Mississippi Marriage Laws

For many, the state of Mississippi still stands at the metaphorical crossroads of tradition and modernity. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the way Mississippi sets and manages its own rather unique marriage laws. That being said, if your mind is set on a wedding in the Magnolia State, we at the Universal Life Church strongly suggest taking some time to carefully read through the following step-by-step guide, taken straight from the legal source. Doing so may save you the blues of being stuck with a marriage that is not legally binding.

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

The state of Mississippi will allow couples and their minister to dictate the specific content and flow of the ceremony, in keeping with their own religious customs, in so far as any formal ceremony includes a declared consent to marry from both parties, made before an authorized officiant.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 21 or Age 17 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Mississippi is the only state in the country that sets the legal age of consent to marry at 21. What’s more, its definition of a minor varies according to sex. That means males who are at least 17, and females who are at least 15, must present parental or guardian approval to the circuit clerk in order to get married.

Same sex couples who are now allowed to marry in the state given recent changes in federal marriage equality laws, should take special note of these gendered restrictions.

Marriages between siblings, between sons and grandparents, parents, stepparents or aunts, between fathers and daughters or grand-daughters and between first cousins are prohibited. Similarly, a father cannot marry his son’s widow, and no man shall marry his wife’s child or grandchild, nor the children of his own siblings. The same applies to females in exactly the same circumstances and degrees.

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:
Circuit Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

All states in this country allow for the solemnization of marriages through both civil and religious ceremonies. In this regard, Mississippi is no exception.

Ministers, rabbis or other spiritual leaders deemed to be in good standing with their religious bodies, as well as judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court or county court in the state, may perform the rites of matrimony. Included, of course, are ministers of the Universal Life Church, legally recognized ‘religious actors’ ordained online without prejudice to gender or personal beliefs.

That being said, ULC ministers may be asked to present their credentials to the circuit clerk before the ceremony, depending on the county in which the ceremony will be held.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
No Expiration
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

A marriage license issued in Mississippi is technically valid until the couple is married, as there is no expiration or waiting period between its issuance and the solemnization of the ceremony. Couples are therefore free to take as little or as much time as they need.

However, copies of the marriage record will eventually have to be signed by both the couple and minister, and returned within 5 days of the completed ceremony.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Mississippi
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$38.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Valid Official ID Showing Age
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Varies by County
Blood Test Required:
No

Couples seeking a marriage license in Mississippi must apply in person, before a circuit court clerk in any county in the state. The written application must include the names, ages and addresses of both parties, as well as the names and addresses of parents or legal guardians in the event they are minors. The clerk will verify that information with either a birth certificate, baptismal record, Army ID, driver’s license or school record. Certain counties may also demand a divorce certificate in the case of prior marriages.

If satisfied with the information provided, the clerk will issue a marriage license and file a record of marriage with the office of vital records registration of the State Board of Health. The fee for a marriage license is $38.

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 minister has pronounced the couple married and the ceremony is complete, it’s their job to ensure the marriage certificate includes the date of the marriage, all relevant information on the couple, as well as their own title, ordaining religious body (the Universal Life Church) and home address.

Once all parties have endorsed the document, the marriage license and certificate must be returned to the same clerk where it was issued within five days of the ceremony.