Universal Life Church

Louisiana Wedding Laws

Louisiana knows how to celebrate, being home to the Mardi-Gras festival, the birthplace of jazz music and the origin of Cajun cuisine. The Bayou State seems like a no-brainer when it comes to having a wedding and reception, but there are several regulations that must be adhered to for such a union to be legally compliant. At the Universal Life Church, we’ve done the hard work by putting together a straightforward, easy-to-follow guide that breaks down Louisiana’s marriage laws. Our guide answers many of your questions, taking the uncertainty out of making sure that your wedding is legal.

Louisiana Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 with Age-Gap Restrictions for Minors
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

In order to be married within the State of Louisiana, both members of the couple must be 18 or older. Persons under the age of 18 cannot get married, except for 16- and 17-year olds who are no more than three years younger than their spouse-to-be.

Marriages between parents and offspring are considered illegal and the couple cannot be closer than second cousins or first cousins once removed. This is true for blood relatives and family members by legal adoption.

Same-sex couples and people from outside of the state can be legally married in Louisiana.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:221. Authority to issue marriage license

    A. A license authorizing an officiant to perform a marriage ceremony must be issued by:

    (1) The state registrar of vital records, or a judge of the city court, in the Parish of Orleans;

    (2) The clerk of court, in any other parish; or

    (3) A district judge, if the clerk of court is a party to the marriage.

    B. No marriage license for a minor under the age of sixteen shall be issued. No marriage license for a minor of the age of sixteen or seventeen shall be issued where there is an age difference of three years or greater between the persons seeking the marriage license.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 2019, No. 401, §2.

    CC 90 Art. 90. Impediments of relationship

    A. The following persons may not contract marriage with each other:

    (1) Ascendants and descendants.

    (2) Collaterals within the fourth degree, whether of the whole or of the half blood.

    B. The impediment exists whether the persons are related by consanguinity or by adoption. Nevertheless, persons related by adoption, though not by blood, in the collateral line within the fourth degree may marry each other if they obtain judicial authorization in writing to do so.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 2004, No. 26, §1.

    NOTE: SEE ACTS 1987, NO. 886, §5.

How to Get a Louisiana Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any Parish in Louisiana
Marriage License Pick-Up
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Varies by County
Accepted I.D. Types:
Government Issued ID and Birth Certificate
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Couples who want to marry within Louisiana must complete a written application for a marriage license. This application must be signed in the presence of a notary, deputy clerk or deputy registrar in any state parish, irrespective of where the applicants live or where the union will be solemnized. Each application must include the following information for each party:

  • Time and date of completion
  • Full name
  • Race
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Social Security number
  • Names of parents
  • List of any former marriages
  • Disclosure of blood relations between applicants

Applicants must confirm that they are legally allowed to marry and that the information provided is true. If either applicant is under the age of 18, written consent must be provided. Additionally, each applicant must provide proof of divorce where applicable.

Couples do not need to apply for the marriage license at the same time as long as each individual completes the application in the presence of a notary and affirms the information given. Exceptions can be made for a member of the military if a military ID is provided. A judge can also grant an exception for a couple found to have sufficient cause. In either situation, one party can complete the application on behalf of the other party.

Expect to pay between $20 to $40 for the marriage license, which varies among parishes.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    – La. Stat. Ann. § 9:222. Place of issuance

    A marriage license may be issued in any parish, regardless of where the ceremony is to be performed or the parties reside.

    Acts 1990, No. 81, §1.

    La. Stat. Ann § 9:224. Application; information required

    A. The application for a marriage license provided by R.S. 9:223, and containing all of the following information, shall be sworn to and signed by both parties before a notary public, deputy clerk, or deputy registrar:

    (1) The date and hour of the application.

    (2) The full name, residence, race, and age of each party.

    (3) The names of the parents of each party.

    (4) The number of former marriages of each party, and whether divorced or not.

    (5) The relationship of each party to the other.

    (6) Each party's social security number, if both parties were born in any state or territory of the United States or are naturalized citizens of the United States.

    { (a) to (b) omitted }

    (7) An acknowledgment that each party is free to marry pursuant to Louisiana law, that the information contained in the application is true and correct, and that each party understands that falsification of the application shall constitute the filing of false public records pursuant to R.S. 14:133.

    B.(1) Both applicants are not required to execute the application at the same time, provided that each applicant executes the application before a notary public as required by R.S. 9:224(A).

    (2) A member of the armed forces of the United States shall not be required to sign the application required by Subsection A of this Section if the co-applicant attaches a copy of the military identification card of the member. If both applicants are members of the armed forces of the United States, only one applicant shall be required to sign the application, but that applicant shall attach a copy of the military identification card of the co-applicant not signing the application.

    (3) In the event of extenuating circumstances, and after a finding that the parties have complied with all other requirements, for good cause shown, a judge of the First or Second City Courts of the city of New Orleans, a family court judge, a juvenile court judge, a district court judge, a city court judge, or a justice of the peace may order an issuing official within the territorial jurisdiction of his court to issue a marriage license with the notarized signature of only one of the applicants. The written order shall be attached to the marriage application.

    (C-E Omitted)

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1997, No. 1380, §2; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 8, §1, eff. April 24, 1998; Acts 1999, No. 1298, §1; Acts 2015, No. 436, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:225. Documents required; attachments

    A. An application for a marriage license shall be accompanied by:

    (1)(a) A certified copy of each party's birth certificate as provided by R.S. 9:226.

    (b) If the applicant does not have a birth certificate, the applicant shall obtain an order signed by a judge waiving the requirement pursuant to R.S. 9:228.

    (2) The written consent for a minor to marry, or the court's authorization for the minor to marry, or both, as required by Chapter 6 of Title XV of the Children's Code.

    (3) If applicable, the declaration of intent for a covenant marriage, as provided in Part VII of this Chapter.

    (4) A valid and unexpired driver's license, a government issued identification card, or a valid and unexpired passport from the country of his birth or an unexpired visa accompanied by Form I-94 as issued by the United States.

    B.(1) It shall be unlawful for any officer authorized to issue a marriage license in this state to issue a license to any male or female unless both parties first present and file with the officer a certified copy of their original birth certificate.

    (2) A photostatic or photographic reproduction of the certified copy of the birth certificate shall be filed with the officer.

    Acts 1988, No. 344, §1; Acts 1988, No. 345, §1, eff. July 7, 1988; Acts 1988, No. 808, §1, eff. July 18, 1988; Acts 1995, No. 415, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1380, §2; Acts 2015, No. 436, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2016. NOTE: See Acts 1988, No. 808, §3.

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:226. Certified copy of birth certificate; translation to English

    A. A person born in Louisiana shall submit a certified copy of his birth certificate. A short-form birth certification card shall be acceptable as a certified copy of a birth certificate.

    B. A person born in a state or territory of the United States other than Louisiana shall submit a copy of his birth certificate under the raised seal or stamp of the vital statistics registration authority of his place of birth.

    C. A person born outside of the United States or territory of the United States shall submit a birth certificate under the seal of the United States or shall submit all of the following:

    (1)(a) A copy of the person's birth certificate under the raised seal or stamp of the vital statistics registration authority of the person's place of birth.

    (b) If the birth certificate is not printed in English, the party shall submit a translated copy in addition to the copy required by Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph. The translation shall contain a sworn declaration of the translator that he is fluent in the language of the original birth certificate and of the translation, and that the translation is a true and accurate representation of the original.

    (2) A valid and unexpired passport or an unexpired visa accompanied by a Form I-94 issued by the United States, verifying that the applicant is lawfully in the United States.

    D. A copy of the birth certificate or order issued pursuant to R.S. 9:228 shall be retained by the official recorder of the marriage for a minimum period of sixty days.

    Acts 1987, No. 330, §1; Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1988, No. 344, §2; Acts 1988, No. 345, §2, eff. July 7, 1988; Acts 1988, No. 808, §2, eff. July 18, 1988; Acts 1990, No. 362, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, No. 462, §1; Acts 2000, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 118, §1, eff. April 19, 2000; Acts 2015, No. 436, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.

Applying For a Marriage License in Louisiana

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
24 Hours
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

In the state of Louisiana, there is a minimum 24-hour waiting period between a wedding ceremony and issuance of the marriage license. Similarly, a couple has up to 30 days to get married before the marriage license expires.

The wedding officiant or minister must complete and submit all signed marriage certificates and the original license to the court clerk who furnished it within 10 days of the actual wedding. Officiants who fail to do so may be fined and banned from performing any future weddings in Louisiana.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:241. Premature ceremony prohibited

    An officiant may not perform a marriage ceremony until twenty-four hours have elapsed since the issuance of the marriage license.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 2018, No. 276, §1.

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:235. Valid for thirty days

    A marriage license is valid for thirty days from the date of issuance. No officiant shall perform a marriage after the license has expired.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:254. Penalty for failure to file or complete marriage certificate

    Any person authorized to perform marriages in this state who fails to complete the forms provided by the Department of Children and Family Services, and specifically fails to fill in the date and place the ceremony was performed, or neglects or fails to file the two executed copies with the clerk of court in the parish where the license was issued or, if in Orleans Parish, with the state office of vital records, within ten days after the date of the marriage as provided by law, shall be fined not less than twenty dollars for the first offense, fifty dollars for the second offense, and one hundred dollars for a third offense, and the offender shall be prohibited thereafter from officiating at any marriage in this state.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; H.C.R. No. 59, 1999 R.S.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Louisiana

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by City
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Clerk of Courts
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

In Louisiana, the following persons are authorized to officiate marriage ceremonies:

  • State judges
  • Justices of the peace
  • Priests, ministers and rabbis
  • Religious Society of Friends clerk
  • Clergy of any religious sect who is at least 18 years old
  • Prior to the wedding, other officiants have to file an affidavit with a court clerk in the parish where the wedding is to be held. This affidavit must include the following information:
  • Legal name
  • Denomination or religious sect
  • Address of the ceremony

As an ordained minister through the ULC, you are considered a legal religious actor. It is strongly recommended that you keep your ordination credentials and affidavit with you to provide to any Louisiana state officials who may require proof of eligibility.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:202. Authority to perform marriage ceremony

    A marriage ceremony may be performed by:

    (1) A priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, or any clergyman of any religious sect, who has attained the age of majority and is authorized by the authorities of his religion to perform marriages, and who is registered to perform marriages;

    (2) A state judge or justice of the peace.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1997, No. 73, §1; Acts 2014, No. 651, §1.

    LA. Stat. Ann § 9:204. Officiant other than judge; registration

    An officiant, other than a judge or justice of the peace, may perform marriage ceremonies only after he registers to do so by depositing with the clerk of court of the parish in which he will principally perform marriage ceremonies, or, in the case of Orleans Parish, with the office of the state registrar of vital records, an affidavit stating his lawful name, denomination, and address.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

Getting Married in Louisiana

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

In Louisiana, both parties must be physically present for a formal wedding ceremony that is officiated by someone who is legally allowed to do so. To solemnize and formalize the union, this ceremony must be witnessed by at least two adults. The actual ceremony must include unforced consent from both parties to be married.

Couples and officiants may plan and execute the ceremony in accordance with their particular belief system or other specific traditions.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    La. Stat. Ann. § 9:244. Witnesses required

    The marriage ceremony shall be performed in the presence of two competent witnesses of full age.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

    La. Civ. Code Ann. 87. Art. 87. Contract of marriage; requirements

    The requirements for the contract of marriage are:

    The absence of legal impediment.

    A marriage ceremony.

    The free consent of the parties to take each other as husband and wife, expressed at the ceremony.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

    Art. 91. Marriage ceremony required

    The parties must participate in a marriage ceremony performed by a third person who is qualified, or reasonably believed by the parties to be qualified, to perform the ceremony. The parties must be physically present at the ceremony when it is performed.

    Acts 1987, No. 886, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.

Finalizing the Union

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

The Bayou State puts much of the responsibility for compliance on the wedding officiant, especially within the first 10 days of the marriage ceremony.

  • Fines will be assessed for failure to do any of the following:
  • Fully complete the Department of Children and Family Services forms
  • Include the date and location of the wedding ceremony
  • File two signed copies of the marriage certificates with the correct court clerk within 10 days of the wedding ceremony.

Fines start at $20 for a first offense and grow to $50 and $100 for a second and third offense, respectively. Officiants who commit a fourth offense can expect to be banned from performing future wedding ceremonies within the state. Your eligibility to officiate weddings in Louisiana is dependent on your ability to stay compliant with state law.