I know the idea of legally tying the knot can seem daunting, but don’t panic. Below is everything you need to know to make your Colorado marriage easy, legal, and awesome.
Who Can Get Married?
Good news: pretty much anyone can get married in Colorado. Colorado makes it easy for residents of all 50 states to join in matrimony. The state also allows non-US citizens, same sex marriages, and proxy marriages. For more information and restrictions, checkout Denver’s website.
Where Should You Get Married?
Even more good news: Colorado is gorgeous––and it offers a wide range of locations to fit the style and preference of any wedding ceremony. Whether you want a small, breathtaking mountaintop elopement or a full-sized, traditional venue, there are thousands of breathtaking locations across the state.
How Do You Do It?
It’s easier than you might have guessed. To plan your own wedding, simply:
Find a beautiful location
Again, Colorado has a ton of great options! Here’s my guide to finding the perfect spot for your wedding.
Find some rockstar wedding professionals
Technically speaking, the officiant who performs the ceremony is the only person you actually need for a wedding ceremony. But if you want to go all out, photos, food, and flowers are all great choices! For that, you’ll have to find the perfect wedding vendors.
Have the ceremony
This can be as simple as the two of you “eloping” in the park, as elaborate as a full-scale wedding, or as adventurous as exchanging vows in the back of an airplane. Here are some ideas to help you create your own perfect ceremony.
**SIGN THE LICENSE!**
Really the only thing that legally matters. After you kiss, and before you start popping champaign, you gotta make it official…
The Marriage LiCenSe
If you’re having a full wedding, there are a lot of variables.
If you’re just curious about the legal act of getting married in Colorado, it’s as easy as this: sign the marriage license.
Apply For Your License
In Colorado (and most of the United States), the marriage license is applied for and picked up at your local County Clerk’s office. If you’re getting married in Colorado, you should get your marriage license in Colorado—even if you’re not a resident. To get a marriage license in Colorado, both partners need to go into a County Clerk’s office on a weekday and fill out some paperwork. This process only takes about 20 minutes.
Colorado’s marriage license doesn’t have a waiting period.
That just means that the day you get it, is the day you can use it. Keep in mind, once you get the license, it must be signed within 35 days and filed within 63 days. (I know, it’s a random number, but I don’t make rules, I just explain them.)
The entire in person application is fast.
Expect to be walking out of the Clerk’s office, with marriage license in hand, after about 20 minutes.
Colorado doesn’t require a blood test or any other obscure documents.
All you need is a driver’s license or other acceptable form of ID from both parties.
It only costs $30.
You don’t have to do anything online before walking in.
But if you’re feeling proactive, you can fill out some paperwork or make an appointment to save yourself a bit of time.
Any county works!
A marriage license from any county in Colorado, can be used in any other county in Colorado. But it must be filed (in person or mail) in the county it was issued in.
Widowed or divorced?
You’ll need to provide some extra information when you apply. Details here.
Your officiant’s signature isn’t required.
You only need the signatures of the couple and someone with solemnizing authority (a minster or judge). Alternatively, in the state of Colorado, the couple can choose to solemnize their own marriage.
Witnesses aren’t required.
There are two witness signature lines on the marriage license. For some reason, these are optional in the state of Colorado, so feel free to leave them blank if you want to. Or if you really want Aunt Bernadette and Cousin Larry’s signatures on that document forever, go for it.
Sign Your License
Once you have your marriage license, you’ll sign it with your officiant or solemnizing party after the ceremony. Ceremony information like date, location, etc. will also need to be filled out. (The officiant is usually responsible for filling this out.)
Again, the exact process for filling out the license varies by county. If you have any questions, the government employee who issues the license is the expert—have them explain exactly what is required of the officiant and couple when it comes to filling it out.
File That Thang
Filing your marriage license is pretty straightforward; just bring it back in person or mail it in to the County Clerk who issued it. Make sure to get certified copies. These cost $1.25 each, and I recommend getting three. You’ll need this document for a number of legal actions regarding marriage and name changes, and having a couple will make life easier.
If you bring in your license in person, it gets filed immediately. Otherwise, it’ll take a few weeks if you mail it. But once you have your certified copies, you're able to start changing names, legally calling each other husband and wife, and all that good stuff.
If that isn’t reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is :)
Can I use a marriage license from a different state in Colorado?
From some states—yes. From other states—no. Only a few states (like Texas) allow you to perform your wedding ceremony in a different state, and then return to Texas to file it. Here’s your best bet: call the government office responsible for marriage license filing in your state and ask. If they say you are not allowed to do the ceremony in a different state, simply get a Colorado marriage license when you arrive.
Can my dog sign my marriage license in Colorado?
Get excited because the answer is yes! Since Colorado doesn’t require witness signatures, you can get creative. If you want your dog to sign (which would obviously be adorable), I suggest bringing an ink pad so you can stamp their paw.
Can I use my Colorado marriage license in a different state?
No. A Colorado marriage license must be signed in the state.
I’m a Colorado resident getting married in another state, what do I do?
You’ll need to apply for a marriage license in the state where you’re having the ceremony. Keep in mind that requirements vary by state, so your best bet is to Google the state’s requirements. Or, if all else fails, just give the local County Clerk a call.
What’s the quickest and easiest way to get legally married in Colorado?
You’re allowed to self-solemnize in Colorado, meaning they don’t need the signature of an officiating party. All you have to do is walk into a County Clerk’s office with photo ID, fill out some quick paperwork, and sign your names. There’s no waiting period, so you can file it right then. Quick, easy, legal. Here’s some more info on how to self-solemnize in Colorado.