How to Get Legally Married in Michigan and Plan Your MI Wedding

The Great Lake State is a great spot for your nuptials.
Jamie Spain - The Knot Contributor.
Jamie Spain
Jamie Spain - The Knot Contributor.
Jamie Spain
The Knot Contributor
  • Jamie contributes wedding content to The Knot on a variety of topics.
  • You can also find her work at Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed, and People.
  • Jamie holds a master's degree and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Updated Aug 09, 2021

Whether you're a native to the Great Lakes or a recent addition to the Wolverine State, Michigan's natural beauty and bustling cities make it the perfect place to host a wedding of any type. Although the State of Michigan is home to some gorgeous lakeshore venues, those who aren't a fan of water can get still find their perfect place to get hitched, whether it's a garden, barn, resort, farm or even an art museum.

Getting a marriage license in Michigan is fairly straightforward, but does require a bit of legwork—so make sure to get all of your details straight before running to the County Clerk's Office. For those struggling to find the perfect place to wed, check out The Knot Marketplace to find the best venues and vendors to make sure your perfect day is what dreams are made of. And while you're at it, don't forget to research how to change your name in Michigan if you're interested in changing your moniker post-wedding.

How to Get Married in Michigan

Marriage isn't all rainbows and butterflies, so when it comes to the legal stuff, here's what you need to know. Anyone interested in getting married in Michigan must first secure a marriage license before moving forward with their wedding plans.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Michigan?

After applying for your license, couples will have a three-day waiting period that doesn't include the day you submit your application, so don't plan on sprinting from the county clerk's office directly down the aisle.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Michigan?

For those over the age of 18, congrats! Your wedding is well on its way. If you're 16 or 17 and still interested in getting hitched, you need a parent or legal guardian's consent form to proceed with your desired nuptials, and if you're 15 years of age or younger, you've got to wait a few years before you make everything official. If your future spouse is a closely related family member, or if you currently are in a different active marriage, you won't be able to walk down the aisle.

What's considered a common law marriage in Michigan?

Michigan does not recognize common law marriages. That means that if you're interested in tying the knot, you first have to get a marriage license. You also must have your wedding solemnized by an authorized officiant who is either a judge, mayor, clerk, cleric or a religious society. There must be at least two adult witnesses present at your ceremony to sign off on the marriage certificate.

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Michigan Marriage License 101

You're well on your way to getting hitched, but be sure to pay close attention to how to get a Michigan marriage license if you want to ensure everything goes as planned.

For those looking to get married in Michigan, state residents must apply for their marriage license in the county where they reside, while out-of-towners can apply for their marriage license in the county where they will hold their wedding.

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

Interested parties must apply with a certified copy of their birth certificate, a valid driver's license, state ID, or passport, or in some cases, two of the four, depending on your county. For international residents, all of your documents must be originals either in English or with a certified and notarized English translation.

The marriage license application is in the form of an affidavit, and will not take more than a few minutes to fill out. Applications will need to include info like your full name, birth records, gender, number of previous marriages, and current address.

What does a Michigan marriage license cost?

If you or your partner are a Michigan resident, the application will cost $20, but if both of you are out-of-staters, it will cost $30.

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

While marriage licenses are not issued for three days after the time of application, in special cases you can request a waiver from the district court in order to hold your marriage ceremony earlier. Licenses are valid for 33 days after you submit your application, so make sure your wedding date is within a month or you'll have to apply all over again. If you're picking up your marriage license in person, you may be requested to bring the birth certificates and social security numbers for both intended spouses.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Michigan?

Depending on the county you are applying to, you can either fill out the application entirely online or you might be required to show up in person, so make sure to check out your local county's rules before you move forward with your application.

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

After you've tied the knot, mail your completed marriage license to the county within 10 days of your ceremony, and wait 10 more days before purchasing your certified copy from the same location for an additional fee. If you submit your completed license in person, you can pick up a certified copy that same day.

How to Plan a Michigan Wedding

Now that you know all the ins and outs of making your wedding legal, it's time to focus on making your wedding fun! Michigan is home to some amazing venues and vendors, and no matter your style you can find the perfect place to host your dream day.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Michigan Wedding

The most popular cities to get hitched in Michigan are:

  • Detroit
  • Grand Rapids
  • Traverse City

Detroit features both unique architecture and a big-city atmosphere. But, for those who are more interested in getting in touch with nature, Grand Rapids has some of the best outdoor venues, gorgeous river views and a thriving art scene. Traverse City, home to the week-long cherry festival, offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, with stunning lakeshore backdrops and a Midwestern feel.

What to Look For in a Michigan Wedding Venue

Whatever the theme you hope to go with, you'll have no trouble finding the perfect location in Michigan to make your dreams come to life. Whether you're planning a ballroom soiree full of glitz and glamour, or a casual barn get-together complete with a fire pit and dancing under the stars, Michigan has the perfect venue for you. Check out The Knot Marketplace to find the location of your dreams.

How to Find Michigan Wedding Vendors

When looking for the vendors for your special day, whether it be flowers, music, decor or a unique cake, Michigan vendors have got your back. If you need a little inspiration or can't seem to find the right fits for your theme, The Knot Marketplace has tons of amazing vendors right at your fingertips.

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

No matter the city you choose, keep in mind that Michigan is a "true north" state, and hosting a winter wedding will likely mean snow or a chill in the air. Although summers can be quite warm, they're perfect for attending an outdoor lakeshore wedding. Spring and fall tend to be more temperate, and perfect for both indoor and outdoor venues.

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