Marriage License Requirements

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The legal requirements of getting married are important to understand well in advance of the ceremony. After all the planning you do for the big day, you do not want to screw it up with a paperwork mistake.

Plan Ahead

Before you do anything, read the “Requirements for Obtaining A Marriage License” from the State of Louisiana reprinted below. That will give you comprehensive instructions on what is necessary to properly obtain your marriage license.

Your next task will be to locate your birth certificates. If one or both of you are divorced or a previous spouse died, you will need proof of that too. You should know that some couples who do not have their original certificates or documents have encountered delays when ordering replacements from the municipal, state or foreign governments that provide them. Go online and understand the process ASAP. Louisiana will not allow you to proceed with your marriage without those crucial documents.

We strongly suggest that you also go online and print out the Application for Marriage License from the State of Louisiana Department of Health. Filling out the application in advance will save you time and confusion. The application can be found here.

Where To Apply For A Marriage License

Benson Tower, 1450 Poydras Street and the Superdome

Benson Tower, 1450 Poydras Street and the Superdome

Most of our weddings take place in the City of New Orleans, Orleans Parish. In the city, marriages licenses are issued at two locations: 

  • State of Louisiana - Orleans Parish Marriage License Office, 1450 Poydras Street, Suite 407, New Orleans, LA 70112

Telephone: (504) 593-5100

  • Second City Court of New Orleans, 225 Morgan Street, Algiers, LA 70114

Telephone: (504) 407-0435

Aside from these two New Orleans locations, marriage licenses are also issued at all Clerk of Court locations in other parishes around the state. Marriage licenses issued in all of these locations may be used anywhere in Louisiana.

Be sure to double check with the State’s website for the most up to date information and any changes in the procedures and the necessary forms. It is important to note that all applicants must bring a valid ID and a certified copy of a birth certificate. If there was a previous marriage, you must also bring a certified copy of the final divorce decree or death certificate. For the other requirements, please read the complete requirements below or on the State’s website.

Of course, all couples are welcome to marry – opposite sex and same sex – as long as they fulfill the requirements described below.

Timing is Everything

The Marriage License Office or Clerk of Courts offices will issue a Certificate of Marriage License to you if all your paperwork is in order. Be very careful with the certificate since it is required to legally register your marriage once the ceremony is complete.

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A 24-hour waiting period is required by law between the time of issuance of the license and the ceremony.

Judges of the First or Second City Courts are authorized by law to waive the waiting period for Louisiana residents and they can do this during their Monday-Friday hours of operation ONLY.

If both parties reside outside of Louisiana and the ceremony will occur in Orleans parish AND be performed by a registered Orleans officiant, that officiant can waive this waiting period.

Aside from the 24 hour waiting period, keep in mind that your license is good for 30 days from the date of issuance. So once you obtain the license, you have 30 days to have the wedding ceremony.

Outside of New Orleans

Should you want to hold your ceremony outside of the City of New Orleans, then you need to check with the parish Clerk of Court office. We can help point you in the right direction for more information.

Certificate of Marriage

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You are strongly encouraged to order a Certificate of Marriage, the certified copy of your marriage certificate, when you visit the Marriage Office or Clerk of Courts office. It is the official proof of your marriage and is required for name changes on legal documents like a driver’s license or social security account.

The Certificate of Marriage can be ordered in person or via mail, Internet, fax or telephone. Details on how to order a certified marriage certificate can be found here.

If the marriage took place in a parish outside of New Orleans, then the Certificate of Marriage is obtained from the clerk of court in the parish where you were married. A complete list of Louisiana clerks offices and their contact information is found here

During and After the Ceremony

Officiant Office - NOLA wedding cake

Some couples prefer to sign the Certificate of Marriage License after the ceremony. Others include the signing during their ceremony. In either case, the Officiant and two witnesses must sign as well. All signatures must be in black ink only. Do not use white out or scratch out anything on the document. If there was a wavier of the 24 hour waiting period, then the written waiver must be attached to the certificate.

The certificate must then be submitted to the state - the sooner the better. If one of the newlyweds turns in the license, the Certificate of Marriage can be issued immediately. If a family member or Officiant turns it in, the certificate will be mailed to the address provides at the time of application.

Complete Requirements

Below are the State of Louisiana requirements for obtaining a marriage license in Orleans Parish or the City of New Orleans.  We urge you to read the below requirements carefully.

We encourage you to give us a call if you have any questions. We would be happy to help.

REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A MARRIAGE LICENSE

ORLEANS PARISH, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

(Source: State of Louisiana, Center of State Registrar & Vital Records)

The Orleans Parish Marriage License Office is located at Benson Tower, 1450 Poydras Street, Suite 407, in downtown New Orleans. Licenses are issued between 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays). The licenses are valid in any parish in the State of Louisiana.

Orleans Parish Marriage Licenses may also be purchased at the Second City Court of New Orleans in the Historic Algiers Courthouse at 225 Morgan Street in Algiers. Licenses are issued between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays).

In order to apply for a marriage license, both parties must be present and present all required documents. If a party is absent, the application will only be accepted if their signature on the application has been separately notarized. If the absent party is a member of the US armed forces, a copy of a military ID can be accepted in lieu of a signature, but at least one party’s in-person signature is required to submit an application.

Applicants must present the following:

1.    A current driver's license, current state ID or passport.

2.     A certified copy of a birth certificate or a certified birth card for both parties. (A certified translation must be attached, if the birth certificate is not in English.) If not born in the US or a US territory, the applicant(s) must also present a valid passport or a visa with attached I-94 form.

  • If a certified birth certificate cannot be produced, a waiver must be presented in accordance with LA. R.S. 9:228

3.    Applicants must provide both Social Security numbers if born in the United States. If not born in the US or territories, the applicant(s) must present a valid passport from their country of birth or a visa with attached I-94 form.

4.    If either party has been divorced, the individual must provide a certified copy of the final divorce decree. A widow or widower must provide a certified copy the death certificate of the former spouse when they apply for a license to marry.

5.    Fees of $27.50 payable by cash, check, or money order only (non-refundable), plus $5 for each certified copy of the marriage certificate desired by the customer. CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED FOR PAYMENT.

An Application to Obtain an Orleans Parish Marriage License is available and may be completed by the parties prior to applying in person.

 24-Hour Waiting Period

  • A 24-hour waiting period is required by law between the time of issuance of the license and the ceremony.

  • Judges of the First or Second City Courts are authorized by law to waive the waiting period for Louisiana residents and they can do this during their Monday-Friday hours of operation ONLY.

  • If both parties reside outside of Louisiana and the services will occur in Orleans parish AND be performed by a registered Orleans officiant, that officiant can waive this waiting period.

The waiver must be attached to the completed marriage certificate when it is returned to Vital Records.

Marriage under the age of 18 is prohibited by law, except as follows: Applicants over the age of 16 but less than 18 must have the signed consent of both parents or an order from a Judge of Juvenile Court. Females under 16 will be issued a license ONLY upon the written order of the Juvenile Court Judge.

A marriage license expires and becomes invalid at midnight thirty (30) days after the date of issuance. If the service is postponed beyond the expiration date, you must return the expired license and purchase a new one.

You are encouraged to purchase one or more certified copies of your final Marriage Certificate when you apply for your license. Certified copies of a Marriage Certificate cost $5.00 + a $.50 mailing charge per transaction.

MARRIAGE LICENSE: $27.50

ONLY CASH, CHECK, OR MONEY ORDERS ACCEPTED (NO CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS)

ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.

Rev 8/18