How to Get Legally Married in Colorado and Plan Your CO Wedding

From the marriage license to the officiant, this is Colorado's wedding 101.
Elisabeth Davies
by Elisabeth Davies
Updated Aug 17, 2021

Colorado is one of the most picturesque states in the nation, offering stunning mountain backdrops, sweeping plains and rolling foothills. Its wineries, microbreweries, thriving art scene, ski resorts and lodges all provide excellent vendors and venues for your special day, but before you get too swept up in the whirlwind of planning a wedding it's important to tick some of the logistical boxes off your list.

While the process of acquiring a marriage license in Colorado is mostly straightforward, there could be some slight variations depending on the county where you're obtaining your license. Be sure to double-check when making your plans to make sure you don't run into anything that could set you back at the last minute.

To make sure your ceremony goes off without a hitch, from changing your name to filing your marriage certificate, here is everything you need to know about getting married in the state of Colorado.

How to Get Married in Colorado

As we already mentioned, the process of getting married in Colorado is largely straightforward, but there may be slight variations in the cost of your marriage license, how you can pay for it, and the process of filing it. Please be sure to check your chosen county's website for the full details, but in general, here's what you can expect from the marriage license application process and how to legally tie the knot in the state of Colorado.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Colorado?

There is no waiting period in Colorado, though couples must get married within 35 days of getting their marriage license.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Colorado?

The age requirements for getting a marriage license in Colorado are about what you'd expect. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to get married in Colorado. Applicants who are 16 and 17 years of age must show judicial approval, as parental consent alone is no longer sufficient.

Applicants must provide up-to-date, valid identification that shows their birthday such as a birth certificate, driver's license, passport, visa, naturalization certificate, military ID or alien registration card, as well as their social security card. Applicants who do not have a social security number must complete a Sworn Statement Affidavit.

If either spouse-to-be has been previously married, they must bring proof that their divorce has been finalized including the date of the divorce, where it took place and the type of court it was completed in. For widowed spouses, they must provide details on the date of their previous spouse's death and the place of death.

What's considered a common law marriage in Colorado?

Colorado is one of eight states in the U.S. to recognize common law marriage and recently expanded the definition to be inclusive to couples of all gender combinations. There is no minimum time requirement for a common law marriage in Colorado, all that is needed is for both members of the couple to consider themselves married in legal and social terms, or have the intention of entering into a marital agreement.

Colorado Marriage License 101

If you're looking for a way to seal the deal that's free from red tape, Colorado is an ideal state to host a wedding.

To start with, applicants don't need to be Colorado residents to obtain a marriage license, though it is required that they marry within the state of Colorado once on is obtained.

Witnesses are not required and couples may have an officiant such as a current and retired judge, a public official with powers of solemnization, clergy, Indigenous tribe officials or they may officiate their own marriage in what is known as a self-solemnization. Just bring your ID, fill out some paperwork with the county clerk, and you're on your way!

But whether you're opting to marry yourselves or doing things in a more traditional way, here is what you need to include on your marriage license checklist:

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

First of all, breathe easy: Blood tests are not required in the state of Colorado. The first step is filling out the marriage license application form.

Depending on the county you're applying in, one or both parties may be required to be present when applying for a marriage license. Most counties require both parties to be present, but if one of you is unable to be there, the absent party must fill out and sign an Absentee Affidavit for the other party to bring to the county clerk along with the missing person's identification. Please check your county's website for any particulars regarding Absentee Affidavits.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many county clerk offices are requiring applicants to make appointments prior to completing their applications.

Bring your valid ID, Social Security Card and/or Sworn Statement Affidavit and any proof required from a previous divorce.

What does a Colorado marriage license cost?

The cost of a marriage license in the state of Colorado is $30, but the method of payment may depend on your county. Keep in mind that some county clerk offices accept cash only, while some others may accept cash, debit or credit card.

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

It doesn't take long to get a marriage license in the state of Colorado. Once you make your appointment and bring all the required paperwork and valid identification, you may be in and out of the county clerk's office in as little as 20 minutes! From there, you're free to get married on the same day if it suits you.

But if you're checking this step off your list prior to your actual wedding day, keep in mind that the marriage certificate must be signed within 35 days of getting the license and it's the officiating party's responsibility to file it back with the county clerk recorder's office within 63 of it being signed.

Late fees for a marriage certificate not filed within 63 days may vary. Please check your local county clerk's website.
Can you apply for a marriage license online in Colorado?

Some counties in Colorado do allow you to fill out an online application to expedite the application process, and some allow you to apply through the mail. Check your county clerk's website for specific details.

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

The recorder's office will keep the original marriage license, but if a certified copy is needed one can usually be obtained for a small fee. Depending on your clerk's office, you may be able to order a certified copy over the phone, in person or by mail. You may need to give the names of the parties involved in the marriage, the marriage license date of issue, and may need to provide your own return envelope and postage. Check your local county clerk's website for details.

How to Plan a Colorado Wedding

It feels good to check things off your list, doesn't it? we think so too. Now we can go back to the fun part.

Depending on where you are in the Centennial State you're going to be faced with different concerns as far as the best season to choose for your reception, access for out-of-town guests and so on. But in general, here is what you should keep in mind when planning the ideal Colorado wedding.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Colorado Wedding

Colorado is a vast state offering a variety of backdrops of a beautiful wedding day. You might find the perfect mountain wedding in places like Keystone and Breckenridge. City-centric couples might have better luck in a bustling place like Denver and boho, small-town lovers might prefer the coziness of Boulder.

What to Look for in a Colorado Wedding Venue

When booking the perfect Colorado wedding venue, it's essential to take advice from the people who know the area well. Look for a venue with a good reputation, one that offers inclusive packages, room blocks and, if you're booking from out of town it might be a good idea to look for someone who's intimate with the vacation and ski trends in the area. It might be a good idea to work with a local wedding planner, so nothing is left to chance.

How to Find Colorado Wedding Vendors

The Knot Marketplace has a vast collection of vendors, wedding planners, photographers, caterers and other essential wedding resources to make sure you have exactly what you need on your special day. It's also a great place to search and compare wedding reception venues by city, so you know you're getting the best of what that each area has to offer.

The Best Times of Year to Have a Colorado Wedding for Good Weather

In the spring, you get the benefit of dazzling sun and lower temps, but if you're looking at a mountain wedding you can risk snowfall putting a damper on your big day.

Summer is peak wildflower season, but temps can climb depending on where you are in the state and if you're having your wedding in Denver, for example, peak tourism in the summer months might mean limited accommodation, especially for destination weddings and guests.

Autumn may be a good season, considering the gorgeous foliage will be changing color up and down the state and providing stunning backdrops for both your ceremony and photoshoot, but be advised that the weather can be fickle during this time of the year, swinging from snow and rain to bright sun overnight.

Skiing is huge in Colorado, so winter weddings may be tricky with accommodations and booking a venue. If you're set on a winter Colorado wedding, try to choose somewhere that's further away from popular ski hubs like Breckenridge, Keystone, Telluride, Aspen or Vail.

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