Connecticut Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Thanks for visiting the Connecticut marriage laws page! Officiating a wedding ceremony can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide to marriage law in Connecticut to make sure you're informed on the ins and outs of performing a wedding there. The sections below will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the marriage is legal.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Connecticut
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is simple, fast, and entirely free. Did you know that legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Connecticut each year? Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Click the button below to get the process rolling.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Connecticut
The first step will be contacting the city or town clerk's office in the area where the wedding will take place. Introduce yourself as a minister planning to perform a wedding and inquire about what documents they'll need to see from you. Any documents you might need are available in the Minister Store here on our website.
Note: We've received reports about certain marriage officials in Connecticut objecting to ministers becoming ordained to perform a single ceremony. To avoid potential issues with "problem" officials, we recommend making it clear to them that you plan on performing other weddings and ministerial ceremonies in addition to the upcoming wedding.
Select a county to see contact information for each office:
What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Connecticut
In general, ministers are required to register in Connecticut with proof of ordination and a letter of good standing. However, speaking with local marriage officials can help clarify the requirements. To order ordination documents, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and browse our Minister Store.
Based on feedback from our ministers in Connecticut, we highly recommend picking up the Classic Wedding Set and an Official Letter of Good Standing. Keep in mind, the couple will also appreciate that their wedding minister has all the official documents on hand, including an ordination certificate. As requested by marriage officials, please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony.
How to Get a Connecticut Marriage License
In the state of Connecticut, marriage licenses are issued by city or town clerk's offices. While it's the couple's job to get the license, the minister should have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Connecticut and its individual counties. To give an example, let's say the couple plans to get a Fairfield County marriage license. The minister should check to see if there are any specific rules pertaining to marriage licenses in Fairfield County that the couple might not know about.
In Connecticut, marriage licenses are valid for 65 days. There is no mandatory waiting period - meaning that a ceremony can legally be performed as soon as the license is issued. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned before it expires.
Connecticut's Top Wedding Venue
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
After all the paperwork is in order, you'll be ready to perform the wedding! If you'd like any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to consult the resources found below. These carefully-tailored pages provide helpful tips and information on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan the perfect ceremony.
Many ULC ministers have used these resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!
Finalizing the Marriage
Now there's just one final step - but it's an important one! After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license along with the couple and their two witnesses. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".
If prompted to list an address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC headquarters. Lastly, make sure to submit the paperwork before the deadline!
Connecticut Marriage Laws
Connecticut marriage laws are governed by Section 46b of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Connecticut. Among those authorized are ULC ministers. The relevant section is displayed below:
Sec. 46b-22. (Formerly Sec. 46-3). Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance.
(a) Persons authorized to solemnize marriages in this state include (1) all judges and retired judges, either elected or appointed, including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, (2) family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace who are appointed in Connecticut, and (3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state, as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.
(b) No public official legally authorized to issue marriage licenses may join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by himself, or his assistant or deputy; nor may any such assistant or deputy join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by such public official.
(c) Any person violating any provision of this section shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.
(1949 Rev., S. 7306; 1951, S. 3001d; 1967, P.A. 129, S. 1; P.A. 78-230, S. 4, 54; P.A. 79-37, S. 1, 2; P.A. 87-316, S. 3; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4, S. 27, 58; P.A. 06-196, S. 276; P.A. 07-79, S. 5.) History: 1967 act specified validity of marriages witnessed by Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is; P.A. 78-230 divided section into Subsecs., deleted reference to county and reordered and rephrased provisions in Subsec. (a) and substituted "may" for "shall" in Subsec. (b); P.A. 79-37 authorized retired judges and state referees to perform marriages; Sec. 46-3 transferred to Sec. 46b-22 in 1979; P.A. 87-316 applied provisions to family support magistrates; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision re federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 7, 2006; P.A. 07-79 amended Subsec. (a) to add Subdiv. designators (1) to (3), revise provisions re persons authorized to solemnize marriages within the state and make technical changes.
Annotations to former section 46-3:
Minister who solemnizes marriage must be "settled in the work of the ministry". 2 R. 382. Ordained deacon performing usual duties of minister held to be authorized. 4 C. 134. A clergyman in performing marriage ceremony is a public officer and his acts in that capacity prima facie evidence of his character. Id., 219. Proof of celebration of marriage raises a presumption of its validity. 85 C. 186; 93 C. 47. In absence of proof of authority of justice of peace, marriage void. 129 C. 432. Our law does not recognize common law marriages. Id. Marriage, deficient for want of due solemnization, voidable. 163 C. 588.