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A Simple Guide to Getting Your Washington State Marriage License

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washington state marriage license

So you’ve gotten engaged, you’ve dreamed about your perfect elopement location in Washington, and you’ve done all the fun stuff. Then you realize you have to actually go through the legal process of getting married + getting your license, and the stress hitssss ya. Don’t worry, friend – I’ve got you covered here!! I know how daunting it can be to actually go through the legal shiz when you’re planning your wedding, which is why I wrote this simple guide to getting your Washington state marriage license.

Throughout this blog post I’ll give you all the inside scoop you need to know, from how many witnesses you need to get married in Washington to how long your Washington marriage license is valid to how to actually obtain your license. Get ready to finally feel confident in your knowledge about Washington’s marriage laws + to nail down all the legal stuff so you can enjoy the rest of the planning process!!

washington state marriage license

Washington State Marriage Laws

Let’s start off with the basics of Washington’s marriage laws through some simple Q&A’s.

Can you get married in Washington if you don’t live there?

Yes! You do not have to be a Washington resident to get married in Washington. All are welcome!! The same goes for the county you get your marriage license from – you don’t have to be a resident of that county to obtain your license.

washington state marriage license

What do you need to marry someone in Washington state?

To become an officiant and be able to marry a couple in Washington state, you’ll need to get legally ordained, which is super easy nowadays through online sites like the Universal Life Church.

And fun fact about hiring me as your photographer – I’m ordained!! Which means I can marry you two and you won’t have to worry about hiring a separate officiant, plus your ceremony will be simpler + involve less people (which is great for elopement locations on public lands that have capacity restrictions). Win-win!

How many witnesses do you need to get married in Washington?

You’ll need 2 witnesses over the age of 12 to get married in Washington state. As your photographer, I’m more than happy to be one of these witnesses for you! 😉 

Bonus tip: don’t forget to bring a pen for you + your witnesses + your officiant to actually sign your license after your ceremony.

washington state marriage license

How old do you have to be to get married in Washington?

You have to be 18 years old to get married in Washington. If you’re 17 or under, you can apply to get married, but you have to have a notarized statement of consent signed + submitted by a legal guardian, or be already legally emancipated.

How much does it cost to get married in Washington?

The cost to get married in Washington varies by county, so you’ll have to contact your county auditor’s office to get a specific licensing cost.

For example, a marriage license in King County has a $69 application fee, a marriage license in Snohomish County costs $70, and San Juan County has a $62 application fee.

washington state marriage license

Is there a waiting period for Washington marriage licenses?

Yep, there’s a 3-day waiting period for a Washington marriage license, meaning you have to wait 3 days after getting your license before you can legally have your ceremony + use the license.

How long is a Washington marriage license valid? 

A Washington marriage license is valid for 60 days from the day that your 3-day waiting period ends! Once the 60-day mark passes, you’ll need to pay for a new license.

What county do I get my Washington marriage license from?

You can get your Washington marriage license from any county in the state. So you don’t have to get married in the county where you get your license from – e.g. if you get your license from Snohomish County, you can still get married in King County or any other county of your choosing!

washington state marriage license

How do you get a Washington state marriage license?

Skip to the next section for a full step-by-step guide to getting your Washington marriage license 😉

To summarize Washington’s marriage licensing laws:

  • WA residency required? No 
  • Officiant laws: Must be a regularly licensed or ordained minister
  • Documents required: Government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
  • Blood test required? No
  • Witnesses required: At least 2, both over 12 years of age
  • Minimum age requirement: 18
  • Marriage license cost: Varies by county
  • Waiting period: 3 days
  • Valid for: 60 days
washington marriage laws

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Washington Marriage License

Now that you know all the requirements for getting married in Washington state, here’s how to actually go about obtaining your Washington marriage license! The exact process can vary slightly by county, but these general steps should apply to most counties.

1. Look up the county you’ll be applying in

Before you do anything else, you’ll want to decide which county you’ll be applying in, and find out the process + regulations.

You can choose to obtain your license from the county you’re eloping/getting married in – which may be the way to go if you’re traveling in from out of state for your wedding – or the county that you live in, if you’re a resident of WA.

Click here for a full list of every county auditor’s office in WA, and then follow the link of the county you want to apply in to find out all the deets.

washington marriage laws

2. Apply for your license, online or in person

Depending on the county you apply in, you may be able to apply for your license online, and then submit it in person with ID (proof of identity + age) – for most counties, no appointment is required for this. If the in-person office is closed due to COVID or other circumstances, you’ll have to get your application notarized before you mail it in.

washington marriage laws

3. Pay, then wait to receive your license in the mail

Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll get instructions from the county on how to pay your application fee (typically via debit/credit card).

Then, wait to receive your marriage license in the mail, or to be notified that it’s ready to be picked up at the auditor’s office – again, depending on the county!

4. Have your officiant return the completed license after your ceremony

Your officiant will have 30 days to return the completed license to the county office once your ceremony is over, so make sure they know where to take it or mail it in as soon as possible after your wedding!

washington state marriage laws

Getting Your Washington Wedding Permits

Another super important aspect of legally getting married in Washington state is getting the correct permits for the location your ceremony will be at. If you’re getting married on public land such as a national or state park, there are certain rules + regulations put in place to help keep the land protected + beautiful for future visitors!

I’ve included links below so you can get all the deets about wedding permits in Washington depending on if you’re eloping in a national or state park.

washington state marriage laws

Washington National Park Wedding Permits

To get married in a Washington National Park, you’ll need a park-specific Special Use Permit. Below are links to each National Park’s permitting process info!

Mount Rainier National Park Wedding Permit

Pause real quick & head over to my Ultimate Guide to Having a Mount Rainier Elopement, where I lay out the permit process in detail!

Olympic National Park Wedding Permit

Want help deciding where to elope in this gorgeous park? Check out my Guide to the Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park!

North Cascades National Park Wedding Permit

Looking to elope in one of Washington’s 3 stunning National Parks? Here’s a full Washington  National Park Elopement Guide, full of my fav locations, detailed permit info, & more!

washington state marriage laws

Washington State Park Wedding Permits

To get married in a Washington state park, you’ll need a Special Use Permit.

List of Washington County Auditor’s Offices

Full Guide to Washington County Auditor’s Office Licensing Requirements

washington state marriage laws

Washington Elopement Guides & Resources

Now that you’re a total pro at all things Washington-marriage-laws-and-licenses, it’s time to get to planning the more fun parts of your big day!! Head to some of my all-time fav blog posts below filled with planning tips + guidance and inspiration for your Washington elopement or wedding.

washington state marriage laws

5 Best Airbnbs in Washington State for Airbnb Elopements

10 of the Best Hiking Trails in Washington State for Hiking Elopements

The 7 Best Places to Elope in Washington State

How to Have a Leave No Trace Elopement | The 7 LNT Principles

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