How to Get Legally Married in North Dakota and Plan Your ND Wedding

Here's verything you need to know about planning your North Dakota nuptials.
outdoor wedding in Bismark, North Dakota
Ben Gumeringer Photography
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Sep 20, 2021

North Dakota may be one of the most underrated states in America. Despite its natural beauty and ample wildlife spotting opportunities, the state is among the least-visited in the entire country.

However, don't let that deter you from getting married here: North Dakota boasts absolutely stunning landscapes—including millions of acres of rolling farmland, culture-rich cities and lush national parks—making it the perfect place to say "I do."

As you plan your North Dakota wedding, you'll need to factor in a few logistical details. For example, filling out a marriage license application and retrieving your marriage certificate are two important—and often overlooked—tasks you must complete before exchanging vows. And, if you plan on changing your surname, you'll need to make sure that's taking care of, as well.

All this information can undoubtedly seem overwhelming. Fortunately, we've compiled out top tips for obtaining your marriage license and planning your North Dakota wedding.

How to Get Married in North Dakota

Staying on top of logistics and key details is crucial when it comes to planning your North Dakota wedding. Below, we're breaking down everything you need to know about getting married in North Dakota.

Is there a waiting period to get married in North Dakota?

Once you've obtained your marriage certificate, you'll be all set to say "I do!" The state of North Dakota does not require a waiting period to host a marriage ceremony.

What are the legal requirements to get married in North Dakota?

To get married in North Dakota, you and your partner must obtain a marriage license. In North Dakota, each county's Clerk of Court is responsible for the issuance of marriage licenses.

While the age requirement to get married is technically 18, the state of North Dakota will issue a marriage license to individuals who are 16 and/or 17 years of age as long as they provide written legal guardian or parental consent. The parent or legal guardian must also be present.

What's considered a common law marriage in North Dakota?

The state of North Dakota does not recognize common law marriages. According to North Dakota state law, the only way to be considered legally wed here is to obtain a marriage license.

North Dakota Marriage License 101

Applying for your North Dakota marriage license may seem overwhelming and stressful since you'll need to follow specific instructions and fill out plenty of paperwork. Read on for a full breakdown of FAQs regarding your North Dakota marriage certificate.

What do you need to get a marriage license in North Dakota?

To apply for your license, you and your partner must be present in-person. A photo ID (think: a state-issued driver's license or passport) is required; however, blood tests are not. Additionally, you'll need to provide your social security numbers.
Lastly, if you or your partner have been married before, you must bring a certified copy of the divorce decree(s).

What does a North Dakota marriage license cost?

To receive a North Dakota marriage certificate, you'll need to pay a marriage license fee of $65. (Cash, check or credit card are all accepted, depending on the county.) Payments can also be made online.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Marriage License in North Dakota?

Since North Dakota has no waiting period, the marriage certificate can be used immediately after receiving it.
However, keep in mind that the marriage license expires after 60 days. As such, you'll need to plan your wedding ceremony accordingly to ensure you are legally wed before the 60-day window runs out.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in North Dakota?

Yes, you can (very easily) apply for your North Dakota marriage license online. Click here to view the full marriage license application.

How do you get a copy of your North Dakota marriage license?

In order to get a certified copy of your North Dakota marriage license, you'll need to reach out to the county that issued it. You can do this in-person or via phone. It's worth noting that you'll incur a small fee for this (prices vary depending on the county).

How to Plan a North Dakota Wedding

North Dakota couples may feel overwhelmed at the process of planning a wedding in The Rough Rider State. To help alleviate potential stress, we've compiled some need-to-know insight—plus pro tips—below.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider For a North Dakota Wedding

North Dakota is teeming with dynamic cities and charming towns you're sure to fall in love with. (Pun-intended, of course.)
For example, Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Bismarck all serve as excellent places to celebrate your wedding day. Each offers something special—including scenic trails, wildlife spotting, culture-rich adventures and art-filled attractions— coupled with, you guessed it, beautiful scenery.

What to Look For in a North Dakota Wedding Venue

North Dakota couples can choose from hundreds of unique wedding venues, which you can easily browse on The Knot Marketplace.

Whether you prefer a rustic setting (say, the stunning 1908 House or historic Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, for example) or a large hotel ballroom (such as the one found in the Jasper Hotel ), the venue options in North Dakota are seemingly endless. Meanwhile, many cultural attractions, including the Fargo Air Museum and the Plains Art Museum, also host wedding ceremonies and receptions. Since there are so many choices, you and your spouse-to-be are sure to find a place and a space to suits your budget and your vision.

How to Find North Dakota Vendors

Since there are many wedding vendors throughout the state, you'll need to do some digging to find the best one(s) for your affair. Consider using The Knot Marketplace, which lets you research all sorts of pros—from florists to caterers and beyond—based on location, budget and more. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to vendors to ask questions, share your vision and, most importantly, inquire about pricing.

The Best Times of Year to Have a North Dakota Wedding For Good Weather

June, July and August are peak wedding season in North Dakota. During these months, the weather is warm, the days are long and the evening are balmy.

The fall and spring are a bit chillier (especially in the evenings) but you can still pleasant warm temps in the 50s and/or 60s. Winter weddings in North Dakota are less popular albeit just as beautiful, with the snow-covered prairies and fields serving as a postcard-worthy wedding photo backdrop. Just remember to dress accordingly to stay warm.

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