Universal Life Church

Colorado Wedding Laws

The issuance of marriage licenses and certificates falls within the purview of state law. Legislators in the Colorado General Assembly have drafted a comprehensive collection of marriage-related laws. If you are planning to have your wedding in Colorado or to officiate one there, you must understand the Centennial State’s marriage requirements. Continue reading for in-depth answers to some common questions about Colorado’s marriage rules.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Colorado

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
None
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Office of Clerk and Recorder
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

If a minister wants to perform a marriage ceremony in Colorado, he or she must meet certain minimum requirements. While the minister does not need to be a resident of Colorado, he or she must be at least 18 at the time of the ceremony.

Colorado law allows ministers with online ordination to perform marriage ceremonies. This makes the Universal Life Church’s Classic Wedding Package ideal for both ministers and marrying couples. If the clerk and recorder’s office requires additional information from the minister, a county official is likely to contact the minister after the ceremony takes place.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    C.R.S.§ 14-2-109. Solemnization and registration of marriages – proxy marriage

    (1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk and recorder within sixty-three days after the solemnization. Any person who fails to forward the marriage certificate to the county clerk and recorder as required by this section shall be required to pay a late fee in an amount of not less than twenty dollars. An additional five-dollar late fee may be assessed for each additional day of failure to comply with the forwarding requirements of this subsection (1) up to a maximum of fifty dollars. For purposes of determining whether a late fee shall be assessed pursuant to this subsection (1), the date of forwarding shall be deemed to be the date of postmark.

Getting Married in Colorado

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
Yes
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
Not Applicable
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

In Colorado, the officiant and the couple enjoy wide latitude to create the ceremony they want. In fact, the only required sections are consent and the pronouncement. Provided the couple agrees to the marriage and the officiant pronounces them married, the ceremony likely satisfies state law.

Colorado law does not require marriage ceremonies to have witnesses. Likewise, if either half of the couple is serving a military deployment, proxy marriage is possible.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    C.R.S.§ 14-2-109. Solemnization and registration of marriages – proxy marriage

    (2) (a) The requirements for applying for a marriage license for a proxy marriage are the following:

    (I) One party to the proxy marriage is a resident of the state of Colorado;

    (II) One party to the proxy marriage appears in person to apply for the marriage license and pays the fees required in section 14-2-106 (1);

    (III) The signatures of both parties to the proxy marriage are required, and the party present shall sign the marriage license application, as prescribed in section 14-2-105 (2), and provide an absentee affidavit form, as prescribed by the state registrar, containing the notarized signature of the absent party, along with proper identification documents as specified in section 14-2-105 (1)(a) for the absent party; and

    (IV) Both parties to the proxy marriage are eighteen years of age or older.

    (b) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, the absent party may authorize in writing a third person to act as the absent party's proxy for purposes of solemnization of the marriage, if the absent party is:

    (I) A member of the armed forces of the United States who is stationed in another country or in another state in support of combat or another military operation; or

    (II) An individual who is a government contractor, or an employee of a government contractor, working in support of the armed forces of the United States or in support of United States military operations in another country or in another state and who supplies proper identification of that status.

    (c) If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, such person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If such person is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.

How to Get a Colorado Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Colorado
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$30.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID or Birth Certificate
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

Because obtaining a marriage license is a legal requirement, the couple must secure one before saying “I do.” The law does not require both individuals to appear in person to request the license, however. Only one person must do so.

To apply for a marriage license, the couple must submit a form to the county clerk and recorder’s office. There is a $30 filing fee. With the application, the applicant must submit identification documentation, such as a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate or other required evidence.

Unlike many other states, Colorado does not require copies of previous divorce decrees. They also do not ask applicants for marriage licenses to undergo a blood test.

Once the couple obtains a marriage license from a county clerk and recorder, the marriage may take place anywhere in Colorado. That is, the marriage license is not exclusive to the county of issuance.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    C.R.S. § 14-2-105. Marriage license and marriage certificate

    (1) The executive director of the department of public health and environment shall prescribe the form for an application for a marriage license, which must include the following information:

    (a) Name, sex, address, last four digits of the social security number, and date and place of birth of each party to the proposed marriage, which proof of identity and date of birth may be by a birth certificate, a driver's license, a passport, or other comparable evidence;

    (b) If either party has previously been married, such party's married name and the date, place, and court in which the marriage was dissolved or declared invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse;

    (b.5) If either party has previously been a partner in a civil union and, if so, the name of the other partner in the civil union, or the date, place, and court in which the civil union was dissolved or declared invalid, or the date and place of death of the former partner in the civil union;

    (c) Name and address of the parents or guardian of each party;

    (d) Whether the parties are related to each other and, if so, their relationship, or, if the parties are currently married to each other, a statement to that effect.

    C.R.S. § 14-2-106. License to marry

    (1) (a) When a marriage license application has been completed and signed by both parties to a prospective marriage and at least one party has appeared before the county clerk and recorder and has paid the marriage license fee of seven dollars, a fee of twenty dollars to be transmitted by the county clerk and recorder to the state treasurer and credited by the treasurer to the Colorado domestic abuse program fund created in section 39-22-802 (1), and an additional amount established pursuant to section 25-2-121, such amount to be credited to the vital statistics records cash fund pursuant to section 25-2-121, the county clerk shall issue a license to marry and a marriage certificate form upon being furnished:

    (I) Satisfactory proof that each party to the marriage will have attained the age of eighteen years at the time the marriage license becomes effective; or, if over the age of sixteen years but has not attained the age of eighteen years, has judicial approval, as provided in section 14-2-108; and

    (II) Satisfactory proof that the marriage is not prohibited, as provided in section 14-2-110.

    (b) Violation of subsection (1)(a)(I) of this section makes the marriage voidable.

    C.R.S. § 14-2-107. When licenses to marry issued – validity

    Licenses to marry shall be issued by the county clerk and recorder only during the hours that the office of the county clerk and recorder is open as prescribed by law and at no other time, and such licenses shall show the exact date and hour of their issue. A license shall not be valid for use outside the state of Colorado. Within the state, such licenses shall not be valid for more than thirty-five days after the date of issue. If any license to marry is not used within thirty-five days, it is void and shall be returned to the county clerk and recorder for cancellation.

Applying For a Marriage License in Colorado

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
35 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 65 Days of Ceremony

In Colorado, it is possible to have a religious marriage ceremony or a civil one. Making the selection before applying for a marriage license is important. After all, Colorado law requires marrying couples to disclose whether they are applying for a religious or civil license.

If a Universal Life Church minister intends to perform the ceremony, the license application should indicate the ceremony is religious. This is true even if there are no religious elements to the ceremony, as the minister distinction is the pertinent part.

Colorado does not have a mandatory waiting period between license application and issuance. This makes the Centennial State an ideal marriage location for out-of-state couples. Nevertheless, the earliest a couple may apply for a marriage license is 35 days before the ceremony.

After the ceremony concludes, the couple has 65 days to return the completed and signed marriage license to the county clerk and recorder.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    C.R.S. § 14-2-107. When licenses to marry issued – validity

    Licenses to marry shall be issued by the county clerk and recorder only during the hours that the office of the county clerk and recorder is open as prescribed by law and at no other time, and such licenses shall show the exact date and hour of their issue. A license shall not be valid for use outside the state of Colorado. Within the state, such licenses shall not be valid for more than thirty-five days after the date of issue. If any license to marry is not used within thirty-five days, it is void and shall be returned to the county clerk and recorder for cancellation.

    C.R.S.§ 14-2-109. Solemnization and registration of marriages – proxy marriage

    (1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk and recorder within sixty-three days after the solemnization. Any person who fails to forward the marriage certificate to the county clerk and recorder as required by this section shall be required to pay a late fee in an amount of not less than twenty dollars. An additional five-dollar late fee may be assessed for each additional day of failure to comply with the forwarding requirements of this subsection (1) up to a maximum of fifty dollars. For purposes of determining whether a late fee shall be assessed pursuant to this subsection (1), the date of forwarding shall be deemed to be the date of postmark.

Colorado 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

Before walking down the aisle, couples who want to marry in Colorado must obtain a marriage license. For state authorities to issue one, both members of the couple must be at least 18. Nevertheless, state law allows individuals between the ages of 16 and 18 to marry with the consent of a legal guardian.

While first cousins may legally wed in Colorado, no closer kin may apply for a marriage license or enter a valid marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in the state, so members of the LGBTQ+ community may typically marry the person they choose.

Finally, Colorado law does not require marrying couples or officiants to be residents of the state. That is, to marry in Colorado, a couple can be from anywhere in the U.S. or abroad.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-2-106. License to marry

    (1) (a) When a marriage license application has been completed and signed by both parties to a prospective marriage and at least one party has appeared before the county clerk and recorder and has paid the marriage license fee of seven dollars, a fee of twenty dollars to be transmitted by the county clerk and recorder to the state treasurer and credited by the treasurer to the Colorado domestic abuse program fund created in section 39-22-802 (1), and an additional amount established pursuant to section 25-2-121, such amount to be credited to the vital statistics records cash fund pursuant to section 25-2-121, the county clerk shall issue a license to marry and a marriage certificate form upon being furnished:

    (I) Satisfactory proof that each party to the marriage will have attained the age of eighteen years at the time the marriage license becomes effective; or, if over the age of sixteen years but has not attained the age of eighteen years, has judicial approval, as provided in section 14-2-108; and

    (II) Satisfactory proof that the marriage is not prohibited, as provided in section 14-2-110.

    (b) Violation of subsection (1)(a)(I) of this section makes the marriage voidable.

    C.R.S. § 14-2-110. Prohibited marriages

    (1) The following marriages are prohibited:

    ...

    (b) A marriage between an ancestor and a descendant or between a brother and a sister, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood;

    (c) A marriage between an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood, except as to marriages permitted by the established customs of aboriginal cultures.

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 ceremony is over, the parties complete and sign the marriage license. Then, the couple must return the completed license to the clerk and recorder within 65 days. To avoid additional fees, all information on the completed marriage license must be correct.

The officiant should also keep a written record of the ceremony along with a copy of his or her credentials.

Whether you are an officiant or a marrying couple, understanding the legal requirements and taking some final steps are critical for having a legal marriage in Colorado.