Tennessee Marriage Laws

Created and reviewed for accuracy by researchers at the Universal Life Church Ministries
Tennessee Outline

Congratulations! If you've found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Tennessee. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Tennessee. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Tennessee.

Important Note:

As you may be aware, the state of Tennessee recently passed a law that would bar ministers who were ordained online from solemnizing weddings. This law would affect ministers ordained here. We think the law is wrong, and have taken the bold step of filing a lawsuit to block and overturn it. Please see this page for more information:

Universal Life Church Sues Tennessee To Protect Online Ordination

Quick Facts
  • ULC Ordination Accepted: Not Generally
  • Minister Registration Required: Sometimes
  • Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
  • Minister's Minimum Age: 18
  • Marriage License Waiting Period: 0 Days
  • Marriage License Valid For: 30 Days
  • Marriage License Return Within: 3 Days

1 How to Become an Ordained Minister in Tennessee

If you haven't already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!

2 How to Officiate a Marriage in Tennessee

Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk). Let them know that you are a minister of the Universal Life Church in Seattle, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage. As a result of a 2015 Attorney General's opinion requested by Republican State Senator Todd Gardenhire, many Tennessee counties will no longer accept Universal Life Church ordinations.

Select your county to quickly generate the contact information for your local marriage authority.

Select a county

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Tennessee's Top Wedding Spot

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3 License to Marry in Tennessee

After you've contacted your marriage
authority, you should visit our online store to purchase whatever
documentation will be required. We typically advise ministers in Tennessee to
get an Ordination Package
and to add a Letter of Good
to your order. While minister registration is not required in the
state of Tennessee, it has been frequently reported to us by ULC ministers in
the area that county clerks will ask for proof of your ordination before
accepting any marriage you perform as having been legally solemnized.
Additionally, please attempt to leave at least 3 weeks between the date of the
wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your
materials in advance. We've recently become aware of an attorney general's
opinion that calls into question the validity of Universal Life Church
ordinations. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully
performed thousands of weddings in this state before the opinion was released.
Again, this opinion was published at the request of Republican State Senator
Todd Gardenhire, and beginning summer 2015 our ministers began to report that
their ordinations were being actively rejected by Tennessee County Clerks. We
are keeping eyes on the situation and investigating all of our options.
We would appreciate you letting us know if you personally encounter
any problems with a government official in your area.

We've recently become aware of an attorney general's opinion that seems to call into question the validity of Universal Life Church ordinations. Please know that ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of weddings in this state before the opinion was released, and have continued to successfully perform legal weddings after its release. We are keeping eyes on the situation, and would appreciate you letting us know if you personally encounter any problems with a government official in your area.

4 How to Perform a Wedding in Tennessee

Now that you've done all of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their Tennessee marriage license from the appropriate office. This license is only valid for 30 days, but there is no mandatory waiting period between when the couple picks up the marriage license in Tennessee and when the ceremony may legally be conducted. Please be aware that the signed license must be returned to the issuing office within 3 days after the ceremony has been conducted.

At the Universal Life Church we receive several calls from wedding officiants in Tennessee, after they've received their license to marry by getting ordained online, asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony. Once the legal matters have been taken care of, officiating a wedding (while a sometimes-daunting task) can be a great deal of fun. We would suggest that new Tennessee wedding ministers concerned about the ceremony peruse one of our helpful wedding guides. The minister training section of our website should offer a helpful refresher for more experienced ministers.

Tennessee Flag

Tennessee Marriage Code

Marriage laws in Tennessee are primarily directed by Chapter 3 of Title 36 of Tennessee's general code, which defines the persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of Tennessee This includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced a portion of this code below.
36-3-301. Persons who may solemnize marriages.

(a) (1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and all members of the county legislative bodies, county mayors, judges, chancellors, former chancellors and former judges of this state, former county executives or county mayors of this state, former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions, the governor, the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives, the county clerk of each county, former county clerks of this state who occupied the office of county clerk on or after July 1, 2014, and the mayor of any municipality in the state may solemnize the rite of matrimony. For the purposes of this section, the several judges of the United States courts, including United States magistrates and United States bankruptcy judges, who are citizens of Tennessee are deemed to be judges of this state. The amendments to this section by Acts 1987, ch. 336, which applied provisions of this section to certain former judges, do not apply to any judge who has been convicted of a felony or who has been removed from office.

(2) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act.

(3) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which any minister officiated before June 1, 1999, such marriage shall not be invalid because the requirements of the preceding subdivision (2) have not been met.

(b) The traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whereby the parties simply pledge their vows one to another in the presence of the congregation, constitutes an equally effective solemnization.

(c) Any gratuity received by a county mayor, county clerk or municipal mayor for the solemnization of a marriage, whether performed during or after such person's regular working hours, shall be retained by such person as personal remuneration for such services, in addition to any other sources of compensation such person might receive, and such gratuity shall not be paid into the county general fund or the treasury of such municipality.

(d) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a county executive officiated prior to April 24, 1981, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

(e) For the purposes of this section, "retired judges of this state" is construed to include persons who served as judges of any municipal or county court in any county that has adopted a metropolitan form of government and persons who served as county judges (judges of the quarterly county court) prior to the 1978 constitutional amendments.

(f) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a retired judge of this state officiated prior to April 13, 1984, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

(g) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a judicial commissioner officiated prior to March 28, 1991, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

(h) The judge of the general sessions court of any county, and any former judge of any general sessions court, may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. Any marriage performed by any judge of the general sessions court in any county of this state before March 16, 1994, shall be valid and declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

(i) All elected officials and former officials, who are authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state.

(j) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a county mayor officiated outside such mayor's county prior to May 29, 1997, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

(k) The judge of the municipal court of any municipality, whether elected or appointed, shall have the authority to solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of the state.

View the Tennessee Statutes on the official state site
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Anderson County

100 N. Main St., Room 111
Clinton, Tennessee

Phone: (265-457-5400)
Anderson County website »

Bedford County

104 North Side Square
Shelbyville, Tennessee

Phone: 931-684-1921
Fax: 931-685-9590
Bedford County website »

Benton County

1 E. Court Square, Suite 101
Camden, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 584-6053
Fax: (731) 584-4640
Benton County website »

Bledsoe County

116 Main St.
Pikeville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 447-2137
Bledsoe County website »

Blount County

345 Court St.
Maryville, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 273-5800
Fax: 865) 273-5815
Blount County website »

Bradley County

155 Ocoee Street Courthouse, Room 101
Cleveland, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 728-7226
Fax: (423) 478-8845
Bradley County website »

Campbell County

570 Main St. Suite A-21
Jacksboro, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 562-4985
Fax: (423) 566-3852
Campbell County website »

Cannon County

200 West Main St.
Woodbury, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 563-4278
Fax: (615) 563-1289
Cannon County website »

Carroll County

625 High St., Suite 103
Huntingdon, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 986-1960
Fax: (731) 986-1978
Carroll County website »

Carter County

801 E. Elk Ave. (Courthouse)
Elizabethton, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 542-1814
Fax: (423) 547-1502
Carter County website »

Cheatham County

264 South Main St., Suite 108
Ashland City, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 792-5179
Fax: (615) 792-2094
Cheatham County website »

Chester County

133 East Main St.
Henderson, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 989-2233
Chester County website »

Claiborne County

1740 Main St.
Tazewell, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 626-3283
Fax: (423) 626-1661
Claiborne County website »

Clay County

Clay County Government Complex 145 Cordell Hull Dr.
Celina, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 243-2249
Fax: (931) 243-3231
Clay County website »

Cocke County

111 Court Ave., Room 101
Newport, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 623-6176
Fax: (423) 623-6178
Cocke County website »

Coffee County

1327 McArthur St.
Manchester, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 723-5106
Fax: (931) 723-8248
Coffee County website »

Crockett County

1 South Bell St., Suite 1
Alamo, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 696-5452
Fax: (731) 696-3261
Crockett County website »

Cumberland County

2 North Main St., Suite 206
Crossville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 484-6442
Fax: (931) 484-6440
Cumberland County website »

Davidson County

Howard Office Building 700 Second Ave. South
Nashville, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 862-6251
Fax: (615) 862-6037
Davidson County website »

Decatur County

22 West Main Street
Decaturville, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 852-3417
Fax: (731) 852-3152
Decatur County website »

DeKalb County

732 South Congress Blvd., Room 102
Smithville, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 597-5177
Fax: (615) 597-1404
DeKalb County website »

Dickson County

4 Court Square, Room 126
Charlotte, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 789-5093
Fax: (615) 789-0128
Dickson County website »

Dyer County

296 James H Rice Road Bldg. B
Dyersburg, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 286-7814
Fax: (731) 288-7719
Dyer County website »

Fayette County

1 Court Square, Room 101
Somerville, Tennessee

Phone: (901) 465-5213
Fax: (901) 465-5293
Fayette County website »

Fentress County

101 Main St. South
Jamestown, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 879-8014
Fax: (931) 879-8438
Fentress County website »

Franklin County

1 South Jefferson St.
Winchester, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 967-2541
Fax: (931) 962-3394
Franklin County website »

Gibson County

1 Court Square, Suite 100
Trenton, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 855-7642
Fax: (731) 855-7643
Gibson County website »

Giles County

222 West Madison St.
Pulaski, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 363-1509
Fax: (931) 424-4795
Giles County website »

Grainger County

Rutledge, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 828-3511
Fax: (865) 828-3203
Grainger County website »

Greene County

204 N. Cutler St., Suite 200
Greeneville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 798-1708
Fax: (423) 798-1822
Greene County website »

Grundy County

Courthouse Circle, Grundy Street
Altamont, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 692-3622
Fax: (931) 692-3659
Grundy County website »

Hamblen County

511 West Second North St.
Morristown, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 586-1993
Fax: (423) 585-2015
Hamblen County website »

Hamilton County

625 Georgia Ave., Room 201
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 209-6500
Fax: (423) 209-6501
Hamilton County website »

Hancock County

418 Harrison Street
Sneedville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 733-2519
Fax: (423) 733-4509
Hancock County website »

Hardeman County

100 North Main St.
Bolivar, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 658-3541
Fax: (731) 658-3482
Hardeman County website »

Hardin County

65 Court St., Courthouse Annex Building, Suite 1
Savannah, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 925-3921
Fax: (731) 926-4313
Hardin County website »

Hawkins County

110 E. Main St., Room 204
Rogersville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 272-7002
Fax: (423) 272-5801
Hawkins County website »

Haywood County

1 North Washington St.
Brownsville, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 772-2362
Fax: (731) 772-1213
Haywood County website »

Henderson County

17 Monroe Ave., Suite 2
Lexington, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 968-2856
Fax: (731) 968-6644
Henderson County website »

Henry County

101 West Washington St., Suite 102
Paris, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 642-2412
Fax: (731) 644-0947
Henry County website »

Hickman County

114 North Central Ave., Suite 202
Centerville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 729-2621
Fax: (931) 729-6131
Hickman County website »

Houston County

4725 East Main St., Room 100
Erin, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 289-3141
Fax: (931) 289-2603
Houston County website »

Humphreys County

Courthouse Annex 102 Thompson St., Room 2
Waverly, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 296-7671
Fax: (931) 296-0823
Humphreys County website »

Jackson County

101 E. Hull St.
Gainesboro, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 268-9212
Fax: (931) 268-4149
Jackson County website »

Jefferson County

214 W. Main St.
Dandridge, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 397-2935
Fax: (865) 397-3839
Jefferson County website »

Johnson County

222 West Main St.
Mountain City, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 727-9633
Fax: (423) 727-7047
Johnson County website »

Knox County

300 Main St.
Knoxville, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 215-2385
Fax: (865) 215-3655
Knox County website »

Lake County

116 S. Court St.
Tiptonville, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 253-7582
Fax: (731) 253-6815
Lake County website »

Lauderdale County

100 Court Square
Ripley, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 635-2561
Fax: (731) 635-9682
Lauderdale County website »

Lawrence County

200 West Gaines St., Suite 103
Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 762-7700
Fax: (931) 766-4146
Lawrence County website »

Lewis County

110 N. Park, Room 105
Hohenwald, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 796-2200
Fax: (931) 796-6010
Lewis County website »

Lincoln County

112 Main Ave. South, Room 102
Fayetteville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 433-2454
Fax: (931) 433-9304
Lincoln County website »

Loudon County

101 Mulberry St., Suite 200
Loudon, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 458-2726
Fax: (865) 458-9891
Loudon County website »

Macon County

104 County Courthouse, Public Square
Lafayette, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 666-2333
Fax: (615) 666-2202
Macon County website »

Madison County

100 Main St., Room 105
Jackson, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 423-6022
Fax: (731) 423-6129
Madison County website »

Marion County

24 Courthouse Square, Room 101
Jasper, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 942-2515
Fax: (423) 942-0815
Marion County website »

Marshall County

1107 Courthouse Annex
Lewisburg, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 359-1072
Fax: (931) 359-0559
Marshall County website »

Maury County

10 Public Square
Columbia, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 375-5200
Fax: (931) 375-5219
Maury County website »

McMinn County

9 East Madison Ave.
Athens, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 745-4440
Fax: (423) 744-1657
McMinn County website »

McNairy County

530 Mulberry, Ste. 1
Selmer, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 645-3511
Fax: (731) 646-1414
McNairy County website »

Meigs County

17214 State Highway 58 N.
Decatur, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 334-5747
Meigs County website »

Monroe County

103 College St.
Madisonville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 442-2220
Fax: (423) 442-9542
Monroe County website »

Montgomery County

Veteran's Plaza 350 Pageant Lane, Suite 502
Clarksville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 648-5711
Fax: (931) 553-5160
Montgomery County website »

Moore County

196 Main St.
Lynchburg, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 759-7346
Fax: (931) 759-6394
Moore County website »

Morgan County

415 S. Kingston St.
Wartburg, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 346-3480
Fax: (423) 346-4161
Morgan County website »

Obion County

2 Bill Burnett Circle
Union City, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 885-3831
Fax: (731) 885-0287
Obion County website »

Overton County

317 E. University St., Room 22
Livingston, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 823-2631
Fax: (931) 823-2696
Overton County website »

Perry County

121 E. Main St.
Linden, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 589-2219
Fax: (931) 589-5107
Perry County website »

Pickett County

1 Courthouse Square, Suite 201
Byrdstown, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 864-3879
Fax: (931) 864-3879
Pickett County website »

Polk County

6239 Hwy 411, Office #102
Benton, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 338-4526
Fax: (423) 338-4551
Polk County website »

Putnam County

121 South Dixie Avenue
Cookeville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 526-7106
Fax: (931) 372-8201
Putnam County website »

Rhea County

375 Church St., Suite 101
Dayton, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 775-7808
Fax: (423) 775-7898
Rhea County website »

Roane County

200 E. Race St.
Kingston, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 376-5556
Fax: (865) 717-4121
Roane County website »

Robertson County

511 S. Brown St.
Springfield, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 384-5895
Fax: (615) 384-2218
Robertson County website »

Rutherford County

319 N. Maple St., Suite 121
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 898-7800
Fax: (615) 898-7830
Rutherford County website »

Scott County

282 Court St.
Huntsville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 663-2588
Fax: (423) 663-3969
Scott County website »

Sequatchie County

307 Cherry St.
Dunlap, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 949-2522
Fax: (423) 949-6316
Sequatchie County website »

Sevier County

125 Court Ave., Suite 202 E
Sevierville, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 453-5502
Fax: (865) 774-3954
Sevier County website »

Shelby County

150 Washington Ave.
Memphis, Tennessee

Phone: (901) 222-3000
Fax: (901) 222-3040
Shelby County website »

Smith County

122 Turner High Circle, Suite 101
Carthage, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 735-9833
Fax: (615) 735-8252
Smith County website »

Stewart County

225 Donelson Pkwy.
Dover, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 232-7616
Fax: (931) 232-4934
Stewart County website »

Sullivan County

3258 Hwy 126, Suite 101
Blountville, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 323-6428
Fax: (423) 279-2725
Sullivan County website »

Sumner County

355 North Belvedere Dr., Room 111
Gallatin, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 452-4063
Fax: (615) 452-9371
Sumner County website »

Tipton County

220 Hwy 51 North, Suite 2
Covington, Tennessee

Phone: (901) 476-0207
Fax: (901) 476-0297
Tipton County website »

Trousdale County

328 Broadway, Room 2
Hartsville, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 374-2906
Fax: (615) 374-1100
Trousdale County website »

Unicoi County

100 Main St., Suit 100
Erwin, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 743-3381
Fax: (423) 743-5430
Unicoi County website »

Union County

825 Main Street
Maynardville, Tennessee

Phone: (865) 992-8043
Fax: (865) 992-4992
Union County website »

Van Buren County

Administrative Building 445 College Street
Spencer, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 946-2121
Fax: (931) 946-2876
Van Buren County website »

Warren County

201 Locust St., Suite 2P
McMinnville, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 473-2623
Fax: (931) 473-8622
Warren County website »

Washington County

100 Main St.
Jonesborough, Tennessee

Phone: (423) 753-1621
Fax: (423) 753-4716
Washington County website »

Wayne County

100 Court Square, Suite 200
Waynesboro, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 722-5544
Fax: (931) 722-6410
Wayne County website »

Weakley County

116 West Main Street, Room 104
Dresden, Tennessee

Phone: (731) 364-2285
Fax: (731) 264-5236
Weakley County website »

White County

1 East Brockman Way
Sparta, Tennessee

Phone: (931) 836-3712
Fax: (931) 836-2601
White County website »

Williamson County

1320 W. Main St., Suite 135
Franklin, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 790-5712
Fax: (615) 790-5610
Williamson County website »

Wilson County

129 South College St.
Lebanon, Tennessee

Phone: (615) 444-2627
Fax: (615) 443-2615
Wilson County website »