How to Legally Get Married in Florida

Getting married in Florida offers a blend of beautiful scenery, warm weather, and straightforward legal requirements. Whether you’re a resident or planning a destination wedding, understanding the legal steps to marriage in Florida is crucial. This guide on how to legally get married in Florida, will walk you through the process, from obtaining a marriage license to understanding the waiting period and witness requirements. To make sure your elopement day goes smoothly and that you end the dat officially married!

Bride and groom standing by a Spring in Florida reading their vows to each other.

1. Understanding Florida’s Marriage License Requirements

Before you can tie the knot in Florida, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. Here are the key steps and requirements:

Age and Identification

  • Age Requirement: Both parties must be at least 18 years old.
  • Identification: Both parties must present a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card. It’s also a good idea to bring your Social Security number, although the physical card is not necessary.

Previous Marriages

  • Divorce Documentation: If either party has been previously married, the date of divorce or death of the former spouse must be provided. No official documentation is required unless the divorce occurred within the last 30 days.

2. Applying for a Marriage License: How to Legally Get Married in Florida

Where to Apply

  • County Clerk’s Office: Marriage licenses are issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each county. Both parties must appear in person to apply.
  • Online Application: Some counties offer online applications. You can fill out the form in advance, but both parties still need to appear in person to complete the process.

Application Process

  • Fees: The cost of a marriage license varies by county but is generally around $93.50. Florida residents who have completed a premarital preparation course can receive a discount, reducing the fee to approximately $61.
  • Premarital Preparation Course: Florida encourages couples to take a premarital preparation course. Completing this course not only reduces the license fee but also waives the three-day waiting period for residents. The course must be taken through a registered provider and must be at least four hours long.
Couple looking out at the water on their wedding day on a sandy beach in Florida.

3. Waiting Period and Validity

  • Waiting Period for Residents: Florida residents who do not take a premarital preparation course must wait three days before the marriage license becomes effective.
  • No Waiting Period for Non-Residents: There is no waiting period for non-Florida residents.
  • License Validity: Once issued, the marriage license is valid for 60 days. The marriage ceremony must occur within this timeframe.

4. Witnesses and Ceremony Requirements

  • Witnesses: Florida does not require witnesses to be present at the marriage ceremony, though it’s customary to have at least one or two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.
  • Officiants: A variety of individuals can officiate a wedding in Florida, including:
  • Ordained ministers and religious leaders
  • Notaries public
  • Judges
  • Clerks of the Circuit Court
  • Ceremony: The ceremony itself can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. There are no specific requirements for the ceremony’s content, allowing couples to personalize their vows and proceedings.
Bride and Groom standing by a Spanish Moss tree during their Florida elopement.

5. After the Ceremony: Recording the Marriage

After your ceremony, the officiant must return the signed marriage license to the Clerk of the Circuit Court who issued it. The Clerk’s office will then record the marriage and provide you with a certified copy, which serves as your official proof of marriage.

6. Name Change Process

If you plan to change your name after marriage, you’ll need to take several steps:

  • Social Security Card: First, update your Social Security card by submitting an application along with proof of your marriage (a certified copy of your marriage certificate) to the Social Security Administration.
  • Driver’s License: Next, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to update your driver’s license. Bring your new Social Security card, certified marriage certificate, and current driver’s license.
  • Other Documents: Remember to update your name on all other important documents and accounts, such as your passport, bank accounts, and insurance policies.

7. Additional Tips and Considerations

Marriage License Expiration

  • Timeframe: Your marriage license must be used within 60 days of issuance. Plan your wedding date accordingly to avoid any complications.

Out-of-State Marriages

  • Recognition: Florida recognizes marriages performed out of state and in other countries, provided they were legally conducted according to the laws of that jurisdiction.

Same-Sex Marriage

  • Legal Recognition: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida since January 6, 2015! Same-sex couples follow the same procedures and requirements as opposite-sex couples.
Portraits of a bride and groom on a wooden boardwalk in a tropical Florida garden.

8. Unique Florida Wedding Venues

Once you have your legal requirements sorted, consider some of Florida’s unique wedding venues to make your day even more special:

  • Beach Weddings: Florida’s coastlines offer stunning backdrops for beach weddings. Popular locations include Clearwater Beach, Miami Beach, and the Florida Keys.
  • Gardens and Parks: Consider botanical gardens like Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami or Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales for a lush, green setting.
  • Historic Sites: Historic venues such as Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami or the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine offer charming and picturesque settings.


Getting married in Florida is a relatively simple process thanks to the state’s straightforward legal requirements. By understanding the steps to obtain a marriage license, the waiting periods, and the role of witnesses and officiants, you can ensure your wedding day is legit. With beautiful venues and the added benefit of a warm climate, Florida is an ideal place to say “I do.”

Whether you’re planning a large celebration or a small, intimate ceremony, this guide provides all the essential information you need to navigate the legal aspects of getting married in Florida, leaving you free to focus on making your wedding day as special as your love story. I hope this guide on How to Legally Get Married in Florida was helpful!

If you’re ready to start planning your Florida elopement, send me a message! I’d love to help plan and document your stress-free and fun elopement!

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