MONTPELIER — Restrictions on travel and gatherings forced many couples to put their weddings on hold in 2020, making way for a possible surge in unions of marriage this year.
If you are one of those couples, or were planning to tie the knot in 2021 all along, there’s one detail that’s not as fun as the cake, music, or flowers but is vastly important in a different way: getting the license beforehand to make it a legal marriage.
Each state has its own laws and restrictions pertaining to marriage and licenses. For example, licenses in Vermont are good for 60 days while couples who want to be wed by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas can get a license in Nevada that’s good for one year.
In Vermont, you need to purchase a license from a municipal clerk’s office. Marriage licenses in Vermont cost $60.
If both parties are Vermonters, the couple can go to the clerk from either town or city in which they live. If only one party is a Vermont resident, however, the couple will need to get the license from the town or city clerk where that person is from. Couples who do not live in Vermont but wish to get married in the Green Mountain State can purchase their license from anywhere within its borders.
Couples can get an application form to fill out by visiting the respective clerk’s office or by printing it off of the Vermont Department of Health website. Aside from basic personal information, which can mostly be proved to the clerk with a copy of a birth certificate, the application asks for the names, including maiden names for mothers, and places of birth for the parents of each party.
While both parties need to sign it, only one member of the couple needs to sign the application in the presence of the clerk after the clerk confirms that the information provided does not indicate that either party is prohibited from marrying in Vermont. A marriage license cannot be issued through the mail.
Once the license is signed, the couple has 60 days for the wedding ceremony to be conducted. The license needs to be delivered to the person officiating the ceremony beforehand, and that officiant — after the ceremony — then fills out the sections that record their information and signature and the date and place of the wedding. At that point, the license becomes a marriage certificate.
The officiant must return the certificate to the town clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days after the wedding so that the marriage can be officially registered. If the officiant has registered with the Secretary of State as a temporary officiant, a copy of the certificate of authorization issued by the Secretary of State should be attached to the signed certificate and returned to the clerk’s office as well.
Other Info to Know
- There is no waiting period for a marriage license in Vermont.
- At the time you buy your marriage license, you can arrange with the town clerk to mail you a certified copy of your certificate as soon as your marriage has been recorded for a cost of $10.
- You do not need a blood test to get married in Vermont.
- You cannot be married by proxy in Vermont.