How to Get Legally Married in Alaska and Plan Your AK Wedding
It's no secret that getting married is supposed to be one of the most special days in your life, and of course, there's a lot of planning that goes into pulling that off. But aside from the excitement of picking floral arrangements, cake tasting, and trying on dresses, there are slightly less glamorous things that need to get done as well — like getting a marriage license. And depending on the state, the guidelines can be different, so it's important to know what each state requires when embarking on your marriage license mission.
The Alaska marriage license process is fairly stress-free (hooray!) As previously mentioned, being aware of the steps is half the battle, especially if you're looking to take it further and get a name change. Besides the fact that getting your marriage license is mostly simple in Alaska, it's a great place to have a wedding (hello, destination wedding!) Even though they call this state "the last frontier," we guarantee this state is top of the list in terms of beautiful landscapes and scenic views.
How to Get Married in Alaska
Let's face it, it's pretty frustrating trying to figure out what's needed for a marriage license application, especially when you're trying to plan so many other aspects of your special day. Fortunately, Alaska's process is easy as 1-2-3, so you and your future spouse will be tying the knot in no time at all. And we've got you covered with our step-by-step guide of how to do it. You're welcome!
Is there a waiting period to get married in Alaska?
Every state has varying waiting period times, but Alaska's is a mere three days. So unless you're trying to elope *immediately,* you should be in good shape.
What are the legal requirements to get married in Alaska?
The typical minimum legal age to get married in Alaska is 18, with a valid ID — which is standard across most states. If you are at least 16, both parties will need to have a legal guardian present, and both parties will need to have certified copy of their birth certificates. And, if you're 14 or 15 years of age, according to Alaska law, you'll have to get a court order allowing both parties to be married before even thinking about obtaining a license.
What's considered a common law marriage in Alaska?
Although some states recognize common law marriages, Alaska does not. Marriage licenses can be beneficial for those who would like to be entitled to the legal rights that being married has to offer, so just something to consider for those exploring all options.
Alaska Marriage License 101
So you've decided you want to seal the deal in one of the most picturesque states in America — congrats! Now that you've decided you're ready to make it legal, you'll have to submit your application to the Bureau of Vital Statistics or a local county court and get your process started! Here's how that process is going to look:
What do you need to get a marriage license in Alaska?
The requirements for getting a marriage license in Alaska are varied depending where you are. In Juneau and Anchorage, licenses are issued by what is known as the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics or the vital records offices, as some also say. If you live in a different area, you can obtain your license at a local county court, or online.
First, you'll need to submit your application to the Bureau, and once your application is approved, you'll get a notification to pick up the license at a Bureau or your local county court. When picking up your license, both you and your spouse need to be present. Additionally, you'll have to bring some documents for identification. Here's a pro tip: double-check what the guidelines in your specific area are, to avoid any confusion or issues down the line. Trust us, this is so worth it.
You and your spouse will both have to bring a government-issued photo ID, which could be a driver's license, a passport, a military I.D. card, or a different state-issued ID. A birth certificate may also be required to show proof of date of birth.
If either party has previously been married, the number of previous marriages and the dates the marriage(s) ended must be stated on the application, and you may have to show physical proof of reason (e.g. a death certificate, divorce decree, etc).
AND, you don't need a blood test. Bonus.
What does an Alaska marriage license cost?
A marriage license fee in Alaska costs $60 and can be paid when the license is issued.
How long does it take to get a marriage license in Alaska?
Once you have submitted your application and have given all of the necessary legal information, you can get your marriage license on the spot. You will, however, need to wait three business days for the application to fully process, and the license expires after three months, so just keep that in mind.
Can you apply for a marriage license online in Alaska?
Yes! But once you're done with the online portion of the application, you'll still have to go in person and be sworn in by a Licensing Officer or Notary at the Juneau or Anchorage Vital Records Office, or an Alaska Courthouse if outside of Juneau or Anchorage.
How do you get a copy of your Alaska marriage license?
You can order a copy of your marriage certificate in person at the bureau/court, or you can apply for one through the mail or online.
How to Plan an Alaska Wedding
Now that you're officially licensed, you can get back to the more enticing aspects of wedding planning — but before you even get to a marriage license, you need to have a couple details smoothed out, like your venue. Alaska is quite a large state, so picking a venue or location can be daunting. Don't worry, we're here to help you out.
The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for an Alaskan Wedding
Whether you're an Alaska native, or looking to swap your typical scenery for lush mountains and rivers, there's something for everyone here. Between small villages and large cities, you're sure to find something that works for you — but Anchorage and Juneau are two cities in Alaska that you definitely don't want to miss when considering your options. Both of these cities sit right on the water, so they're ideal for those looking for venues with scenic backdrops. But really, let's face it: pretty much anywhere in Alaska has scenic backdrops, so you can't go wrong.
What to Look for in an Alaska Wedding Venue
There are a plethora of indoor and outdoor options throughout the state to choose from. It's really all about knowing what's a priority for you and your future spouse. Of course, weather is something to consider when planning an Alaska wedding ceremony and reception (we'll get into that later,) but generally, the state of Alaska is truly filled with beautiful and elegant wedding venues, and offer great options in terms of packaging. Whether you're more interested in hand picking all of your vendors, or going simple with an all-inclusive package, you'll definitely find some venues that works for you.
How to Find Alaska Wedding Venues
If you're thinking to yourself that picking a venue is stressful, don't worry, you're definitely not alone. Luckily, you can consult a resource like The Knot Marketplace for wedding venue suggestions in Alaska. Or, it's always a good idea to connect with locals in the area to ask for personal recommendations!
The Best Times of Year to Have an Alaskan Wedding for Good Weather
OK, this is important. As we know, Alaska can get cold. Like, really cold. BUT, there actually are several months in the year where Alaska is warm and green as can be, particularly between May and October. Statistically, May is the driest month, so that means lower chance of rain.
If you're looking to get married at 10 P.M. when the sun is still out (yes, we did just say that, and it's a real thing) definitely look into getting married around the summer solstice. On the summer solstice, the day is 19 hours long in Anchorage and 22 hours long in Fairbanks — so definitely something to consider if you want a truly unforgettable and unique wedding.