Wyoming Wedding Laws
With a large section of Yellowstone National Park, sweeping mountain vistas and hundreds of miles of stark prairie, Wyoming is the perfect location for a destination wedding. Those who call the Cowboy State home also love to have ceremonies there.
Whether you want to have a Wyoming wedding or to officiate one, you must be certain the license and ceremony meet the legal requirements. You must also be careful not to violate Wyoming’s unique marriage laws. Continue reading for answers to your pressing questions.
How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Wyoming
In Wyoming, wedding officiants must be at least 18--the minimum age for a ULC online ordination. If a wedding officiant is a ULC minister, he or she should check with the Wyoming county that issues the marriage license.
County officials may require officiants to provide specific documentation or complete official paperwork. During and after the ceremony, the officiant should also maintain records of his or her ordination. The ULC Classic Wedding Package provides officiants with appropriate documentation.
Getting Married in Wyoming
Couples who marry in Wyoming have the flexibility to customize their wedding ceremonies with a couple of exceptions. First, for a wedding to be legally valid, each party must consent to the wedding. This typically happens when the couple says “I do.”
Likewise, Wyoming law requires the officiant to pronounce the marriage. This usually occurs at the end of the wedding ceremony. After going through a ceremony with these two legal features, the couple, officiant, and witnesses must complete the marriage license.
In Wyoming, two adult witnesses must sign the license. The marrying couple, officiant, and witnesses must also be physically present at the wedding ceremony.
How to Get a Wyoming Marriage License
Before marrying in Wyoming, couples must obtain a marriage license. To do so, they must appear in person at a county clerk’s office. The application fee is $30.
Once a couple applies for a marriage license, the county clerk ensures the couple is legally eligible to marry. Couples do not have to provide either previous divorce decrees or the results of blood tests, though. After all, Wyoming does not require marriage license applicants to undergo blood or genetic testing.
After the court prepares the marriage license, the couple must pick it up in person. When doing so, the couple may need to provide identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s license.
Show Legal Excerpt+
20-1-103. License; required. (a) Before solemnization of any marriage in this state, a marriage license shall be obtained from a Wyoming county clerk. (b) Application for a marriage license shall be made by one (1) of the parties to the marriage before the license is issued. Upon receipt of an application, the county clerk shall ascertain by the testimony of a competent witness and the applicant, the names, the social security numbers of the parties who have valid social security numbers, residences and ages of the parties and whether there is any legal impediment to the parties entering into the marriage contract according to the laws of the state of their residence. The clerk shall enter the facts ascertained in a book kept by him for that purpose, except for the social security numbers which shall be provided to the state office of vital records and not made a part of the county public record. He may issue a license to marry and shall date the license on the date of issuance except as otherwise provided.
Applying For a Marriage License in Wyoming
Marrying couples do not have to have a religious ceremony to comply with Wyoming law. Instead, they may elect to have a civil ceremony. If a Universal Life Church minister performs the ceremony, however, the ceremony is religious under state law. This is true even if there are few or no religious elements in the ceremony.
Wyoming does not require applicants for marriage licenses to go through a mandatory waiting period. This fact makes the Cowboy State perfect for couples from other places. They can appear in-person to request and retrieve the license as part of their destination weddings.
Show Legal Excerpt+
20-1-106. Who may solemnize marriage; form of ceremony. (a) Every district or circuit court judge, district court commissioner, supreme court justice, magistrate and every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel, bishop, priest or rabbi, or other qualified person acting in accordance with the traditions or rites for the solemnization of marriage of any religion, denomination or religious society, may perform the ceremony of marriage in this state
Wyoming Marriage Requirements
Wyoming does not have a residency requirement for marrying couples. Therefore, even if one or both individuals live outside the state, a Wyoming marriage ceremony is possible. Wyoming also recognizes same-sex marriage.
Still, to enter a marriage in the Cowboy State, a person must be at least 18 or be at least 16 with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. A state judge may also allow minors to wed by directing a county clerk to issue a marriage license.
Show Legal Excerpt+
20-1-102. Minimum marriageable age; exception; parental consent. (a) At the time of marriage the parties shall be at least sixteen (16) years of age except as otherwise provided. (b) All marriages involving a person under sixteen (16) years of age are prohibited and voidable, unless before contracting the marriage a judge of a court of record in Wyoming approves the marriage and authorizes the county clerk to issue a license therefor. (c) When either party is a minor, no license shall be granted without the verbal consent, if present, and written consent, if absent, of the father, mother, guardian or person having the care and control of the minor. Written consent shall be proved by the testimony of at least one (1) competent witness.
Finalizing the Union
After the couple and witnesses have signed the marriage license, the officiant must affix his or her signature. A ULC minister should check the box that indicates he or she is a minister. If the license asks for the name of the church, the minister should record it. The minister’s home address usually works for the ULC address.
Within 10 days of the ceremony, the minister must deliver the properly signed and completed document to the county clerk. Failing to do so may constitute a criminal offense in Wyoming.
To avoid serving up to a year in jail and paying a $500 fine, it is important for the officiant to honor both the legal requirements and final steps necessary to secure and execute a marriage license.
Show Legal Excerpt+
20-1-108. Offenses relating to marriage generally.If the county clerk neglects to record a marriage certificate, or if any person performs a marriage ceremony knowing that he is not legally authorized to do so or knowing of any legal impediment to the proposed marriage , he is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment for not exceeding one (1) year. 20-1-109. When marriage solemnized by unauthorized person valid. No marriage solemnized in any manner authorized by W.S. 20-1-106, shall be deemed or adjudged to be void, nor is the validity of the marriage in any way affected because of a lack of jurisdiction or authority of the person performing the ceremony of marriage if the marriage is consummated with a full belief on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that the person performing the ceremony was lawfully authorized to do so.