Universal Life Church

Pennsylvania Wedding Laws

Pennsylvania has a deep history when it comes to the creation of new laws. Philadelphia is where the Declaration of Independence was signed, after all. Naturally, couples who are interested in tying the knot in Pennsylvania should focus on the various rules and regulations surrounding the practice. In order to make your life a lot easier, the Universal Life Church Ministries has created a simplified guide with everything you need to know about getting hitched in the Keystone State. Prepare for a legally binding marriage by following these simple steps.

Pennsylvania 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

According to Pennsylvania law, it is only legal for two persons at least 18 years of age to marry within the state. However, exceptions can be made. Minors who are least 16 years of age can tie the knot if given written approval of consent by a parent or guardian. Additionally, it is not legal for any individuals who are closer in relation than second cousins to marry. As with all states, it is now federally required to allow same-sex couples to marry within Pennsylvania. Nonresidents may also apply to marry in this state if they so wish.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1302

    (a) General rule.--No marriage license shall be issued except upon written and verified application made by both of the parties intending to marry. (b) Contents.--The application shall contain the following: (1) The full name of the applicants. (2) The occupation, birthplace, residence and age of the applicants. An applicant intending to marry who is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67 (relating to domestic and sexual violence victim address confidentiality) may use the substitute address designated by the Office of Victim Advocate pursuant to Chapter 67 as the address of their residence.(3) Whether the marriage contemplated is the first, second or other marriage of an applicant. (4) A statement that neither of the applicants is afflicted with transmissible disease. (5) The full name, residence, occupation and birthplace of the parents of each applicant, including the maiden name of the mother of each applicant. An applicant may use the substitute address designated by the Office of Victim Advocate pursuant to Chapter 67 for a parent's residence if: (i) the applicant is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67 and the applicant resides with the applicant's parents; or (ii) the applicant's parent is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67. (6) Any other facts necessary to determine whether a legal impediment to the proposed marriage exists.

How to Get a Pennsylvania Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in Pennsylvania
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
Varies by County
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID and Proof of Social Security Number
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

In order to tie the knot in PA, couples must apply for a marriage license. The cost will vary from county to county, falling somewhere between the prices of $40 and $85. The couple must appear in front of the county clerk together with the completed paperwork. Photo identification and proof of social security number must also be presented. Some offices may require a couple to disclose whether or not a member has been married before and be asked to showcase official divorce documents from the original union.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1302

    (a) General rule--No marriage license shall be issued except upon written and verified application made by both of the parties intending to marry. (b) Contents.--The application shall contain the following: (1) The full name of the applicants. (2) The occupation, birthplace, residence and age of the applicants. An applicant intending to marry who is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67 (relating to domestic and sexual violence victim address confidentiality) may use the substitute address designated by the Office of Victim Advocate pursuant to Chapter 67 as the address of their residence.(3) Whether the marriage contemplated is the first, second or other marriage of an applicant. (4) A statement that neither of the applicants is afflicted with transmissible disease. (5) The full name, residence, occupation and birthplace of the parents of each applicant, including the maiden name of the mother of each applicant. An applicant may use the substitute address designated by the Office of Victim Advocate pursuant to Chapter 67 for a parent's residence if: (i) the applicant is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67 and the applicant resides with the applicant's parents; or (ii) the applicant's parent is a program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 67. (6) Any other facts necessary to determine whether a legal impediment to the proposed marriage exists.

Applying For a Marriage License in Pennsylvania

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

Couples in Pennsylvania must wait a period of 72 hours before they are legally allowed to conduct the wedding ceremony. This means that a couple requires ample time to submit the paperwork required. Waiting until the last minute may cause legal problems with the license. Once it has been released, the couple has 60 days to conduct the wedding until it expires. After the officiant has filled out the final lines on the day of the wedding, the couple has 10 days after the ceremony to return the paperwork.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1310

    The marriage license shall not be valid for a longer period than 60 days from the date of issue and shall be in substantially the following form: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ss: No...... County of (name) To any person authorized by law to solemnize marriage: You are hereby authorized to join together in holy state of matrimony, according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (name) and (name). Given under my hand and seal of the Court of Common Pleas of (name), at (city, borough or town), on (date). Signed .......................... (Official Title)

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Pennsylvania

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

In order to perform a wedding in the state of Pennsylvania, a minister must be at least 18 years of age. Additionally, he or she may need to register with the Office of the Clerk. As with many regulations within Pennsylvania, the laws tend to vary from county to county. Before you assume you know what is expected of you, reach out to your local registrar’s office and get a better understanding of what is involved.

Ministers will need to produce certain documents when asked to prove their status to county clerks. Thankfully, the Universal Life Church has made it easier than ever to tackle this task. The ULC offers a Classic Wedding Package that includes all of the vital documents and certificates needed to show you can legally perform the ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1503

    (a) General rule.--The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons that produce a marriage license issued under this part: (1) A justice, judge or magisterial district judge of this Commonwealth. (2) A former or retired justice, judge or magisterial district judge of this Commonwealth who is serving as a senior judge or senior magisterial district judge as provided or prescribed by law; or not serving as a senior judge or senior magisterial district judge but meets the following criteria: (i) has served as a magisterial district judge, judge or justice, whether or not continuously or on the same court, by election or appointment for an aggregate period equaling a full term of office; (ii) has not been defeated for reelection or retention; (iii) has not been convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to or agreed to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other probation without verdict program relative to any misdemeanor or felony offense under the laws of this Commonwealth or an equivalent offense under the laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation; (iv) has not resigned a judicial commission to avoid having charges filed or to avoid prosecution by Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies or by the Judicial Conduct Board; (v) has not been removed from office by the Court of Judicial Discipline; and (vi) is a resident of this Commonwealth. (3) An active or senior judge or full-time magistrate of the District Courts of the United States for the Eastern, Middle or Western District of Pennsylvania. (3.1) An active, retired or senior bankruptcy judge of the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern, Middle or Western District of Pennsylvania who is a resident of this Commonwealth. (4) An active, retired or senior judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit who is a resident of this Commonwealth. (5) A mayor of any city or borough of this Commonwealth. (5.1) A former mayor of a city or borough of this Commonwealth who: (i) has not been defeated for reelection; (ii) has not been convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to or agreed to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other probation without verdict program relative to a misdemeanor or felony offense under the laws of this Commonwealth or an equivalent offense under the laws of the United States or any one of its possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation; (iii) has not resigned the position of mayor to avoid having charges filed or to avoid prosecution by Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies; (iv) has served as a mayor, whether continuously or not, by election for an aggregate of a full term in office; and (v) is a resident of this Commonwealth. (6) A minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation. (b) Religious organizations.--Every religious society, religious institution or religious organization in this Commonwealth may join persons together in marriage when at least one of the persons is a member of the society, institution or organization, according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization. (c) Marriage license needed to officiate.--No person or religious organization qualified to perform marriages shall officiate at a marriage ceremony without the parties having obtained a marriage license issued under this part.

Getting Married in Pennsylvania

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

There are very few regulations put in place in Pennsylvania on how a ceremony must be conducted. This is predominantly left up to the couple. However, there are a few points that must be hit. For one, the state requires both members of the couple and the officiant to be physically present for the ceremony. Additionally, verbal consent must be issued in order to validate the ceremony itself. No additional witness is required, either. This means that a couple looking for a private ceremony can easily have an intimate gathering by including the officiant as the witness as well.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1301

    (a) General rule.--No person shall be joined in marriage in this Commonwealth until a marriage license has been obtained. (b) Place of marriage ceremony.--A license issued under this part shall authorize a marriage ceremony to be performed in any county of this Commonwealth. (c) Identity of applicants.--Prior to issuance of the license, the person issuing the license must be satisfied as to the identity of both of the applicants.

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 minister is required to sign the marriage license on the date of the wedding itself. The officiant must carefully look over all related documents to ensure both are complete. After all of the documents have been finalized, the officiant or couple needs to deliver them to the county clerk within ten days of the ceremony itself. After this, the job of the officiant is complete, and the couple will receive word from the county on the license status.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 1504

    (a) General rule.--The original marriage certificate shall be signed by the person solemnizing the marriage and given to the parties contracting the marriage. The duplicate certificate shall be signed by the person or by a member of the religious society, institution or organization solemnizing the marriage and returned for recording within ten days to the court which issued the license.