Virginia Marriage Laws

Virginia is a particularly interesting state when it comes to weddings, presenting couples with a set of unique laws and exceptions. The following step-by-step guide is meant to help navigate couples and officiating ministers through the entire process, from registering for a license to planning the ceremony and then handling the marriage license correctly to ensure the union is upheld to the precise letter of the law.

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

Ministers who choose to officiate a wedding in Virginia must be at least 18 years of age.

As long as ministers who've been ordained online present their ordination credential before a judge or county clerk and prove that they are, in fact, a reputed member who is in regular communion with their religious society, it doesn't matter where ministers come from, the gender they identify as, or what they actually believe in.

Virigina law does not recognize online ordinations, so ULC ministers are generally barred from performing weddings in the state. That said, the ULC recommends that ministers contact the county clerk in the county where the ceremonly is planned to be held to double-check what the rules are for that area. Need to show proof of ordination? We recommend ordering the Classic Wedding Package.

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 Virginia requires that both the couple and the officiating minister be present during the ceremony. Witnesses, however, are not required.

While the couple has free rein to customize the ceremony in the manner they see fit, the state requires the couple provide official consent (the famous I DO moment) to marry at some point, and then the officiating minister must pronounce the couple married.

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:
$30.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Whether native to the state or from out of town or even country, both members of any couple looking to wed in Virginia will need to present themselves to the state county clerk to apply for a marriage license. That license will only be valid in that specific county, so choose wisely. Standard government issued ID will be required to confirm all relevant personal info, as will proof of any prior divorce. It costs $30 to apply.

No state will ever require blood tests of any kind in order to secure a marriage license.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

As is the case in almost every state, a Virginia marriage license can be solemnized with either a religious or civil ceremony. That being said, ULC ministers are ordained, which means they are permitted to perform religious ceremonies only.

Virginia has no mandated waiting period between obtaining the marriage license and performing the ceremony. A marriage license is valid for 60 days after it is issued.

Requirements for the Couple

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

While the state of Virginia requires that both parties in a couple wishing to marry be at least 18 years or older, it is ready to make exceptions for 16 and 17-year-olds who have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian, as well as minors under 16 years of age in those cases where the female is under 16 and pregnant.

Virginia will not tolerate marriages between couples who are already married, nor between siblings (even by adoption), nor between uncles or aunts with nieces or nephews. First cousins are allowed to marry under the law.

Same-sex couples are also legally allowed to wed, as is the case in every US state.

Final Steps

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

It’s normally up to the officiating minister to ensure the marriage license is properly filled out and gets back to the county clerk in time.

They will mark their title as "minister", fill in the relevant church or ordaining body as "Universal Life Church Ministries" and make sure to include their own home address in the event that the form asks for an address of ministry.

Once completed, the original marriage license must be returned to the same issuing county clerk’s office within 5 days of the ceremony, where it will be filed and used as prima facie evidence that the wedding took place.