Universal Life Church

Minnesota Wedding Laws

If you want to have or officiate a wedding in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes can start to feel more like the Land of 10,000 Laws — marriage laws, that is. We’ve reviewed all the necessary rules and regulations and compiled this step-by-step guide. From license fees to name change rules, our guide includes all the necessary information to ensure the marriage is legally binding in accordance with Minnesota law.

Minnesota Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Minnesota does not have a residency requirement, meaning that neither person is required to live in Minnesota or even in the United States. Minnesota honors the right of all consenting adults who are at least 18 years old to be legally wed, including same-sex couples. Persons who are 16 or 17 years old may get married in Minnesota, but they must have a parent or legal guardian’s consent.

How to Get a Minnesota Marriage License

The fee to apply for a marriage license is $115, which must be paid when a couple applies for the license. However, Minnesota offers a steep discount to couples who complete 12 hours of premarital counseling from an approved church or counselor. To qualify for the discounted fee, which is $40, the couple must complete the counseling before applying for a license and must have a sworn statement of completion from the church or counselor.

To apply for a marriage license, both partners should appear in person at the county registrar’s office to complete and sign the application. If one partner cannot appear in person, Minnesota law allows the other partner to complete the application on his or her behalf. The partner who cannot appear in person must complete a supplemental license application, which must be signed and notarized.

Minnesota’s marriage license application is somewhat unique. In addition to the usual identifying information, each partner must specify in the application whether he or she is seeking a name change as a result of the marriage, and what his or her “married” name and address will be. Each person must also disclose whether he or she has ever been convicted of a felony, including the conviction date and court information.

If a person who has been convicted of a felony applies for a Minnesota marriage license and is also requesting a name change as a result of the marriage, he or she must notify the relevant prosecuting authority of the name change via certified mail or process server (if the conviction is from out of state, he or she must also serve notice upon the Attorney General for the convicting state).

After being served notice of the requested name change, the prosecuting authority has 30 days to file an objection to the name change. The registrar’s office will not issue a marriage license requesting a name change for the person with the felony conviction until this 30-day period has passed. The couple may choose to wait the 30 days, or they may choose to have the marriage license issued without the name change and then petition the court for a name change after the wedding.

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    Minn. Stat. § 517.08 APPLICATION FOR LICENSE.

    Subdivision 1. [Renumbered subds 1a and 1b]

    Subd. 1a.Form. Application for a civil marriage license shall be made by both of the parties upon a form provided for the purpose and shall contain the following information:

    (1) the full names of the parties and the sex of each party;

    (2) their post office addresses and county and state of residence;

    (3) their full ages;

    (4) if either party has previously been married, the party's married name, and the date, place and court in which the civil marriage was dissolved or annulled or the date and place of death of the former spouse;

    (5) if either party is a minor, the name and address of the minor's parents or guardian;

    (6) whether the parties are related to each other, and, if so, their relationship;

    (7) the address of the parties after the civil marriage is entered into to which the local registrar shall send a certified copy of the civil marriage certificate;

    (8) the full names the parties will have after the civil marriage is entered into and the parties' Social Security numbers. The Social Security numbers must be collected for the application but must not appear on the civil marriage license. If a party listed on a civil marriage application does not have a Social Security number, the party must certify on the application, or a supplement to the application, that the party does not have a Social Security number;

    (9) if one or both of the parties to the civil marriage license has a felony conviction under Minnesota law or the law of another state or federal jurisdiction, the parties shall provide to the county proof of service upon the prosecuting authority and, if applicable, the attorney general, as required by section 259.13; and

    (10) notice that a party who has a felony conviction under Minnesota law or the law of another state or federal jurisdiction may not use a different name after a civil marriage except as authorized by section 259.13, and that doing so is a gross misdemeanor.

    Subd. 1b.Term of license; fee; premarital education. (a) The local registrar shall examine upon oath the parties applying for a license relative to the legality of the contemplated civil marriage. If one party is unable to appear in person, the party appearing may complete the absent applicant's information. The local registrar shall provide a copy of the civil marriage application to the party who is unable to appear, who must verify the accuracy of the appearing party's information in a notarized statement. The civil marriage license must not be released until the verification statement has been received by the local registrar. If the local registrar is satisfied that there is no legal impediment to it, including the restriction contained in section 259.13, the local registrar shall issue the license, containing the full names of the parties before and after the civil marriage, and county and state of residence, with the county seal attached, and make a record of the date of issuance. The license shall be valid for a period of six months. Except as provided in paragraph (b), the local registrar shall collect from the applicant a fee of $115 for administering the oath, issuing, recording, and filing all papers required, and preparing and transmitting to the state registrar of vital records the reports of civil marriage required by this section. If the license should not be used within the period of six months due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, it may be surrendered to the local registrar for cancellation, and in that case a new license shall issue upon request of the parties of the original license without fee. A local registrar who knowingly issues or signs a civil marriage license in any manner other than as provided in this section shall pay to the parties aggrieved an amount not to exceed $1,000.

    (b) The civil marriage license fee for parties who have completed at least 12 hours of premarital education is $40. In order to qualify for the reduced license fee, the parties must submit at the time of applying for the civil marriage license a statement that is signed, dated, and notarized or marked with a church seal from the person who provided the premarital education on their letterhead confirming that it was received. The premarital education must be provided by a licensed or ordained minister or the minister's designee, a person authorized to solemnize civil marriages under section 517.18, or a person authorized to practice marriage and family therapy under section 148B.33. The education must include the use of a premarital inventory and the teaching of communication and conflict management skills.

Applying For a Marriage License in Minnesota

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
One Day
License Valid For:
6 Months
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

A Minnesota marriage license expires after six months, which means that for a wedding ceremony to be legally binding, it must take place within six months from the date the license was issued. If a couple applies for a marriage license but, due to illness or other circumstances, do not have a wedding within the six-month period, the couple may bring the original license back to the registrar’s office and have a new license issued without having to pay an additional fee.

Minnesota law requires that all couples wait at least 24 hours after the marriage license is issued before the wedding ceremony may take place.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Minn. Stat. § 517.08 APPLICATION FOR LICENSE.

    Subdivision 1. [Renumbered subds 1a and 1b]

    Subd. 1b.Term of license; fee; premarital education. (a) The local registrar shall examine upon oath the parties applying for a license relative to the legality of the contemplated civil marriage. If one party is unable to appear in person, the party appearing may complete the absent applicant's information. The local registrar shall provide a copy of the civil marriage application to the party who is unable to appear, who must verify the accuracy of the appearing party's information in a notarized statement. The civil marriage license must not be released until the verification statement has been received by the local registrar. If the local registrar is satisfied that there is no legal impediment to it, including the restriction contained in section 259.13, the local registrar shall issue the license, containing the full names of the parties before and after the civil marriage, and county and state of residence, with the county seal attached, and make a record of the date of issuance. The license shall be valid for a period of six months.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Minnesota

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

A minister who wishes to officiate a wedding in Minnesota must be at least 21 years old. He or she is not required to be a Minnesota resident, and there are no restrictions as to gender or religious beliefs.

Before a minister can perform a legally binding wedding ceremony in Minnesota, he or she must complete a form and file a copy of his or her certificate of ordination or ministry license with the Office of Vital Records for any Minnesota county. For this reason, many ULC-ordained ministers order the Classic Wedding Package, which includes all official documentation.

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    Minn. Stat. § 517.05 CREDENTIALS OF MINISTER.

    Ministers of any religious denomination, before they are authorized to solemnize a civil marriage, shall file a copy of their credentials of license or ordination or, if their religious denomination does not issue credentials, authority from the minister's spiritual assembly, with the local registrar of a county in this state, who shall record the same and give a certificate of filing thereof. The place where the credentials are recorded shall be endorsed upon and recorded with each certificate of civil marriage granted by a minister.

Getting Married in Minnesota

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

Most couples prefer to customize their wedding ceremony to fit their personal beliefs and preferences, and Minnesota law does not dictate any formal requirements for the wording or contents of the ceremony. To be legally binding under Minnesota law, a wedding need only meet a few broad requirements:

Both members of the couple, an authorized minister, and at least two witnesses must be physically present for the ceremony. The witnesses must each be at least 16 years old.

During the course of the wedding, each partner must declare his or her consent to be married — for example, by saying, “I do.”

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Minn. Stat. § 517.09 SOLEMNIZATION.

    Subdivision 1.General. No particular form is required to solemnize a civil marriage, except: the parties shall declare in the presence of a person authorized to solemnize civil marriages and two attending witnesses that each takes the other as husband, wife, or spouse; or the civil marriage shall be solemnized in a manner provided by section 517.18.

    Minn. Stat. § 517.10 CERTIFICATE; WITNESSES.

    The person solemnizing a civil marriage shall prepare and sign a certificate. The certificate shall contain the full names of the parties before and after the civil marriage, the birth dates of the parties, and county and state of residences of the parties and the date and place of the civil marriage. The certificate shall also contain the signatures of at least two of the witnesses present at the civil marriage who shall be at least 16 years of age. The person solemnizing the civil marriage shall immediately make a record of such civil marriage, and file such certificate with the local registrar of the county in which the license was issued within five days after the ceremony. The local registrar shall record such certificate in the county civil marriage records.

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, the minister, both witnesses, and both newly married partners must all sign the marriage license. The minister must complete a section of the license, including his or her name, title, home address and ordaining church. ULC ministers should write “minister” for the title and “Universal Life Church Ministries” for the ordaining body.

The minister is required to return the completed marriage license to the issuing office within five days after the wedding ceremony for the marriage to be valid. ULC recommends that ministers keep some sort of record of all ceremonies they officiate, especially if payment was received.