Universal Life Church

Mississippi Wedding Laws

When most people imagine their wedding day, deadlines and filing fees aren’t usually the first things that spring to mind. Getting married is a legal process in addition to a personal and spiritual commitment, but navigating Mississippi’s unique system of marriage laws is often the last thing couples want to do before the big day. We’ve done the research and compiled a complete, practical guide that includes every legal requirement couples and officiants need to know for a lawful wedding in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 21 or Age 17 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

Like all U.S. states, Mississippi respects marriage equality and honors same-sex couples’ rights to marry. There is no residency requirement; couples may get married here no matter where they reside.

No blood testing is required, but couples may not get married if the partners are closely related. In Mississippi, a person can not marry his or her parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, grandparent, first cousin, or spouse’s parent.

Both partners must be at least 21 years of age. Persons who are at least 17 years of age must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Males who are younger than 17 years old may not get married under any circumstances. Females who are 15 or 16 years of age may get married in Mississippi but must have the written consent of a parent or guardian. Females who are 14 years of age or younger may not marry under any circumstances. For purposes of this law, Mississippi defines gender by what is listed on a person’s birth certificate.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Miss. Code Ann. § 93-1-1. Certain marriages declared incestuous and void.

    (1) The son shall not marry his grandmother, his mother, or his stepmother; the brother his sister; the father his daughter, or his legally adopted daughter, or his grand-daughter; the son shall not marry the daughter of his father begotten of his stepmother, or his aunt, being his father’s or mother’s sister, nor shall the children of brother or sister, or brothers and sisters intermarry being first cousins by blood. The father shall not marry his son’s widow; a man shall not marry his wife’s daughter, or his wife’s daughter’s daughter, or his wife’s son’s daughter, or the daughter of his brother or sister; and the like prohibition shall extend to females in the same degrees. All marriages prohibited by this subsection are incestuous and void.

    Miss. Code Ann. § 93-1-5. Conditions precedent to issuance of license; penalty for noncompliance.

    (1) Every male who is at least seventeen (17) years old and every female who is at least fifteen (15) years old shall be capable in law of contracting marriage. However, males and females under the age twenty-one (21) years must furnish the circuit clerk satisfactory evidence of consent to the marriage by the parents or guardians of the parties. It shall be unlawful for the circuit court clerk to issue a marriage license until the following conditions precedent have been complied with:

    (a) Application for the license is to be made in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of any county in the State of Mississippi. The application shall be sworn to by both applicants and shall include:

    (i) The names, ages and addresses of the parties applying;

    (ii) The names and addresses of the parents of the applicants, and, for applicants under the age of twenty-one (21), if no parents, then names and addresses of the guardian or next of kin;

    (iii) The signatures of witnesses; and

    (iv) Any other data that may be required by law or the State Board of Health.

    (b) Proof of age shall be presented to the circuit court clerk in the form of either a birth certificate, baptismal record, armed service discharge, armed service identification card, life insurance policy, insurance certificate, school record, driver’s license, or other official document evidencing age. The document substantiating age and date of birth shall be examined by the circuit court clerk before whom application is made, and the circuit court clerk shall retain in his file with the application the document or a certified or photostatic copy of the document.

    (c) Applicants under the age of twenty-one (21) must submit affidavits showing the age of both applying parties made by either the father, mother, guardian or next of kin of each of the contracting parties and filed with the clerk of the circuit court along with the application.

    (d) If the male applicant is under seventeen (17) years of age or the female is under fifteen (15) years of age, and satisfactory proof is furnished to the judge of any circuit, chancery or county court that sufficient reasons exist and that the parties desire to be married to each other and that the parents or other person in loco parentis of the person or persons so under age consent to the marriage, then the judge of any such court in the county where either of the parties resides may waive the minimum age requirement and by written instrument authorize the clerk of the court to issue the marriage license to the parties if they are otherwise qualified by law. Authorization shall be a part of the confidential files of the clerk of the court, subject to inspection only by written permission of the judge.

How to Get a Mississippi Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Mississippi
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$38.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Valid Official ID Showing Age
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Varies by County
Blood Test Required:
No

In Mississippi, a marriage license costs $38. Some counties may also charge a filing or administrative fee. Couples must apply together, in person, in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk of any Mississippi county. However, if either partner is a female who is younger than 21 years of age and is a Mississippi resident, the couple must apply in that partner’s county of residence.

Each partner will need a valid form of identification. The list of acceptable ID documents varies by county, so couples should check with the county where they plan to apply to be sure they have the correct documents. If either partner has previously been married, some counties require proof that the prior marriage was properly terminated, such as a divorce decree or death certificate.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Miss. Code Ann. § 41-57-48. Statistical record of marriage; completion; filing; recording fee.

    (1) For each marriage performed in this state, a record entitled “Statistical Record of Marriage” shall be filed with the office of vital records registration of the State Board of Health by the circuit clerk who issued the marriage license and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

    (2) The circuit clerk who issues the marriage license shall complete the statistical record (except for the section relating to the ceremony) on a form prescribed and furnished by the State Board of Health and shall sign it. The record shall be prepared on the basis of information obtained from the parties to be married, and both the bride and the groom shall sign the record certifying that the information about themselves is correct.

    (3) The person who performs the marriage ceremony shall complete and sign the section relating to the ceremony and shall return the record to the circuit clerk who issued the license within five (5) days after the ceremony.

    Miss. Code Ann. § 93-1-5. Conditions precedent to issuance of license; penalty for noncompliance.

    (1) ...

    (a) Application for the license is to be made in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of any county in the State of Mississippi. The application shall be sworn to by both applicants and shall include:

    (i) The names, ages and addresses of the parties applying;

    (ii) The names and addresses of the parents of the applicants, and, for applicants under the age of twenty-one (21), if no parents, then names and addresses of the guardian or next of kin;

    (iii) The signatures of witnesses; and

    (iv) Any other data that may be required by law or the State Board of Health.

    (b) Proof of age shall be presented to the circuit court clerk in the form of either a birth certificate, baptismal record, armed service discharge, armed service identification card, life insurance policy, insurance certificate, school record, driver’s license, or other official document evidencing age. The document substantiating age and date of birth shall be examined by the circuit court clerk before whom application is made, and the circuit court clerk shall retain in his file with the application the document or a certified or photostatic copy of the document.

Applying For a Marriage License in Mississippi

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
No Expiration
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

Mississippi does not have any waiting periods, and marriage licenses do not expire. The couple may delay the wedding as long as they like; however, their marriage is not valid unless and until the couple solemnizes the marriage with a ceremony and returns the completed marriage license to the issuing court.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Miss. Code Ann. § 41-57-48. Statistical record of marriage; completion; filing; recording fee.

    (3) The person who performs the marriage ceremony shall complete and sign the section relating to the ceremony and shall return the record to the circuit clerk who issued the license within five (5) days after the ceremony.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Mississippi

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

Mississippi does not require officiants to register with the state prior to the wedding ceremony. A minister may be required to submit a copy of his or her ordination credentials to the clerk’s office along with the completed marriage license. This requirement varies by county, so the minister should check with the office that issued the marriage license to be sure he or she has all the necessary documentation.

ULC-ordained ministers are authorized to solemnize Mississippi wedding ceremonies by virtue of being “spiritual leaders in good standing” with Universal Life Church Ministries, which is designated as a lawfully accredited religious organization under Mississippi law. This does not translate to any sort of requirement or restriction regarding the minister’s personal religious beliefs or lack thereof.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Miss. Code Ann. § 93-1-17. By whom marriages may be solemnized.

    Any minister of the gospel ordained according to the rules of his church or society, in good standing; any Rabbi or other spiritual leader of any other religious body authorized under the rules of such religious body to solemnize rites of matrimony and being in good standing; any judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court or county court may solemnize the rites of matrimony between any persons anywhere within this state who shall produce a license granted as herein directed. Justice court judges and members of the boards of supervisors may likewise solemnize the rites of matrimony within their respective counties. Any marriages performed by a mayor of a municipality prior to March 14, 1994 are valid provided such marriages satisfy the requirements of Section 93-1-18.

Getting Married in Mississippi

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Ministers and couples in Mississippi are free to customize the content of wedding ceremonies to conform to their personal beliefs and choices. For a wedding ceremony to be valid in Mississippi, the only requirement is that each partner, in the presence of the officiant, must declare his or her consent to be married.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Miss. Code Ann. § 93-1-19. Marriage may be solemnized according to religious customs.

    It shall be lawful for a pastor of any religious society in this state to join together in marriage such persons of the society to whom a marriage license has been issued, according to the rules and customs established by the society. The clerk or keeper of the minutes, proceedings, or other books of the religious society wherein such marriage shall be had and solemnized, shall make a true and faithful register of all marriages solemnized in the society, in a book kept by him for that purpose, and return a certificate of the same to the clerk of the circuit court of the county, to be by him recorded, under the penalty prescribed in Section 93-1-21.

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, the minister must complete the final section of the original marriage license. A ULC minister should list his or her title as “minister” and his or her ordaining body as “Universal Life Church Ministries”; however, he or she should use his or her home address instead of the church address, so that the clerk can reach him or her if needed.

The minister and both newlyweds must sign the completed marriage license, and it must be returned to the office from which it was issued within five days after the ceremony.