How to Get Legally Married in Wisconsin and Plan Your WI Wedding

We've got the lowdown on tying the knot in the Badger State.
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 02, 2021

Turns out, America's Dairyland is also a popular state for weddings. Known for its beautiful summer months, Wisconsin weddings often feature lakeside ceremonies, rustic-themed farm receptions and even chic city celebrations. We love the diverse array of wedding venues offered in this Midwestern state. Still in the midst of planning your Wisconsin wedding? Check out The Knot Marketplace for lists of Wisconsin wedding vendors for every need imaginable.

Overall, the marriage license process in Wisconsin can be a bit complicated. The state requires more paperwork than other states, and there is a waiting period to abide by. However, we've done the research so you don't have to. If you're looking to change your legal name, check out our article on how to change your name in the state of Wisconsin. In the meantime, read on to learn how to legally tie the knot in the Badger State.

How to Get Married in Wisconsin

Getting married in Wisconsin can feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, we've compiled all of the essential information in one place for you, so you can head to the County Clerk's Office feeling prepped and prepared.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Wisconsin?

There is a five-day mandatory waiting period between the application and issuance of a marriage license in the state of Wisconsin. However, note that the day of application is not included as one of the five days. If you wish to waive the five-day waiting period, you can petition the County Clerk and pay an additional fee.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Wisconsin?

You need to be 18 years of age to marry in the state of Wisconsin. However, you can get married at 16 or 17 with a consent form from a parent or legal guardian.

What's considered a common law marriage in Wisconsin?

You cannot initiate a common law marriage in Wisconsin. The state of Wisconsin does recognize common law marriages established in states that permit them.

Wisconsin Marriage License 101

There are a ton of required materials and rules when it comes to obtaining a marriage license—from waivers to marriage license fees to proof of residence, it can all get a bit confusing. But, no worries. We've broken it down for you. Read on to learn about everything you need to know about saying "I do" in Wisconsin.

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

In Wisconsin, you can apply for a marriage license no more than 30 days (or 35 days in some counties) before your marriage ceremony. Additionally, you need to know the date of the wedding, as well as the name, phone number and current address of your officiant. You and your partner will need to appear at the county clerk in person to apply for your marriage license with a non-expired photo ID, your Social Security Number (if you have one) and your certified birth certificate.

If you're a Wisconsin resident, you need to apply in your (or your partner's) county of residence and provide proof of residency with a driver's license, utility bill, lease or bank statement. If you're not a Wisconsin resident, you need to apply in the county where your wedding ceremony will be held.

Were you previously married? If so, you'll need to provide the judgment of divorce, the legal annulment or the death certificate of your former spouse. Note that in the state of Wisconsin, divorcees are not permitted to marry until six months and one day after their divorce was granted.

What does a Wisconsin marriage license Cost?

The license fee varies by county, but it is typically between $100 and $110. Luckily, most counties in the state of Wisconsin allow you pay the fee with a credit card, debit card, check or cash.

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

Due to the five-day waiting period (not including the day of application), it takes six days for your marriage license to be issued in Wisconsin. Additionally, note that you or your officiant must return the signed marriage license to the Register of Deeds office for your county within three days of your wedding ceremony.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Wisconsin?

No. You must apply in person at the County Clerk's Office.

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

To get a certified copy of your marriage license, contact the Register of Deeds office for your county.

How to Plan a Wisconsin Wedding

If you're in the midst of planning your Wisconsin wedding, we're sure you're considering a ton of different plans and details. Whether you're trying to figure out where to say "I do" or how to find a fantastic cake decorator, we've got you covered.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Wisconsin Wedding

Known for its picturesque farmland, lakes and cool cities, Wisconsin has a ton of different cities and areas to choose from. If you're planning on a more rustic vibe, check out some of the renovated farm spaces or lakefront properties up north. City-lovers should consider Madison (home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison—go Badgers!) or Milwaukee, which is situated right on the shores of Lake Michigan.

What to Look For in a Wisconsin Wedding Venue

In your search for a fantastic Wisconsin wedding venue, consider some of your non-negotiables. If you must have an all-inclusive venue (or the farthest thing from it), make sure to factor that into your decision-making process. Need some help with your selection? Head to The Knot's Marketplace to see some of our favorite Wisconsin wedding venues.

How to Find Wisconsin Wedding Vendors

Still deep in the search for Wisconsin wedding vendors? Don't worry—Wisconsin has tons of great vendors to choose from for all of your needs. From caterers to venue designers, we've compiled lists of fantastic vendors in every field at The Knot's Marketplace. We definitely recommend taking (at least) a peek at it.

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

We'll be frank—Wisconsin winters are cold. However, the payoff for those chilly winters is huge. Wisconsin summers are beautiful, warm and full of natural light. For this reason, the summer is definitely one of the more popular seasons to say "I do" in the Badger State. Pro tip: the sun sets later up north in the summer, so you'll be able to soak in tons of natural daylight on your special day.

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