mind that ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church will be recognized by the state of Illinois as legal ‘religious’ actors, without prejudice to their own state or country of residence, gender or personal beliefs.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Illinois law states that no church, mosque, synagogue, temple or non-denominational ministry should feel obliged to host any marriage ceremony that violates any of its religious beliefs or practices, shielding them from civil or criminal liability.

Other than that, the state leaves it to couples and ministers to plan their ceremonies as they see fit, in accordance with their customs and traditions. Although no witnesses are required, any ceremony must include a solemn declaration to consent to marry between each person in the couple, then pronounced by the wedding officiant, for the union to be officially solemnized.

Final Steps

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

Once the marriage has been solemnized, the minister or magistrate who presided over the ceremony will be responsible for filling out the marriage certificate in full – noting the date and place of marriage, as well as their own name, title, ordaining body (the Universal Life Church) and home address, if such information is required – and returning it to the same county clerk that issued it within 10 days.

The clerk will then forward that information to the Illinois Department of Public Health, rendering the marriage a permanent part of the state record.