Thanks to the pandemic, many people have put their wedding plans on hold. Even when restrictions are lifted, there are complex and lengthy waiting lists due to locations dealing with backlogs. So why not tie the knot online?
There are many sites online where you can get married, or at least where you have promised that you can legally get married. We searched for the best services to legally conduct marriage online in the US and some parts of the world. If you’ve heard of the so-called “zoom wedding” held using video conferencing technology and want to know where to start, read on for all the details.
Difference between legal marriage and ritual marriage
There is a big difference between legal and ceremonial marriage. Simply going through a marriage ceremony according to your culture or religion does not have any legal force. You need a marriage certificate from a competent authority in order for your marriage to be recognized by the state.
In the US, you need to conduct a wedding ceremony with a wedding coordinator to complete the legal marriage process. However, the ceremony itself isn’t anything specific. As long as the person officially witnesses and signs the license before sending it to the government secretary to have the marriage recorded and the marriage certificate issued.
Who can get married?
Before the question of getting married through a virtual wedding, a more important question is the minimum requirements to get married, regardless of whether the marriage took place online or not. In the United States, you must be 18 years old to get married without adult permission. However, there are exceptions in some states, such as Nebraska (19), Mississippi (21) and Puerto Rico (21).
If one or both of the people wishing to marry are under the legal age of consent in the state where services are provided, they will need the permission of a parent or legal guardian. In addition, you will have to provide certified copies of your identification documents. This can be an identification card, birth certificate or driver’s license. Be sure to check applicable state marriage laws for any other restrictions on who can legally marry.
Is online marriage legal in your state?
Assume you are a resident or citizen of the United States. In that case, the local state laws governing marriage are of paramount importance if you want your marriage to be legally recognized. In addition, the marriage officer must have the legal authority to conduct the wedding, and the remote marriage must be legal where you live.
One potential problem is that in many states where remote online marriage is legal, this has happened through an executive order by the governor of that state allowing Limit social contact. In other words, it is not a law passed by the state legislature. This means that the next governor can reverse the order. In many cases, these executive orders are time-bound and need to be extended at the discretion of the government.
The best strategy is to contact the county clerk’s office or the city clerk’s office and confirm if you can register your marriage online. This is complicated if the couple is in different states when they want to get married. It can also be a problem if the operator is outside the state lines.
Online weddings for immigration purposes
Let’s say you’re looking to get married for immigration purposes. In that case, we strongly recommend that you clarify this with the relevant immigration office first. The wedding services listed here are generally aimed at US residents in the United States who want to get married.
However, your situation may be more complicated and you especially want to get married so that you can accompany your spouse to their country of residence. In that case, we strong recommend getting professional legal advice from an immigration attorney.
Some websites, such as Proxymarriage.com, using a special method of legal marriage known as “authorized” marriage. This is where a person represents someone at a wedding and signs the marriage certificate on their behalf. It is also possible to perform a double proxy ceremony, where none of the soon-to-be-married is actually required to be present at the ceremony.
This is usually for people in prison, the military, or other situations where they can’t be at the wedding. However, the wedding must be done legally. Therefore, we have restricted the listing of websites that offer authorized matrimonial services. In general, they are not intended to help fulfill the virtual marriage service that people are looking for.
A small disclaimer
The websites we listed below appear to be legitimate places to get married online. Of course, we didn’t get ourselves married on these sites to test that. Ultimately, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that whatever service you choose has the legal authority to marry you.
That includes getting third-party confirmation from marriage licensing agencies in your area before paying anything to the third party. As mentioned above, the situation is time sensitive and is subject to change as you read this section. For example, all New Yorkers (statewide, not just New York City) have received temporary permission to hold weddings online. However, that ends on June 25, 2021.
The word “Elope” means to run away and marry in secret without permission, which makes it an odd term to use if you are selling weddings online, but the rest of the translation This case was so well thought out that it created it.
Simply Eloped defines an “escape” as a wedding with 20 or fewer guests. They guide clients through the entire online wedding planning process from start to finish.
That includes everything that goes on during the actual ceremony, such as hair, makeup, flowers, videos, photos, and everything you have to do with wedding planning. Except that Simply Eloped refuses to call herself a wedding planner.
As for the legal side of the process, the company takes a personalized approach to marriage licenses. The site provides advice for individual couples based on the state in which they reside.
WebWed is a name that has popped up several times in our online search for legal online matrimonial services. Unfortunately, WebWed doesn’t make the best first impression with a pop-up begging the US government to deny all online weddings not conducted by WebWed. But based on the many third party reviews we have read, people are getting married legally and successfully.
The company claims that all of their licenses are issued by US courts and that they also cater to international couples. WebWed works with states that do not require residency. While this is not stated anywhere on the WebWed website, third-party sources speculate that Utah may be one of these states because that state has implemented fully digital marriage application and released since 2019. WebWed also offers Apostille licenses to international couples who need their marriage recognized outside of the United States.
If you don’t need the specific additional services WebWed provides, you can go directly to the Utah government website and apply for a marriage license there. As we mentioned in the WebWed section, Utah is the only state that doesn’t require a couple to go to the clerk’s office.
Of course, this site will not provide you with any services related to your wedding ceremony, live streaming or anything else. It only deals with the legal aspect of getting married. So you still need to have an official one and adhere to the minimum requirements mentioned on the website.
This is the most cost-effective solution because you can make your ceremony as cheap and simple as you like, as long as the host approves. Then, after the official files the documents remotely, and after a while, you will receive your marriage certificate without even stepping foot in a government office.
Wedfuly is not a service aimed at the legal aspect of getting married. Instead, the company sells a professional live streaming service for weddings. The Wedfuly team will help you host a high-quality, multi-angle live stream that you might want more guests to attend.
Although you will not receive a marriage license from Wedfuly, you must have one before your ceremony. Company provides step by step instructions on how to complete the marriage registration procedure. After your ceremony, the moderator must sign the permit and return it to the government secretary. Then, sometimes, you’ll get a copy in the mail.
While you’re mostly on your own when it comes to getting a license, Wedfuly’s process means you’ll be legally married. They have great resources on their blog to make sure you know what it takes to get married legally.
The company recommends applying for an Arizona marriage license at the time of writing as it is legal in all US states and Arizona allows marriage license registration online or by mail. At least for the duration of stay-at-home orders.
MarryFromHome is another big name we keep coming across when searching for legal websites to legally get married online.
MarryFromHome’s rather attractive and simple website lists a wide range of services that you can enjoy if you want, as the name suggests, to get married at home. Like WebWed, the service is open to anyone, not just US citizens. The service provides facilities for remotely hosting wedding events and after-party events.
Of course, MaryFromHome handles all the paperwork for a price to pay. You have to fill out their booking form, upload all required documents, and share a private Zoom link with up to 90 guests. The ceremony takes about 30 minutes and you have the option of having the certificate signed by the Apostille to help legalize it outside of the US.
While getting married online may not be the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamed of, it’s the right choice in many cases. It may even be more appropriate than a traditional wedding for some.
If you get a professional video streaming package to show your wedding day, you will have a wonderful high quality recording of the day you say “I do”, a recording that will last a lifetime if you back it up properly!