Marriage License Requirements
Planning a wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right wedding officiant. Your wedding officiant plays a vital role in setting the tone and creating a memorable experience for you and your guests. In Arkansas, you have a variety of options for wedding officiants, and this article will guide you through the process of finding the perfect officiant for your special day.
What is a Wedding Officiant?
A wedding officiant is an individual who performs the wedding ceremony and legally binds the couple in matrimony. They can be religious or secular, depending on your preferences. Wedding officiants play a crucial role in customizing your ceremony to reflect your beliefs, values, and personalities.
Choosing the Right Wedding Officiant
When selecting a wedding officiant, it’s essential to have a personal connection with them. Meet with potential officiants to discuss your vision for the ceremony and ensure they understand your desires and expectations.
Experience and Expertise
Look for an officiant with experience in conducting wedding ceremonies. An experienced officiant will have a good understanding of the flow of the ceremony, making it seamless and meaningful.
Discuss the ceremony style you envision, whether it’s traditional, modern, religious, or secular. A versatile officiant can accommodate various styles to create a ceremony that resonates with you and your partner.
Ensure that the officiant is authorized to perform weddings in Arkansas. They should guide you through the necessary legal requirements and assist in completing the marriage license application.
Marriage Application Requirements in Arkansas
Both parties must be 18 years or older to apply for a marriage license without parental consent. If one or both parties are under 18, parental consent is required, and a waiting period may apply.
Identification and Documentation
Both parties must present valid government-issued identification showing their correct name and date of birth. If there has been a name change due to divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree is necessary.
The application fee for a marriage license in Arkansas is $60.00. Ensure you have the correct form of payment, typically in cash.
Returning the Marriage License
After the wedding ceremony, the couple is responsible for returning the marriage license to the County Clerk’s office within 60 days from the date of issuance, whether used or unused.
Covenant Marriages in Arkansas
Couples in Arkansas have the option to choose a Covenant Marriage. This type of marriage requires the couple to declare their intent to enter into a Covenant Marriage on their application for a marriage license. Authorized counseling emphasizing the nature and responsibilities of marriage is required for Covenant Marriages.
Proxy, Cousin, and Common Law Marriages
Arkansas does not allow proxy, cousin, or common law marriages. All weddings must involve both parties present and consenting.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
There are no blood or medical tests required to get married in Arkansas. However, getting a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. You may use an online marriage name change kit for this purpose.
Parental Consent and Minimum Age Requirements
If one or both parties are under the minimum age prescribed by Arkansas law and the female is pregnant, they may seek consent from a judge to marry. Parental consent is defined as the consent of both parents, the custodial parent, or a court-appointed guardian.
Marriage Officiants in Arkansas
Justices of the Peace
Justices of the Peace in Arkansas can solemnize marriages and must complete the necessary information on the marriage license.
Ministers performing marriages in Arkansas must have their credentials recorded in any county in the state. They are responsible for completing the information required on the marriage license.
Witnesses and Expiration of Marriage License
Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriage ceremonies. The marriage license is valid for 60 days and can be used anywhere in the state.
Your wedding ceremony is a significant moment in your life, and choosing the right wedding officiant can make it truly special. Consider your preferences, legal requirements, and ceremony style when selecting an officiant. With a skilled and understanding officiant, your wedding day will be a cherished memory for years to come.
1. Can we choose a friend or family member to be our wedding officiant?
Absolutely! If your friend or family member is legally authorized to perform weddings in Arkansas, they can officiate your ceremony.
2. Do we need to have witnesses at our wedding ceremony?
No, Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriage ceremonies.
3. How far in advance should we book our wedding officiant?
It’s best to book your wedding officiant as early as possible, especially if they are in high demand. Aim for at least several months in advance.
4. Can we have a non-religious or interfaith ceremony?
Yes, you can have a non-religious or interfaith ceremony. Work with your officiant to tailor the ceremony to your preferences.
5. What happens if we lose our marriage license?
If you lose your marriage license, you’ll need to contact the County Clerk’s office where you applied for a replacement copy.