Marriage License Overview
Before a marriage can occur in Tennessee, a license must be obtained from the County Clerk. A marriage license may be obtained from ANY County Clerk in Tennessee and not just where the parties reside. Tennessee marriage licenses may also be issued to non-residents. A blood test is no longer required as of July 1, 1985. There is no waiting period, the marriage license is valid for thirty (30) days from issuance, and is good for ceremonies performed anywhere.
The marriage license is valid for 30 days only from date of issuance and the couple must have their ceremony during that 30 day time frame.
- If the date of the ceremony is BEFORE the issue date of the marriage license it is not valid.
- If the date of the ceremony is AFTER the 30 day expiration date of the marriage license it is not valid.
- The completed marriage license with the ceremony date and location, along with the name, address and signature of the officiant who performed the ceremony must be returned to the County Clerk office that issued the marriage license in order to be filed and recorded with Tennessee Vital Records.
- The completed marriage license must be received within 3 business days after the ceremony date or if mailed have a POSTMARK DATE no later than the 3rd business day after the ceremony.
- If the Marriage License is not used with 30 days, it is voided and a new license must be issued and the full fee paid again.
A Tennessee marriage license may be used outside of Tennessee should the couple wish to have a ceremony elsewhere such as a beach or cruise wedding.
- The officiant signed and completed marriage license must still be returned within the 3 business day timeframe as noted above even when the ceremony is held outside of Tennessee.
Requirements for a Marriage License in Tennessee:
- Proof of date of birth and name by presenting a Driver License or Government Issued Photo ID License for both parties.
- Social Security Number for individuals that have been issued one by presenting the Social Security Card, W-2 form or other acceptable proof.
- Both parties must appear together. If either individual is incarcerated at the time, or has a disability which prevents the person from appearing in person, contact our office for additional requirements.
- Both parties must be 18 years of age. If either party is under the age of 18 you must contact our office for additional requirements:
- No marriage license can be issued to anyone under 17 years old. No exceptions.
- If one applicant is between the ages of 17 and 18, the other applicant cannot be more than four years (48 months) older. No exceptions.
- If an applicant is between the ages of 17 and 18, and the other applicant is not more than four years older, the county clerk may issue the license IF the minor applicant’s parents, guardian, next of kin, or other person(s) or entity having legal custody of the minor applicant personally appears and joins in on the application OR submit a sworn and notarized affidavit.
- Consent is not required if the minor applicant has been emancipated. A minor may be emancipated by court order, or by previous marriage (see T.C.A. § 36-3-106, as amended). (Must bring court documents at time of application for license)
- The provisions allowing judges to waive the age restrictions have been repealed. Underage marriages can no longer be authorized by court order.
- The fee is $102 in Roane County. Applicants who have completed a premarital counseling course within a year prior to the date of applying for the license are exempted from paying $60.00 of this fee.
- Applicants must present a NOTARIZED Certificate of Completion signed by the course provider. This document must be presented to our office at the time of payment and receipt of your license in order to receive the reduced fee of $42.
- Certified Marriage Certificate is NOT automatically mailed.
- The above fees for the marriage license includes issuance of the official, certified Marriage Certificate after the officiant completed and signed marriage license is returned and recorded at the Clerk’s Office.
- Only upon return of the officiant signed marriage license documents will the clerk provide the couple with their Certified Marriage Certificate. The couple can pick-up their certificate at the County Clerk’s office; the certificate will not be mailed.
- The person returning the completed marriage license may pick up the Certified Marriage Certificate at the same time if desired.
- Upon request the Clerk’s Office can mail the Certified Marriage Certificate if the couple wishes. We don’t routinely mail them because they have a tendency to get bent or damaged in shipping.
- Newly married couples should present the Certified Marriage Certificate as proof of their marriage for legal documents, name changes, etc.
- After the initial issuance of the original Certified Marriage Certificate(s) additional copies may be purchased for a fee of $7 if needed.
Additional Marriage License Information
Applicant and Family Background
When filling out the marriage license application the Clerk will ask for certain genealogical, educational and personal information from both parties so you should be able to provide the following:
- Parents’ full names (including maiden name of mother).
- Parents’ state of birth.
- Name and address for a relative you want listed as your next of kin.
- Applicant’s educational background.
- Applicant’s number of prior marriages.
- Date last marriage ended (if applicable) and whether it was by death or divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who Can Provide Premarital Marriage Counseling?
To qualify for the $60 fee reduction by attending a premarital counseling course, applicants must submit a notarized certificate of completion from the course provider confirming the couple attended the course together, or separately and within one year of the date of application. This is the only form that can be accepted as proof of counseling and the form must be notarized.
The new law gives minimal guidance as to the content of the course. It states that the course may include :
(1) Conflict management
(2) Communication skills.
(3) Financial responsibilities.
(4) Children and parenting responsibilities.
(5) Data compiled from available information relating to problems reported by married couples that seek marital or individual counseling.
The certification of completion form was developed by the administrative office of the courts and defines the qualifications of persons who are eligible to conduct the four (4) hours of premarital preparation training. Individuals who can provide the approved premarital preparation course are:
- Licensed Marital and Family Therapist
- Professional Counselor
- Official representative of a religious institution
- Clinical Social Worker
- Clinical Pastoral Therapist
- Psychological Examiner
- Any other instructor approved for the judicial district
Who Can Solemnize a Marriage?
Tennessee laws authorize the rite of matrimony to be solemnized by any of the persons listed in T.C.A. ‘ 36-3-301:
- All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls.
- Current and former members of county legislative bodies.
- County mayors/executives and former county mayors/executives.
- Current county trustees.
- Current and former judges and chancellors of this state.
- Current and former judges of civil sessions courts.
- The governor.
- The county clerk of each county (IF the Clerk’s Office chooses to perform ceremonies)
- Civil ceremonies are NOT performed at the Roane County Clerk’s Office at this time.
- Current and former speakers of the Senate and speakers of the House of Representatives.
- Mayors of municipalities.
- Members of municipal legislative bodies
- Members of the General Assembly who have filed notice of intention to solemnize the rite of matrimony with the Office of Vital Records.
- Law enforcement chaplains duly appointed by the heads of authorized state and local law enforcement agencies.
- Military chaplains officially appointed by their respective commanding officer.
- Current Notary Publics with an unexpired Notary Certification.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Public Chapter No. 415, effective July 1, 2019, prohibits persons who received online ordinations from solemnizing the rite of matrimony for Tennessee marriages.
In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony a minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization, and such customs must provide for ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate and responsible act. T.C.A. ‘ 36-3-301(a)(2).
- The county clerk, however, has neither the authority nor the duty to examine the qualifications of persons seeking to solemnize the rite of matrimony. Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. 97-139 (10/9/97).
- The county clerk cannot require proof that an officiant is, in fact, a minister or other authorized person. Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. 87-151 (9/17/87).
How can I get Certified Copies of My Marriage License?
Marriage certificates are public record so anyone with the required information can pay to obtain a certified copy of a marriage certificate filed in the local County Clerk’s Office. You must know the date of marriage, the bride and groom’s name and they must have gotten their license issued in Roane County for us to access the record
In Person: Certified copies are $7 each and can be printed and certified by any of the Deputy Clerk’s at the Courthouse location in Kingston ONLY.
By Mail: You must send a written request including the date of marriage and the bride and grooms names, along with the return address where you want the certified copy mailed. The certified copy is $7 and a postage fee of $2 will make the total fee required $9. Mail the request to the following address:
Roane County Clerk
200 E Race St, Suite 2
Kingston, TN 37763
How can I research or get a copy of a family member’s marriage license?
If the family member obtained their marriage license in Roane County you may be able to get a copy from our office back to approximately the Year 1801. Records older than this may or may not be available at the Roane County Heritage Center in the Old Courthouse.
For licenses not issued by Roane County you may contact Tennessee Vital Records at 615-741-1763.