It is getting to crunch time for a lot of our Colorado summer brides. Venues and vendors are booked, day of timelines created and (if you are working with me) all of your contracts are uploaded in google drive (the best invention EVER!). Seriously, go check google drive! Review the day of timeline – is there anything you want to update??? Several of you have asked for help with your ceremonies and want to know the legal deal with weddings in Colorado. Here goes!
How to apply for a marriage license (source) from the Denver County Clerk. If you are getting your license in a different county – BE SURE TO CONTACT THAT COUNTY FOR THEIR RULES AND REGULATIONS. For instance – getting married in Grand County? They don’t take credit cards and the closest ATM is 20 minutes away.
Both you and your intended spouse must appear in person at the marriage/civil union license counter at the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, located on the first floor of the Webb Municipal Office Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver.
For Denver, hours to obtain a marriage license are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our office is closed on municipal holidays and city budget furlough days.
- Provide the date that you are getting married
- Tell whether you are getting married in the State of Colorado (license only valid in this state)
- Tell whether you have been married before and if you are widowed or divorced and be able to provide the exact date and location of your divorce or spouse’s death. Both bride and groom must be able to provide this information
- If you are related by blood, be sure to state how you are related (sidenote – ewwwwww!)
- Provide the city and state where parents of both bride and groom were born
- Be able to answer how you are marrying. Judge? Religious? Self-solemnization
- You must have $30.00 cash, check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover) for the marriage license fee.
- You and your intended spouse each must present one of these valid forms of identification:
- U.S. state-issued driver’s license or permit
- U.S. state-issued ID
- U.S. military ID
- Passport (with certified English-language translation if non-English
Please note the name on the marriage license will appear exactly as it is on the ID you provide.
Additionally, if you have a Social Security number you are required to provide it. If the bride or groom does not have a Social Security number (they are from another country, or they are in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship)they are not required to have one to get married.
Important Note: Birth certificates, baptismal certificates and Mexican Consular IDs (Matricula Consular) are not acceptable for marriage license applications.
In addition to the above requirements, minors and those remarrying have additional requirements. See the accompanying section for information on remarriages. Requirements for minors are found on the Marriage of Minors page.
- Blood tests are not required in Colorado, and there is no waiting period.
- Applicants need not be Colorado residents.
- The marriage license is valid for 35 days.
- Be prepared to supply the place of birth (city and state) of each of your parents.
- The completed marriage certificate (and attached license) must be returned to the Clerk and Recorder for recording within 63 days after solemnization. After that date, late fees will apply.
Common Law Marriage
Colorado recognizes common law marriage as legal and binding. However, cohabitation alone does not constitute common law marriage. For more information on common law marriage, please see:
- Consumer Resource Guide, Colorado Attorney General’s website
- Vital Records, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- A common law marriage cannot be terminated except by court dissolution (divorce) or death.
Let’s face it! A lot of you are DIY’ers right down to writing and officiating your own wedding. Here is the legal information regarding who can marrying you!
Ceremonies & Officials
Once you have obtained your marriage license, your marriage must be solemnized (performing a ceremony such as a wedding), and then your marriage application and certificate must be recorded with the Clerk and Recorder.
A marriage may be solemnized by a member of a clergy recognized by a religious denomination, a judge of a court, a retired judge, a court magistrate, a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, or a Native American tribal official. Colorado law does not allow a friend or relative to solemnize a marriage (sign the certificate as officiant) unless they are qualified as a wedding officiant. Alternatively, you and your intended spouse may solemnize your own marriage (see below for more detail on self solemnization). Clergy from out of state do not need to be registered in Colorado to perform a wedding.
The solemnizing official will complete your marriage certificate, attesting that your marriage solemnization has been performed lawfully. (Note: The marriage license and marriage certificate are two distinct instruments that appear on the single form. Please do not separate them.)
Marriage By Proxy
If you or your intended spouse is unable be present at the solemnization, the absent party may authorize a third person to act as proxy. You can find a Marriage Ceremony Proxy Power of Attorney form for this purpose on our Forms page.
Colorado law allows couples to self solemnize, or perform their own marriage (C.R.S. §14-2-109(1)). To do this, a couple need only indicate such on the marriage certificate form on the third line, indicating “themselves.” The couple must both sign below where the clergy or judicial officer would otherwise sign, and then sign again as “bride” and “groom.” Neither witnesses nor officiant are required for a valid self solemnization.
You may choose to solemnize your marriage while in the building and return the certificate to the Clerk and Recorder immediately. In any event, you must return the marriage certificate for recording no later than 63 days from the date of solemnization.
Note: Couples choosing to self solemnize should be aware that only Colorado and one or two other states recognize a self-solemnized ceremony. This does not necessarily mean the marriage is not valid in other states; however, insurance companies or other entities may require a certified copy of the marriage certificate.