New Hampshire Marriage Laws

Getting married in the Granite State requires knowing a few specifics about how New Hampshire handles its marriage laws. The following step-by-step guide is designed to make all that bureaucracy a little more bearable, allowing you to spend more time actually planning and enjoying your big day rather than wondering if your marriage will hold up under legal scrutiny when it’s all said and done. The road to your legally-binding New Hampshire wedding starts here!

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

Weddings in the state of New Hampshire may only be consummated between two adults aged 18 years or older. Minors older than 16 may also marry, provided they seek written permission from a family court judge with jurisdiction in the location where at least one of the two applicants resides.

The couple, or their legal guardians, will have to disclose to the court any outstanding issues with either the department of health and services or the bureau of child protection, and generally prove the marriage in question is in their best interest. Non-resident minors can not apply for this exemption.

New Hampshire also forbids the marriage of anyone closer in blood than second cousins, and does not allow anyone to be married to more than one person at the same time. Same-sex marriages have been welcome in the state since 2010.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in New Hampshire
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$50.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Couples must personally present themselves before a city or town clerk in the state of New Hampshire, where they’ll have to fill out a marriage application that will include both the individual's full names, addresses, birthplaces, social security numbers and parents’ full names and birthplaces. All surname changes desired by either party of the couple must be clearly stated, as well as the proposed date and location of the wedding ceremony and the name and address of the person tasked with presiding over the marriage. Members of the US armed forces can have a legal representative fill out and endorse the worksheet in their presence in the event they cannot be there.

The clerk will then transfer all that info to the marriage license, which will be printed out to include the exact date and time of issuance once the applicants have provided photo ID to verify their age, as well as a certified copy of the final divorce decree or death record of a spouse, if applicable, to prove they are no longer married. The fee for a marriage license is $50.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
90 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 6 Days of Ceremony

Marriage license applications can be filed in any city or town in New Hampshire, and will be valid anywhere in the state, provided the marriage is solemnized within 90 days of issuance. In fact, couples are free to wed the moment they receive the marriage license. All marriages performed will be legally binding once the marriage license and certificate are returned to the same city or town clerk where they were issued within 6 days of the ceremony, which can be delivered either in person or through the mail.

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:
Secretary of State
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
Only for Non-Residents

The state of New Hampshire recognizes both civil and religious ceremonies, and thus allows judges, justices and magistrates at both the state and federal level to serve as wedding officiants, as well as any minister of the gospel or member of the clergy residing in the state and in regular standing with his denomination or parish. This includes Roman Catholic deacons, granted the same authority as ordained priests.

Ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church thus qualify as religious actors in New Hampshire, in line with state requirements that all authorized ministers be at least 18 years old, without prejudice to gender or personal religious beliefs.

However, out-of-state ministers looking to marry a couple in New Hampshire must first obtain a special license from the secretary of state, or risk prosecution. The minister might be asked to produce ordination credentials from their home state in order to prove they have the authority to solemnize weddings. Any special permission granted would be done before the ceremony, and would only apply for the marriage in question.

Keep in mind that no person is allowed to legally officiate their own wedding. What’s more, all officiants in New Hampshire have a legal duty to report weddings they preside over, even in cases where the couple has a change of heart and asks them not to.

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

New Hampshire law clearly states that no magistrate or minister can solemnize a marriage by proxy. Both they and the couple need to show up to ceremonies in person.

Even though witnesses are not required, both parties must formally consent to taking the other as whatever combination of husband and wife is applicable in their case – typically known as the "I Do" moment in a marriage ceremony. The minister or magistrate must then pronounce the couple married, thus fulfilling their legal obligations and effectively solemnizing the union.

Final Steps

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

Now happily married, the couple might breathe a sigh of relief. But the minister’s job is not yet done.

New Hampshire requires that the officiant fill out the remainder of the marriage license, noting both the date of the marriage ceremony and the specific city, town or county where it took place; including their own full name, title, home address and signature, and ultimately certifying that they are in fact authorized to solemnize the marriage, that it was in fact a religious ceremony, and that all the information provided in the marriage license is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

The minister must then either mail or personally return the marriage license and certificate to the same issuing city clerk in the next six days so as to comply with the law.