How to Get Legally Married in New Hampshire and Plan Your NH Wedding

Head to your Town Clerk's Office and get that marriage license!
Elizabeth Berry
by Elizabeth Berry
Updated Jul 27, 2021

The Granite State may just be the place to host an amazing wedding and celebration. Home to Mount Washington, White Mountain National Forest, and Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire offers an abundance of outdoor activities in Conway, Lincoln, Manchester, Portsmouth and more. NH also offers art galleries, museums, shopping destinations, and food galore if you and your party want to take a break in between hikes and wedding planning.

Before you can plan your NH wedding at a charming inn or high-end resort near or far from the mountains, you and your significant other must obtain a New Hampshire marriage license. Couples can apply for a New Hampshire marriage certificate at any Town Clerk's Office in the state. The marriage license application is straightforward and requires minimal documentation, but you still need to look into the logistics first. To begin, check out the necessary government websites, go through the FAQs, and read on here to hear more tips and tricks to navigating the NH marriage license process.

How to Get Married in New Hampshire

Is there a waiting period to get married in New Hampshire?

The state of New Hampshire no longer requires a waiting period after the issuance of your marriage license, which means you can be married on the same day as you receive your certificate. NH marriage licenses are valid for only 90 days after the certificate is issued.

What are the legal requirements to get married in New Hampshire?

Under New Hampshire's constitution, marriage is the civil union between two people. If you are under the age of 18, contact the city clerk for more information on acquiring a marriage certificate, While NH recognizes same-sex marriage for couples older than 18 years of age, individuals who are below this age cannot acquire a valid marriage license to a significant other of the same gender.

New Hampshire does not require you to apply for a marriage license in your town or city of residence, or where you plan to have your marriage ceremony. This applies to both state residents and non-residents of NH. After you receive a marriage license, you will be able to marry in any town or city in the state of New Hampshire.

What's considered a common law marriage in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire does not recognize a common law marriage as a legal union.

Who can marry you in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire requires an approved officiant to perform the marriage ceremony. An officiant can be a member of the clergy, Justice of the Peace, or an individual certified to perform the ceremony.

New Hampshire Marriage License 101

What Do You Need to Get a Marriage License in New Hampshire?

Both parties must bring the necessary legal documents to the Town Clerk's Office. If neither of you or your S.O. has been in a previous marriage, you will only need a document to prove your identity and age, such as a valid driver's license, non-drivers ID, or a passport. If either of you has been been in a previous marriage, you will need to bring a certified copy that proves the marriage ended. This document can be a death certificate if the spouse passed away, or a final divorce or annulment decree.
While the proof of age and identity document may be the only item you will need on hand, you and your S.O. should be prepared to provide the following information during the application process:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • State of Birth
  • Current Address
  • Social Security Number (if available)
  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Years of Education
  • Fathers' full name and state of birth
  • Mothers' full maiden name and state of birth

What Does a New Hampshire Marriage License Cost?

In addition to a photo identification and divorce or annulment decree (if applicable), a $50 license fee is also required to obtain a marriage certificate in the state of New Hampshire. The fee is set by the RSA 457. You can pay the fee in cash or by debit and/or credit card; you cannot pay by check.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage License in New Hampshire?

It will take about thirty minutes to complete the marriage certificate process, so make sure you double-check the hours at the clerk's office.

Can You Apply for a Marriage License Online in New Hampshire?

As mentioned, both parties must be present at the Town Clerk's Office to receive a marriage certificate, unless you and/or your S.O. are in the military and cannot return to the state before the marriage ceremony. If this is the case, contact the City Clerk's Office for more information.

How Do You Get a Copy of Your New Hampshire Marriage License?

After the issuance of your marriage license and your officiated marriage ceremony, you and your partner can order a certified copy of your certificate from the clerk's office. The first copy costs $15 and all additional certified copies are $10.

How to Change Your Name in New Hampshire

You will be able to indicate your preferred name on your marriage license, but if this step does not happen you can petition for an NH name change. The name change process may involve a court order and/or visiting a Society Security Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

How to Plan a New Hampshire Wedding

You have gone through the marriage license application process and come out on the other side! Now it's time to plan the marriage ceremony and wedding reception!

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a New Hampshire Wedding

While NH has just under 20 miles of coastline, referred to as the Atlantic shoreline, a seaside wedding is still possible. If this is your vibe, consider planning your wedding in Hampton, a pretty coastal town with popular beaches. But again, be wary of the tourist season!

If lakes are of more interest, New Hampshire is certainly the state for you. In fact, the Lakes Region of NH is considered a jewel of New England. Within the town of Moultonborough, you can visit Lake Winnepesaukee, Squam Lake, and Lake Kanasatka and find venues in nearby towns.

New Hampshire also has over 90 state parks which can be a venue destination or a daytime activity for your guests. But if you are opting for a city-like wedding, consider Portsmouth, Manchester, or Nashua, as these popular hubs will not disappoint.

What to Look for in a New Hampshire Venue

The state of New Hampshire has luxurious hotels and resorts available to choose from, as well as romantic New England-style inns and rustic barns. If you are looking for a venue somewhere in between these two, waterfront hotels in major cities have ballrooms and grand halls to satisfy every party size.

How to Find New Hampshire Wedding Vendors

While some venues may provide certain amenities, like catering, you may choose to pursue additional vendors for your New Hampshire wedding, especially caterers.

Okay, so yes New Hampshire is in New England and therefore privy to its seafood fare, but when it comes down to it: NH is all about comfort food. That's right, sweet maple syrup, cider (spiked for those 21+), and delectable pumpkin pies are in your future if your dream is an NH wedding. Out with the old, in with the new: which in this case is cake and pie respectively.

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

The state of New Hampshire is known for its fall foliage which makes fall weddings super popular. Whether you are admiring the changing leaves on your drive to the wedding venue, or incorporate fall colors via an outdoor wedding, embracing a New England fall may be the way to go for a New Hampshire wedding. This is not to say, of course, that early summer and late spring aren't popular times to be married in New Hampshire, as well.

There are not too many hurdles to jump over while obtaining your NH marriage license. Not to mention, the reward is a delicious slice of homemade pie.

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