How to Get Legally Married in Delaware and Plan Your DE Wedding

A PSA for all Delaware couples looking to get hitched (legally).
Madeline Merinuk
by Madeline Merinuk
Updated Jul 16, 2021

Even though your wedding is no doubt supposed to be one of the most magical days of your life, there are still some less exciting (but equally important!) steps you have to take in order to make sure your marriage is *official* — like getting a marriage license. For Delaware residents, getting one of these isn't as hard as you may anticipate. If you and your future spouse are looking to legally seal the deal in a state that has rolling acres of farmland, or even charming beach towns, it might be worth it to look into getting a marriage license in Delaware.

For the most part, obtaining a marriage license in Delaware is a fairly stress-free process. As long as you're aware of the steps, including how to get a name change, you'll find that it's not as strenuous as you might imagine. Additionally, the state of Delaware is great for wedding planning, since there are so many local farms and beautiful locations at which to host your big celebration — and there are incredible vendors in the area that will make your big day as special and romantic as possible.

How to Get Married in Delaware

Knowing the steps on how to ensure the validity of your marriage is important, especially on a state-by-state basis, and luckily, the process in Delaware isn't too arduous (which gives you more time to spend on wedding planning — score.) We're here to break it down, step by step, for your wedding planning convenience.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Delaware?

The waiting period for all applicants is 24 hours, online and in person, and once obtained, the marriage license is valid for 30 days.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Delaware?

In Delaware, all applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid I.D.

What's considered a common law marriage in Delaware?

Although some states have statutes that allow common law marriages, Delaware does not. So, if you don't apply for a marriage license, you and your partner will not be able to share the same rights that married couples in DE are entitled to.

Delaware Marriage License 101

Once you and your future spouse have decided you want to seal the deal, and have confirmed that you are legally able to get married, it's time to head to your local county clerk's office to apply for a marriage license. Here's everything you need to know about that.

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

In addition to the application form, both parties will need valid photo I.D., such as a driver's license, a passport, a military I.D. card, or a state-issued I.D. In order to avoid complications when you show up to apply, be sure to look up your county's specific items they'll need. It'll save you a massive headache later, we promise.

In order to obtain a marriage license, you and your future spouse will have to show up together at your county clerk's office, specifically the county clerk of the peace. From there, as long as you have the legally required documentation, and you're at least 18 years of age, they'll allow you to complete the application.

Additionally, if you or your future spouse has been in a previous marriage, they may be required to bring an original or certified copy of the divorce decree, legal annulment, dissolution, or death certificate, depending on the situation. And for those wondering, no — you don't need a blood test. (We're relieved too.)

What does a Delaware marriage license cost?

The marriage license fee in Delaware is $70 if at least one of the applicants is a DE resident — if you're a non-resident, the marriage license fee is $120. Make sure to bring proof of address if you're a Delaware resident.

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

Generally speaking, it takes about 20 minutes for your marriage license application process to be completed, and after that, there is a 24 hour waiting period for the application to be fully processed (as long as everything goes according to plan — which we're sure it will!)

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Delaware?

Yes! While an online application may incur some additional small fees, it's definitely a convenient option for those strapped for time to go to the Clerk of the Peace Office. You can head to the websites of your county, for example, Sussex County, Kent County, or New Castle County, and have your identification ready, along with your credit card. Note that online orders submitted on the weekend will be processed on the next working day.

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

If you want to get a certified copy of your marriage license (or a certificate for your civil union), you can return back to the clerk of the peace office in your county and request one. It'll cost you $25.

How to Plan a Delaware Wedding

Congrats! You've successfully received your marriage license in Delaware. By the time you've obtained your license, you've likely already booked your wedding venue, as well as the other vendors. But, if you're reading this prematurely in preparation for your big day, we're here to help give you some direction about some of the best vendors in Delaware.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Delaware Wedding

One of the greatest aspects of Delaware is that it has a lot of different areas that are ideal wedding locations. Whether you're a farm lover at heart, or you feel like you belong in more of a city environment, this state has something for everyone.

Take, for example, the beautiful beaches. Popular shore destinations include Rehoboth Beach, a great family destination, or Dewey beach, a quieter shore town in DE.

If you're interested in more of a city destination, check out Wilmington, which has dozens of incredible wedding venues (trust us on this one.) And, if you like the idea of a barn marriage ceremony and reception, check out Middletown or Lewes for a venue with a more rustic vibe.

What to Look for in a Delaware Wedding Venue

Regardless of state, it's important to remember your priorities when booking wedding vendors. It's your big day, and you definitely don't want to compromise. In Delaware specifically, there are so many options to choose from. You can choose from venues with all-inclusive packages, or venues that leave the vendor planning up to you — it's all about knowing what you want and what fits your budget. Luckily, Delaware is a great state in the sense that there's really something for everyone. Just because it's one of the smaller states, doesn't mean you have fewer options when it comes to planning your special day!

How to Find Delaware Wedding Venues

With so many options to choose from, it's hard to know where to turn to for help when planning the specifics of your wedding day. Luckily, you can consult a resource like The Knot Marketplace for extensive Delaware wedding venue suggestions, or even join a Facebook group or consult Delaware residents to get suggestions from locals.

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

Depending on what sort of venue ideas you have brewing, weather is usually an important thing to consider. Since Delaware is in the Northeast, the weather is typically best between the months of May-September to get married, especially for those wanting an outdoor ceremony or reception. But be warned: if you book a summer wedding, specifically in a shore town, be prepared for the possibility of crowded beaches, as some Delaware shores (like Rehoboth) are popular tourist destinations.

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