West Virginia Marriage Laws

Every state manages its marriage laws uniquely, and scenic West Virginia is no exception. That's why we at the Universal Life Church have taken it upon ourselves to publish this simple step-by-step guide, careful instructions backed with corresponding excerpts from the state’s legal code. All the information you need to pull off a legally binding wedding in the Mountain State, picturesque steel arch bridge or Civil War relic in the backdrop not included!

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:
Secretary of State
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

Ministers officiating weddings in West Virginia must be at least 18 years of age and present relevant ordination credentials with the Secretary of State, who will verify they are both authorized to do so and in regular communion with their church. The minister will then be entered into a registry, and informed if that good standing should change. Ministers who've been ordained online may have to show their ordination credential, and so we recommend they order the Classic Wedding Package to have all relevant documents.

A minister’s home state, chosen gender or belief system will never affect their standing. The ULC recommends ministers carry a copy of their ordination credentials when visiting county clerks in case they ask for proof of ordination when registering.

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

While the state of West Virginia does not dictate the finer details of wedding planning, it does have a few simple rules for the ceremony.

For starters, both the officiating minister and couple must be physically present for the marriage ceremony, although no witnesses are required. It is up to the couple to provide official consent (a simple “I Do” will suffice) and the minister to pronounce that consent.

Marriage License Requirements

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in West Virginia
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$56.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Standard Government Issued
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

The state of West Virginia requires that couples both apply for and pick up marriage licenses in person from a state county clerk office of choice. This clerk will verify the relevant information (social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and whether the couple has completed state-sanctioned premarital courses), requiring that either a birth certificate, voter registration certificate or driver's license be presented as proof. Legal aliens must provide a tourist or working visa, and every couple must confirm they are not the other’s property and will not engage in a violent or abusive union.

No proof of prior divorce is required to complete this process, and remember, 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 6 Days of Ceremony

While marriage licenses obtained in West Virginia can be solemnized in both religious and civil ceremonies, it's important to keep in mind that all ULC ministers are ordained, which means they are in effect "religious" actors capable of performing legal weddings.

West Virginia requires no grace period between the time the marriage license is granted and the ceremony is performed, unless either party in the couple is under 18 years of age, in which case they’ll have to wait 2 days. Couples have 60 days to get hitched once the license is in their hands, and six days to hand it back after the fact.

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

Couples looking to get married in West Virginia must be at least 18 years old. Minors 16 years and older may also wed with a signed affidavit from either a parent or recognized legal guardian, while those under 15 years of age will require judicial approval to do so. In an odd twist, even unsanctioned underaged marriages can eventually be deemed valid in the state once the couple comes of consenting age.

West Virginia does not require either member of the couple reside in the state or country and currently recognizes marriage equality.

Couples are generally discouraged from marrying if they're anything closer than second cousins, unless those relations occur through adoption. The state is prepared to have a judge examine past adoption records confidentially to make such determinations.

Final Steps

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

The minister's job extends way beyond the ceremony.

The state of West Virginia asks that the officiating minister keep a permanent record of each marriage performed, filing relevant marriage certificates with the religious organization under which they serve. This will also mean ensuring their own home address is provided on the marriage certificate, even as the relevant church or ordaining body is filled in as "Universal Life Church Ministries."

Once the license is endorsed, the minister will have six days to submit the original copy back to the same county clerk that issued it.