Minnesota Marriage Laws

Trying to plan a wedding in the great state of Minnesota can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. If the marriage-laws in the Land of 10,000 Lakes has you scratching your head, don't worry! We’ve scrolled through the relevant legal codes and boiled the entire process down to the most important steps – everything you need to know on the path to a legally binding Minnesota marriage.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

The state of Minnesota requires no particular form, rules or customs for any wedding ceremony to be deemed legal and binding. That being said, both parties must consent to taking the other as husband, wife or spouse, a declaration that must be made before an authorized minister and two witnesses over the age of 16. Only then will the marriage be officially solemnized in the eyes of the 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

Only consenting couples 18 years or older are allowed to get married in Minnesota. Minors aged 16 and 17 will require the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Minnesota does not require that any person wishing to marry actually be a resident of either the state or country, and federally enforced marriage equality laws enacted in 2013 means LGBTQ couples across the country are legally allowed to wed in the state. Minnesota does not tolerate weddings between relatives closer than second cousins.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Ordination Credential
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Vital Statistics Office
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

Any recognized minister or member of a religious organization looking to perform a wedding in Minnesota will be required to file their ordination credentials with the Vital Statistics Office before the ceremony takes place.

Remember that all ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church must be at least 18 years old, thus rendering them religious actors capable of solemnizing marriages in the state of Minnesota, regardless of their own state or country of residence, their declared gender or personal belief systems. ULC ministers in Minnesota often elect to order the Classic Wedding Package, which includes official documentation from the church, should it be required.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
One Day
License Valid For:
6 Months
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

Once the local registrar issues the license, the couple must wait at least 24 hours before any wedding ceremony can take place, provided neither have a felony conviction for a crime committed on or after August 1, 2000. Either party who admits to having a felony conviction over that same time period and who is requesting a name change will be forced to wait 30 days before any wedding ceremony can be performed.

Marriage licenses issued in Minnesota are valid for six months. Any marriage that goes unsolemnized due to illness or other circumstances may be surrendered to the local registrar for cancellation. A new license shall then be issued without any added fee.

Any local registrar who knowingly issues or signs a civil marriage license in any manner contrary to these rules shall pay to the parties aggrieved a fine of up to $1,000.

Marriage License Requirements

Minnesota law requires that all couples looking to get married present themselves, in person, before a local registrar in the county of their choosing. If one member cannot be present, the other can fill in the application for them, although the local registrar will have to receive their notarized approval before issuing the license.

The written application provided must include both individuals’ full names and sex, home addresses, ages and social security numbers. Persons previously married must also include their married name, as well as the date, place and court in which the marriage was dissolved, or the spouse deceased. Minors will need to include the names and addresses of parents or guardians, and all applicants must divulge if and how they are related, and whether or not either has been convicted of a felony in either Minnesota or another state, in which case taking on any name other than the one they were convicted with without the proper checks shall be considered a gross misdemeanor.

Couples will then need to pay the $115 fee for the marriage license, except if they can prove they’ve completed at least 12 hours of premarital education by submitting a sworn statement that is either notarized or marked with a church seal from the person who provided such courses, in which case the fee drops to $40!

Final Steps

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

It is the job of the person solemnizing the marriage to also prepare and sign the marriage certificate. It must contain the full names of the parties before and after the wedding, their birthdates and addresses, as well as the date and place of the wedding. The signatures of the two witnesses must also be included, as well as the officiant’s own name, title, ordaining body (if applicable) and home address.

The officiant must then file that certificate with the same local registrar that issued the original marriage license, no later than five days after the ceremony.