How to Get Legally Married in Maryland and Plan Your MD Wedding

Getting married in Maryland? It's time to get your marriage license.
Melanie Haid
by Melanie Haid
Updated Aug 06, 2021

The state of Maryland is like no other in terms of scenery and fantastic, fresh seafood. Nestled on the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and Potomac River, Maryland not only has beautiful waterfront areas, but stunning wooded areas, too. It's a great place to get married, but you'll want to make sure that you're aware of the following: You must apply for a marriage license in the same county that you'd like the have your wedding ceremony.

Turns out that Maryland is a surprisingly simple state to get your marriage license in. While there is a waiting period to use your license, it doesn't expire for half a year after issuance, so you can take your time with your ceremony. You can change your name while receiving your marriage license, or wait until after to do so if that is something you and your future spouse are interested in.

How to Get Married in Maryland

Is there a waiting period to get married in Maryland?

There is a 24-hour long waiting period to get married in Maryland after you have been issued your marriage license. The license is then valid for 6 months after it is issued.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Maryland?

In the state of Maryland, you must get your marriage license at the County Circuit Court in the county that you are to be married in, regardless of where you live in the state. You and your partner must be 18 years or older to get married without parental consent and under certain circumstances, 16 and 17-year-olds can be married, but no one 15 years or younger is permitted to marry in the state of Maryland. Those who are 17 years of age may be married with parental consent or physician's proof that one member is pregnant or with child; those 16 years of age must have both in order to be married.

You must provide your current marital status, and paperwork that proves to the Clerk of the Circuit Court that any prior marriage has ended.

Blood tests and witnesses are not required. Couples must pay the license fee upon filling out the paperwork.

What's considered a common law marriage in Maryland?

State law does not permit common law marriages in Maryland. However, if a common law marriage has been created in another state where it is legal to do so, the state of Maryland will uphold that relationship if it follows all the requirements of the state it was created in.

Maryland Marriage License 101

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

To get a marriage license in Maryland, you will need to be able to provide documentation of your full name, state/country of birth, address and Social Security Numbers. This can be in the form of your birth certificate, driver's license, visa etc.

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If you have been married previously, you must also provide either a divorce decree, death certificate or other documentation that gives the exact date that the previous marriage ended.

You must also bring payment to the Deputy Clerk; payment type ranges per county, but credit cards, money orders and cash are typically accepted.

Civil ceremonies are made by appointment in most counties, so make sure you are following information on the county's website if you are looking for that specifically as well.

How much does a Maryland marriage license cost?

Depending on which county you are getting your marriage license in, you must pay a $35to $85 fee. Again, the county that you receive your license in must also be the county that your marriage ceremony takes place in under Maryland law.

How long does it take to get a Maryland marriage license?

It only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to fill out the paperwork for the marriage license application, however, Maryland courts maintain a waiting period of 48 hours or two days to be able to use the license after issuance.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Maryland?

During the pandemic, couples were able to apply for marriage licenses online in any county, however now it is preferred that both members of the party go to the court in their county in person. If that is inconvenient, you may fill out the non-resident affidavit, which also applies if neither person is a resident of the county that they are getting married in. You can fill out the form online and mail it in to receive the license, which, in some counties, you will have to pick up in person from the clerk's office regardless of whether or not the information was filled out online.

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

Certified copies of your marriage license and marriage records can be ordered through the clerk's office. Some can be ordered online, depending on the county; otherwise, you can mail the office to request a marriage certificate via mail.

How to Plan a Maryland Wedding

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Maryland Wedding

Since 16 of Maryland's 23 counties border the Chesapeake Bay, you can count on a lot of beachside, sun-soaked wedding venues in this state. Whether you want to get married in Baltimore, Annapolis, the Eastern Shore, or one of the counties surrounding the Washington, DC area, there are plenty of places both urban, rural and waterfront to host your special day.

What to Look For in a Maryland Wedding Venue

There are a variety of beachside and waterfront venues in Maryland, but that's not all that the state has to offer in terms of wedding and reception venues. The northwest area of the state also boasts beautiful forests and wooded areas, with rolling hills that make for stunning scenery and a backdrop for your big day. You can find all of the great options in Maryland by looking through The Knot Marketplace for your desired venue's city.

How to Find a Maryland Wedding Vendor

Of course, the close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Potomac River all add to the popularity of seafood in the state. While you've probably got a good idea of what you want catered, especially with a waterfront wedding, there are still many other aspects of your wedding to plan for. How will you find the perfect photographer? Videographer? Bridal salon? Florist? If you need some ideas on how to find vendors that fit your wedding, The Knot Marketplace features hundreds of Maryland vendors in all cities!

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

There are many different kinds of climates in Maryland, so the best time of the year for your wedding in this state will depend on the area of the wedding. However, the temperatures are generally mild throughout the year—not too hot or cold either way. The spring and fall months will make for wonderful waterfront weddings, in particular.

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