How to Get Legally Married in Pennsylvania and Plan Your PA Wedding

The 411 on saying "I do" in the Keystone State.
Modern hip-hop wedding at Slate Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mecca Gamble Photography
Ellen O'Brien - The Knot Contributor.
Ellen O'Brien
Ellen O'Brien - The Knot Contributor.
Ellen O'Brien
The Knot Contributor
  • Ellen is a contributor for The Knot, where she covers everything from honeymoons to wedding showers.
  • Formerly a fellow at Washingtonian magazine, Ellen has experience covering local weddings in the DC area.
  • Ellen also contributes to wedding venue round-ups at The Knot, helping compile the best wedding venues in cities across the country.
Updated Sep 01, 2021

Located in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania is the perfect spot for a wedding. Known for its two fantastic "P" cities—Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a great state if you're looking to host an urban wedding. However, with gorgeous mountain regions, those hoping for a more rural wedding can also find a venue in the Keystone State. It really is the best of both worlds. Still in the midst of planning your big day? Head to The Knot Marketplace to find great Pennsylvania vendors and venues tailored to fit your specific vision.

Overall, the marriage license process in Pennsylvania is fairly straightforward. However, in order to make sure you're fully prepared for the application process, we've answered some of the most common questions below. Additionally, if you're planning on changing your last name, here's the scoop on how to change your name in the state of Pennsylvania.

How to Get Married in Pennsylvania

If you're getting married in Pennsylvania, we've got you covered on everything you need to know before saying "I do." However, with no common law marriages and a ban on child marriages, the legal requirements for getting married in Pennsylvania are fairly straightforward (yay!). Read on below to learn about them.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not have a waiting period between obtaining a wedding license and holding a marriage ceremony. However, there is a mandatory three-day waiting period between submitting the marriage license application and the issuance of your marriage license.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Pennsylvania?

You need to be 18 years of age in order to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.

What's considered a common law marriage in Pennsylvania?

Common law marriages were abolished in Pennsylvania in 2005. However, common law marriages established prior to 2005 are still recognized in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Marriage License 101

If you're wondering what you need before heading to (or video conferencing into) the Clerk of Orphans' Court or the Register of Wills for your marriage license, you're in luck. In this section, we cover everything from divorce decrees to photo IDs, so you and your partner can be fully prepared.

Find all the vendors you need

Discover top-rated pros for any budget, background and style.

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

Before you head to the Register of Wills or Clerk of the Orphans' Court for your Pennsylvania county to submit your marriage license application, make sure you have the proper identification. You and your partner will need to bring photo identification (such as a driver's license or passport) and your Social Security Card. Additionally, make sure you know information about your parents, such as their full names (including a mother's maiden name), addresses, occupations and birthplaces. If you've been previously married, you'll need to bring a divorce decree or copy of an annulment. If you're a widow or a widower, you don't need to provide a death certificate for your former spouse. However, you will have to provide the date of death for your former spouse.

What does a Pennsylvania marriage license cost?

The cost of a Pennsylvania marriage license varies county to county, so it's important to check on the cost for your specific county. Typically, marriage licenses in Pennsylvania cost from $50 to $80. Additionally, some counties allow the fee to be paid with a credit card, while others require cash, money orders or checks.

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

After submitting your marriage license application, you'll need to wait three days before your marriage license is issued. In most counties, you can elect to pick up your official marriage license in person or have it mailed to you. Once your license is issued, it's valid for 60 days, so be sure to plan your marriage ceremony within that time frame.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Pennsylvania?

You can fill out the marriage license application online, but you and your partner will still need to appear at the Register of Wills or Clerk of the Orphans' Court in person. Some counties also offer the option to video conference into your marriage license application appointment. Be sure to check your county's website to see if that's an option for you and your partner.

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

The process and cost for obtaining an unofficial or certified copy of your Pennsylvania marriage license varies county to county, so it's important to look up the information for your specific county. Some counties allow you to make the request online, while others require you to request it by mail or in person.

How to Plan a Pennsylvania Wedding

Stressed about planning a Pennsylvania wedding? Don't worry—we've answered some of your biggest questions. Read on to learn about which areas to consider, how to find vendors and what to look for in a wedding venue.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Pennsylvania Wedding

If you're planning a wedding in the Keystone State, you have tons of different areas and cities to choose from. For history buffs looking for an urban wedding venue, check out Philadelphia. If you're searching for a bustling city in the western part of the state, Pittsburgh is the perfect spot for your nuptials. Nestled in between these two cities are stunning mountain ranges, including the Poconos and Alleghenies, for those looking for a rural, picturesque celebration.

What to Look For in a Pennsylvania Wedding Venue

When searching for your Pennsylvania wedding venue, consider what time of year your wedding will be (an important factor for those mid-Atlantic weddings!). Pennsylvania has tons of great indoor, outdoor and indoor-outdoor venues designed to be appropriate for all seasons of the year, so you're guaranteed to find what you're looking for. Head to The Knot's Marketplace for a complete list of great Pennsylvania wedding venues.

How to Find Pennsylvania Wedding Vendors

With tons of cities and regions throughout the state, there are so many different Pennsylvania wedding vendors to choose from. Luckily, we've made your search a tiny bit easier. Check out The Knot's Marketplace for a list of Pennsylvania wedding vendors for all different purposes—from DJs to florists to cake bakers, we've got you covered.

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

In line with the rest of the Mid-Atlantic states, Pennsylvania has chilly winters and humid summers. Additionally, as a large state, the temperatures can vary a bit region by region. However, generally, May through September is a popular time for weddings. We especially love the Pennsylvania spring and fall for the gorgeous landscapes. Blossoming trees and falling colorful leaves, what could be more beautiful?

Up Next
  • spring wedding tablescape with tall silver candlesticks and low centerpieces with white flowers
    51 Seasonally Inspired Ideas for Spring Weddings