Universal Life Church

Missouri Wedding Laws

Many people dismiss Missouri as one of the "flyover states." However, whether you are interested in some of the country's best BBQ, jazz music, breathtaking fountains, the mighty Mississippi or the Gateway to the West, Missouri has plenty of attractions you will not want to miss.

However, before you get your heart set on a Show-Me State wedding, it is a good idea to review Missouri's marriage laws. Here at the Universal Life Church, we have taken the work out of deciphering Missouri's rules and regulations by writing this detailed guide. Just follow the steps we have outlined for you and you should be well on your way to a legally recognized Missouri wedding.

Getting Married in Missouri

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

The primary requirement for the ceremony is that the couple must state their intent to take the other as husband or wife in the presence of the minister and at least two witnesses. This can occur at any point during the ceremony. The rest of the ceremony is up to the couple, according to their own values and traditions. The wedding is considered solemnized and binding when the minister pronounces the couple as married.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    193.185. Marriage report — certification. — 1. A report of each marriage performed in this state shall be filed with the department and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

      2. The official who issues the marriage license shall prepare the report on the form prescribed and furnished by the state registrar upon the basis of information obtained from one of the parties to be married.

      3. Each person who performs a marriage shall certify the fact of marriage and return the license to the official who issued the license within fifteen days after the ceremony. This license shall be signed by the witnesses to the ceremony. A marriage certificate shall be given to the parties.

      4. Every official issuing marriage licenses shall complete and forward to the department on or before the fifteenth day of each calendar month the reports of marriages returned to such official during the preceding calendar month.

Missouri 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

Same-sex marriages are legal in Missouri due to federal law; however, there are still several restrictions you need to be aware of. First, Missouri has age restrictions. To get married without parental consent, you must be at least 18 years old. Persons who are 16 or 17 years old may marry with the consent of a parent or legal guardian, but no minor is permitted to marry a person over the age of 21.

Missouri also restricts certain blood relatives from getting married. Parents cannot marry children. Siblings, whether full or half, cannot marry. Marriages between grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews and first cousins are also not legally recognized. Additionally, any state official who issues a marriage license to a person lacking the legal capacity to consent to marriage will have committed a misdemeanor offense.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    MO Rev Stat § 451.020 (2013)

    Certain marriages prohibited--official issuing licenses to certain persons guilty of misdemeanor.

    451.020. All marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, first cousins, and between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract, are presumptively void; and it shall be unlawful for any city, county or state official having authority to issue marriage licenses to issue such marriage licenses to the persons heretofore designated, and any such official who shall issue such licenses to the persons aforesaid knowing such persons to be within the prohibition of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and this prohibition shall apply to persons born out of lawful wedlock as well as those in lawful wedlock. It shall be presumed that marriages between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract are prohibited unless the court having jurisdiction over such persons approves the marriage.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Missouri

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

As long as they are at least 18 years of age, notaries, judges, mayors, and recognized members of religious denominations (including ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church) or Native American nations or tribes and tribal judges can solemnize marriages in Missouri. The Classic Wedding Package offered in our online catalog includes all of the official documentation needed to prove a Universal Life Church minister is legally authorized to perform weddings in the state of Missouri.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    40-1-301. Solemnization and registration. (1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by a mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace, by a notary public authorized pursuant to 1-5-630, by a tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group. 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 clerk of the district court.

Applying For a Marriage License in Missouri

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 15 Days of Ceremony

To be considered legally valid in the state of Missouri, a marriage must be solemnized by an authorized civil or religious authority. The marriage officiant must certify that two witnesses and the officiant have signed the marriage certificate.

Marriages that are performed more than 30 days after the marriage license was issued are not considered valid. The completed license must also be returned to the official who issued it no later than 15 days after the date of the ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    MO Rev Stat § 451.040 (2013)

    Marriage license required, waiting period--application, contents--license void when--common law of marriages void--lack of authority to perform marriage, effect.

    451.040. 1. Previous to any marriage in this state, a license for that purpose shall be obtained from the officer authorized to issue the same, and no marriage contracted shall be recognized as valid unless the license has been previously obtained, and unless the marriage is solemnized by a person authorized by law to solemnize marriages.

    1. Before applicants for a marriage license shall receive a license, and before the recorder of deeds shall be authorized to issue a license, the parties to the marriage shall present an application for the license, duly executed and signed in the presence of the recorder of deeds or their deputy. Each application for a license shall contain the Social Security number of the applicant, provided that the applicant in fact has a Social Security number, or the applicant shall sign a statement provided by the recorder that the applicant does not have a Social Security number. The Social Security number contained in an application for a marriage license shall be exempt from examination and copying pursuant to section 610.024. After the receipt of the application the recorder of deeds shall issue the license, unless one of the parties withdraws the application. The license shall be void after thirty days from the date of issuance.

How to Get a Missouri Marriage License

Missouri only has a few requirements to obtain a marriage license. First, the couple must appear in person before the county clerk or recorder of deeds. They will then need to provide the clerk with their Social Security numbers, full names and addresses, and show a valid photo ID. Missouri does not require the couple to take a blood test or show any proof that they have been divorced if previously married. The cost to obtain a license varies by county but is at least $45, and the license is valid in any county in the state.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    193.185. Marriage report — certification. — 1. A report of each marriage performed in this state shall be filed with the department and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

      2. The official who issues the marriage license shall prepare the report on the form prescribed and furnished by the state registrar upon the basis of information obtained from one of the parties to be married.

      3. Each person who performs a marriage shall certify the fact of marriage and return the license to the official who issued the license within fifteen days after the ceremony. This license shall be signed by the witnesses to the ceremony. A marriage certificate shall be given to the parties.

      4. Every official issuing marriage licenses shall complete and forward to the department on or before the fifteenth day of each calendar month the reports of marriages returned to such official during the preceding calendar month.

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 has a few steps to complete to ensure the marriage is legally binding. First, the minister must ensure that both witnesses have endorsed the original marriage certificate and that copies have been provided to all parties. The minister is also required to provide the minister's title, religious organization (such as the Universal Life Church Ministries), home address and the state where the minister currently lives. The minister must also sign the marriage license and return it, along with the marriage certificate, to the official who issued the license no later than 15 days from the date of the ceremony.