Universal Life Church

Alaska Wedding Laws

Alaska may be the Last Frontier, but navigating the state’s unique marriage laws doesn’t have to become an expedition. We’ve researched all the relevant rules and regulations, from deadlines and waiting periods to the exact documents you’ll need to submit. Our comprehensive guide will walk you, step by step, through everything a couple or officiant needs to do to ensure that a wedding is valid under Alaska law.

Getting Married in Alaska

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

Alaska is home to a multitude of cultural beliefs and traditions. Unsurprisingly, there are no formal requirements as to the content or wording of the wedding ceremony itself. A wedding ceremony is an extremely personal ritual joining of the lives of two individuals, and most couples prefer to customize their ceremony to suit this purpose. Alaska law imposes only three general requirements for the ceremony:

  • Both people who are getting married must be physically present during the ceremony and must sign the marriage license after the ceremony. (Marriage by proxy is prohibited.)
  • The officiating minister and two witnesses must also be physically present for the ceremony and must sign the marriage license afterward.
  • At some point during the course of the ceremony, each partner must state his or her consent to the marriage (for example, “I do”).
  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    AS 25.05.301 Form of solemnization.

    In the solemnization of marriage no particular form is required except that the parties shall assent or declare in the presence of each other and the person solemnizing the marriage and in the presence of at least two competent witnesses that they take each other to be husband and wife. A competent witness for this purpose is a person of sound mind capable of understanding the seriousness of the ceremony. At the time of the ceremony, the person solemnizing the marriage shall complete the certification on the original marriage certificate. The person solemnizing the marriage and the two attending witnesses shall sign the original marriage certificate and the necessary copies.

Alaska Marriage Requirements

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

Aside from age requirements, there are no restrictions on who may get married in Alaska. Alaska, like all states, recognizes the right of same-sex couples to be legally wed. Neither party must be an Alaska resident or even a US resident. Couples from anywhere in the world can take advantage of Alaska’s uniquely spectacular scenery as a backdrop for their big day.

Both people seeking to marry in Alaska must be at least 18 years old. Persons who are 16 or 17 years of age may get married with the consent of both parents. A person who is 14 or 15 years old may marry in Alaska under certain circumstances: this requires an order from the Superior Court granting permission to marry, in addition to the consent of both parents (or a legal guardian). The Superior Court grants minors permission to marry on a case-by-case basis only.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Alaska Stat. § 25.05.171 Persons capable of consenting to marriage: Minimum ages, and consent of parents or guardian.

    (a) A person who has reached the age of 16 but is under the age of 18 shall be issued a marriage license if the written consent of the parents, the parent having actual care, custody, and control, or a guardian of the underaged person is filed with the licensing officer issuing the marriage license under AS 25.05.111.

    (b) A superior court judge may grant permission for a person who has reached the age of 14 but is under the age of 18 to marry and may order the licensing officer to issue the license if the judge finds, following a hearing at which the parents and minor are given the opportunity to appear and be heard, that the marriage is in the best interest of the minor and that either

    (1) the parents have given their consent; or

    (2) the parents are

    (A) arbitrarily and capriciously withholding consent;

    (B) absent or otherwise unaccountable;

    (C) in disagreement among themselves on the question; or

    (D) unfit to decide the matter.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Alaska

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Vital Records Office
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

A minister who intends to officiate an Alaska wedding should contact the office that issued the couple’s marriage license to see if that office requires the minister to submit any documentation with the completed marriage license. Some offices require a copy of the minister’s ordination certificate and ministry license; others require no documentation. The requirements vary from office to office, so it’s important that the minister checks with the exact same office that issued the marriage license. Most ULC-ordained ministers choose to order the Classic Wedding Package. It’s always good practice for the minister to have a copy of his or her ministry license on hand during the ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    AS 25.05.261 Who may solemnize.

    (a) Marriages may be solemnized

    (1) by a minister, priest, or rabbi of any church or congregation in the state, or by a commissioned officer of the Salvation Army, or by the principal officer or elder of recognized churches or congregations that traditionally do not have regular ministers, priests, or rabbis, anywhere within the state;

    (2) by a marriage commissioner or judicial officer of the state anywhere within the jurisdiction of the commissioner or officer;

    (3) before or in any religious organization or congregation according to the established ritual or form commonly practiced in the organization or congregation; or

    (4) by an individual holding an elective public office in the state.

    (b) This section may not be construed to waive the requirements for obtaining a marriage license.

    (c) Nothing in this section creates or implies a duty or obligation on a person authorized to solemnize a marriage under (a)(1), (3), or (4) of this section to solemnize any marriage.

Applying For a Marriage License in Alaska

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
3 Days
License Valid For:
90 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 7 Days of Ceremony

At the end of Alaska’s three-day waiting period, a marriage license will be mailed to the couple, or they may pick it up in person. The license expires 90 days after the date it was issued; in other words, the wedding ceremony must take place within three months after the date on the marriage license. Since the waiting period takes place before the license is issued, the couple may get married on the same day the license is issued. After the wedding ceremony, the completed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office within seven days.

Couples should be certain that their marriage license is for a “religious ceremony” rather than a civil ceremony. Please note, ministers ordained by the Universal Life Church are considered religious actors under Alaska law, which is how they are legally authorized to perform a binding wedding ceremony. The “religious ceremony” designation does not place any sort of requirement upon the couple or their beliefs, and it is not necessary that the ceremony contain any religious elements or references to religion.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    AS 18.50.270 Marriage registration.

    (a) A certificate of marriage for each marriage performed in the state shall be filed with the local registrar of vital statistics of the registration district in which the marriage was performed within seven days of the marriage.

    (b) The official who issues the marriage license shall prepare the certificate of marriage on forms prescribed and furnished by the bureau, as specified elsewhere in the statutes and in regulations adopted under this chapter.

    (c) A person who performs a marriage shall complete the forms as specified elsewhere in the statutes or in regulations adopted under this chapter, and shall file the original certificate of marriage with the local registrar.

    http://www.akleg.gov/basis/statutes.asp#18.50.270

    AS 25.05.121 Marriage license.

    The marriage license issued by a licensing officer in this state authorizes the marriage ceremony to be performed anywhere in the state. The license shall be directed “to any person authorized by the laws of this state to solemnize marriage,” and shall authorize that person to solemnize marriage between the parties identified by the license within three months of the date of the license. If either party is not of legal age for marriage, that party’s age and the fact of the consent of the parents or guardian of the underaged party shall be stated. If either party has previously been married, the number of previous marriages shall be stated. The registrar may require other matter necessary to identify the parties to be included in the license. The issuance of a license does not remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment, or prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and a statement to that effect shall be included in the license. http://www.akleg.gov/basis/statutes.asp#25.05.121

    AS 25.05.091 Application for license; disclosure for child support purposes.

    (b) In addition to the requirements of (a) of this section, each contracting party to the prospective marriage shall provide to the licensing officer the party’s social security number, if any. Upon request, the licensing officer shall provide a social security number provided under this subsection to the child support services agency created in AS 25.27.010, or the child support enforcement agency of another state, for child support purposes authorized under law.

How to Get a Alaska Marriage License

Min. Age of Witnesses:
Not Applicable
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
No

To get married in Alaska, the couple must complete an application for a marriage license. Both parties must sign the application, and their signatures must be notarized. The application must be submitted to either the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics or to any Alaska state court; the couple may apply together in person, or the application can be mailed.

Each person must present a current, government-issued form of photo identification (or certified copy of a birth certificate if he or she is younger than 18). In addition, if either person was married to someone else within the previous 60 days, he or she must submit a divorce decree or a death certificate to prove that the previous marriage was legally terminated. Alaska does not require either person to take a blood test.

The state of Alaska has a mandatory, three-business-day waiting period that begins on the date that the marriage license application is received by the appropriate office, regardless of whether the application was mailed or completed in person. Three business days after the application is received, the issuing office will mail a marriage license to the couple. The couple may also pick the license up in person.

Along with their application for a marriage license, the couple must pay a $60 license fee. Mail service can take a long time in many parts of Alaska, so couples may also choose to include an additional fee to have the license sent to them via expedited shipping.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    AS 25.05.121 Marriage License.

    The marriage license issued by a licensing officer in this state authorizes the marriage ceremony to be performed anywhere in the state. The license shall be directed "to any person authorized by the laws of this state to solemnize marriage," and shall authorize that person to solemnize marriage between the parties identified by the license within three months of the date of the license. If either party is not of legal age for marriage, that party's age and the fact of the consent of the parents or guardian of the underaged party shall be stated. If either party has previously been married, the number of previous marriages shall be stated. The registrar may require other matter necessary to identify the parties to be included in the license. The issuance of a license does not remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment, or prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and a statement to that effect shall be included in the license.

    http://www.akleg.gov/basis/statutes.asp#25.05.121

    AS 25.05.091 Application for license; disclosure for child support purposes.

    (a) One of the contracting parties to a prospective marriage shall, at least three days before the time of issuance, file with the licensing officer written, verbal, or telegraphic application for a license. Before issuance of the license, each contracting party shall make a statement under oath that the contemplated marriage meets the requirements of law, giving the names, relationship if any, residence, occupation, and age of each party; naming guardians of any party under the legal age for marriage; and describing any prior marriage of either party, and the manner of dissolution of it. This statement may be made and executed before a notary public or postmaster who shall certify it to the licensing officer.

Finalizing the Union

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

After the wedding ceremony, both of the newlyweds will need to complete and sign the marriage license, along with two witnesses who were physically present during the ceremony. There is also a section of the marriage license that must be completed by the minister after the ceremony. Here are a few tips for filling out the officiant section:

  • Name: The minister should use his or her full legal name with no titles.
  • Title: If the license asks for a title, the minister should write “minister.”
  • Church address: If the marriage license asks for a church address, the minister should use the address for his or her home ministry, or his or her home address, rather than ULC’s address. This way, the state will be able to contact the minister if there are any questions about the license.

Everyone should use care when completing the marriage license: errors could cause the couple to have to apply for a new license. When the marriage license is fully completed and bears all five required signatures, it must be returned to the vital records office within seven days after the ceremony for the wedding to become legally binding.

ULC does not require its ministers to notify us of ceremonies performed, but we do recommend that the minister keep a personal record of any weddings or other ceremonies he or she officiates, especially if the minister signed a contract or received payment for the service.