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How To Get Married in Texas: The Ultimate Guide

How to Get Married in Texas:

The Ultimate Guide

One thing every Texas couple getting married needs to know is how to legally get married in Texas. From understanding how to obtain your marriage license to knowing how many witnesses are required at your wedding ceremony, we have all your answers. Whatever your question on legally getting married in Texas, our How to Get Married in Texas Ultimate Guide has you covered!

Let’s start with the first step – how to get your Texas marriage license.

Obtaining a Marriage License in Texas

Step 1: Find Your Texas County Clerk Office to Apply for a Marriage License

Getting your marriage license in Texas starts with applying for your marriage license at the right Texas County Clerk Office. What county you live in will determine which office you’ll need to apply for your Texas marriage license. 

How much does it cost to get a marriage license in Texas?

The cost of a marriage license in Texas varies from county to county. The price can range from $40 – $90. In some counties, you have the option for a less expensive “informal license” or a more expensive keepsake license. 

Is a marriage license and a marriage certificate the same thing in Texas? 

In order to get married legally in Texas you are required to obtain a marriage license. In some counties, they may refer to the less formal license as a marriage certificate, but this is still a legal marriage license.

Step 2: Apply For Your Texas Marriage License

Once you’ve identified the right county clerk office and location, you’ll apply for your Texas marriage license. Larger Texas counties, such as Bexar County and Tarrant County will have multiple county clerk offices for you to obtain your marriage license.

Can I apply for my Texas marriage license online?

In most Texas counties you can apply for your marriage license online. In fact, some Texas counties such as Dallas County only take online marriage license applications.

With over 250 counties in Texas, it will depend on where you live if you can apply online for a Texas marriage license. Follow our website link to the 16 most populous Texas counties for more information on obtaining your marriage license in your county. 

Do I need to be in person to apply for my Texas marriage license?

The marriage license application process starts online in many Texas counties. In these counties, you fill out an online application then set your in person appointment. 

However in other counties, such as Harris county, you can only apply for your marriage license in person and will need to be prepared with all the proper documentation.

What if my fiance is deployed and cannot be present?

If your fiance is in the military and is unable to attend in person to get your Texas marriage license, there are special provisions. See the section on Obtaining a Marriage License in Texas for Military Couples for more details.

Reverend Rene Esparza, with Texas Wedding Ministers, holding a marriage license with a couple after their ceremony.
Officiant Amanda Collinsworth, with Texas Wedding Ministers, signing a marriage license for a couple at their wedding venue.
Reverend Tyrone D. Franklin, with Texas Wedding Ministers, during a wedding ceremony for a couple at Water's Edge in Houston.

Step 3: Attend Your Marriage License Application Appointment

Once you’ve applied for your marriage license online, the next step is to head to your county clerk office. If your county does not have an online application process, you’ll skip that step and apply in person at your appointment.

Many Texas counties require you to have an appointment in advance, where some allow for walk-ins.  

What documentation do I need to get my Texas marriage license?

To get your Texas marriage license, you’ll need to gather the right documentation. This means proving both your age and your identity.  

Thankfully, you’ll only need one document to get your marriage license in Texas to prove both your age and identity. This could be your driver’s license, passport or official birth certificate. In addition, some counties require you to bring your social security card.

Lastly, if either of you have been divorced, you’ll need your divorce decree. This is true no matter how long ago you were divorced. 

In Texas, you have to be divorced for at least 30 days to apply for a new marriage license. 

Do I need a blood test to get married in Texas? 

No, Texas does not require a blood test to get your marriage license. This applies to all Texas counties.

How long is my Texas marriage license good for? How soon can I get married after getting my marriage license? 

Once you file your application in person, pay your fee, you’re ready to get married! 

You will need to wait at least 72 hours from the time you file your marriage license application to the time your wedding ceremony takes place. 

A Texas marriage license expires 90 days after being issued. This is the same for every Texas county and is based on the date your application was filed with the county clerk.

Obtaining a Marriage License in Texas for Military Couples

If one or both of you are in the military, you likely have some specific needs regarding your marriage license application and potentially your wedding ceremony. In addition, there are several provisions that are unique to military couples.

Marriage License Application Appointment for Military

If your partner is active duty military and is deployed or cannot be present for your marriage license application appointment, you have options.

In Texas, you can use an Absent Applicant Affidavit to obtain your marriage license. Your Affidavit must be notarized, though a notary can easily be found on your military base.

You will need to obtain your Absent Applicant Affidavit from your local county, most often found online.

Marriage License Waiting Period

For military couples, the 72 hour waiting period between obtaining your marriage license and your ceremony is waived. You will be able to get legally married as soon as you have your marriage license.

Marriage by Proxy for Military Personnel in Texas

In the state of Texas, couples can legally get married by proxy if the absent person is a member of the armed forces, stationed in another country or some other military operation and is unable to attend the ceremony.

Texas Marriage Ceremony Legal Requirements

Texas law is fairly lenient when it comes to wedding ceremony requirements. There is no specific location where you have to get married. If you’ve obtained your marriage license, waited 72 hour then you can conduct your wedding ceremony.

You’ll need to start with finding the right person to officiate your wedding ceremony.

Who can conduct a wedding ceremony in Texas?

State law is fairly broad on who can conduct a wedding ceremony in Texas. The specific language in the law states a wedding ceremony in Texas can be conducted by:

  • A licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest
  • A Jewish rabbi
  • Current or retired judges
  • Someone authorized by their religious organization to conduct a wedding

Whomever conducts your wedding ceremony does not need to register with the State of Texas. 

Can a family member or friend conduct my wedding ceremony in Texas?

If your friend or family member meets any of the above requirements, they can conduct your wedding ceremony legally. This is true even if they became ordained online for the sole purpose of conducting your wedding ceremony.

But remember, just like any wedding professional, there is much to consider when choosing a friend or family member over a licensed officiant. 

How many witnesses do I need for my wedding ceremony in Texas?

In Texas, you do not need any official witnesses to legally get married.

Though most couples will have witnesses even for elopements and intimate weddings, no official witnesses are needed.

Can I get married in another state with my Texas marriage license?

Yes, you can get married in another state with your Texas marriage license. You will want to inform your officiant in advance.

Verifying Procedures with Your Texas County Clerk

Many requirements and procedures are the same from county to county with a few exceptions.

If you have any questions about obtaining your Texas marriage license or are unsure about marriage license requirements, call your county clerk. Requirements can differ slightly from county to county. When in doubt, give them a call!  

Reverend Jon Koenig with Texas Wedding Ministers standing with couple during ceremony at Ranch Austin wedding venue.
Pastor Alvaro Josue Cassio, with Texas Wedding Minister, smiling with a couple while they hold their wedding license at Ashton Gardens wedding venue.
Pastor Richard Schweinsberg, with Texas Wedding Ministers, standing with a couple during their wedding ceremony at Green Estates wedding venue.
Minister Allison Donohue, with Texas Wedding Ministers, with a couple smiling and holding their wedding license at The Bell Tower on 34th wedding venue.

Photo Credit: (in order from left to right)

Aubree Lorraine Photography – aubreelorrainephotography.com

Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Raven and Hare Photography – www.ravenandharephoto.com

Karina Danielle Photography – https://karinadanielle.com/

Carly Barton Photography – www.carlybartonphoto.com

Evoke Photo and Video – https://www.evokephotoandvideo.com/