How to Get Legally Married in Alabama and Plan Your AL Wedding

A PSA for all Alabama couples looking to make it legal.
Madeline Merinuk
by Madeline Merinuk
Updated Aug 02, 2021

If you're planning an Alabama wedding, then you know that it's probably time for you to start educating yourself on the ins and outs of the marriage license application process (which, don't worry, isn't too hard.) Alabama is a great state to get married in because there's something for everyone. Between the beaches, lakes, and fun cities to explore, this often overlooked state is a great place for a wedding. If you and your future spouse are ready to seal the deal and make Alabama your sweet home (pun intended!), check out our helpful guide below.

How to Get Married in Alabama

Getting an Alabama marriage certificate isn't as complicated or daunting as it may sound. Alabama actually just updated its guidelines in 2019 (the Alabama Act 2019-340) in order to make the process simpler for its residents. As long as you meet all of the legal requirements and understand the rules before you go to apply, you and your future spouse will be saying "I do" in no time.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Alabama?

No! Once you are approved and have obtained your license, you can feel free to get married at your leisure within 30 days of the issued date. However, be aware that if one of the partners has been divorced for less than 60 days, a short waiting period may be incurred.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Alabama?

Both parties must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid government-issued ID, as well as knowledge of your social security card number. If one or both of the spouses is/are under the age of 18, but at least 16 years of age, and have not been previously married, an Affidavit of Consent is required in addition to the other legal documents.

What's considered a common law marriage in Alabama?

Alabama does not recognize common law marriages.

Alabama Marriage License 101

Now that you know the legal requirements, you and your future spouse start the process of obtaining an Alabama marriage license. Once you're a bit closer to your wedding date, it's time to head to a local probate court office to fill out an application to make your marriage official.

What do you need to get a marriage license in Alabama?

In addition to the Alabama marriage certificate form (which can be found at the probate office), both parties will need a valid photo ID., such as a driver's license, a passport, a military ID. card, or a state-issued ID. You can bring these items to a probate court in your county in Alabama, along with your social security card. Keep in mind that both parties must be in attendance to obtain a marriage license in Alabama.

Once you submit the application and the necessary documents at the court office, the couple will receive their marriage license from a probate judge.

And for those wondering, no — you don't need a blood test.

What does an Alabama marriage license cost?

It depends on the county, but can range anywhere from $40 to $80. It's preferred that you pay in cash, but most counties also take payment in the form of credit cards, debit cards, or money order checks (made payable to Judge of Probate.)

How long does it take to get a marriage license in Alabama?

On the day you want to obtain your license in person, all in all, it shouldn't take more than an hour as long as there's no line to wait. After you've obtained the license from your county probate court, you have 30 days to use it, or it will expire.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Alabama?

You can fill out the application, but still have to present your application to the probate court office in order to get a certified copy. You can find the form online on the Alabama Department of Public Health's website, or at the local probate court office in your county.

How do you get a copy of your Alabama marriage license?

In order to receive a certified copy, you can call the Alabama Vital Records office to order. Note that there is a $15 fee.

How to Plan an Alabama Wedding

Once you and your partner have received your new marriage certificate in the state of Alabama, you're officially ready to legally seal the deal! Likely, by that point, you've already booked all of the big vendors for your wedding ceremony and reception (catering, venue, music, etc.) But, if you're reading this in preparation for booking those things, we've got a couple of helpful tips that might get you started on the right foot.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for an Alabama Wedding

Alabama is known for its assortment of beautiful Southern landscapes. But, if you're more of a city person, Alabama certainly can deliver. Montgomery and Birmingham are two of the most popular cities in Alabama, and both are sure to please with their wide arrays of culture, food, and venue spaces. And, if you're more of an outdoorsy person, check out one of Alabama's many coastal towns, like Gulf Shores.

What to Look for in an Alabama Wedding Venue

Since there are so many different areas to choose from in Alabama, it's definitely crucial to know what your priorities are as a couple when picking a venue. For example, if you're set on an indoor location, you might want to consider a city, where there are a plethora of unique and beautiful venues. The only way to know for sure if a venue meets your standards by visiting, so plan a tour of an area you're considering for your special day.

How to Find Alabama Wedding Venues

With so many options, it's hard to know where to start. Luckily, the Internet is here to help! You can consult a resource like The Knot Marketplace for extensive Alabama wedding venue suggestions. Or, try putting Southern hospitality to the test and ask a local for their opinion. Likely, someone will have a suggestion based off your needs.

The Best Times of Year to Have an Alabama Wedding for Good Weather

Alabama is definitely known for its heat and humidity, which are particularly apparent in the summer months. But, that doesn't stop couples from marrying then. If you're looking for a milder climate, however, maybe consider spring, particularly between March and May. These are the best months to get married because it's warm (but not scorching), and the humidity is generally still low — perfect for a couple considering an outdoor ceremony and reception.

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