Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in which to get married. The mountains, the views, there is no more romantic place to say your vows. But there is one downside: getting a marriage license can be a little tricky. Unlike other states, the process requires you to appear at a government office in person and adhere to a strict timeline to avoid penalties.
To help make getting your Colorado marriage license as easy as possible we turned to Lisa Hunter, an interspiritual minister and wedding officiant in Colorado. She presides over everything from large ceremonies to intimate elopements. She gave us tips to getting your marriage license as seamlessly as possible. Get it out of the way, and then let the fun part of the wedding begin!
Meet the Expert
Lisa Hunter is a wedding officiant and interspiritual minister in Colorado.
When and Where to Get Your Marriage License in Colorado
In Colorado, the state considers you married the day you sign your marriage license. "Getting legally married and getting ceremonially married are completely separate and unrelated events in Colorado," says Hunter. "A couple can get legally married without a ceremony or officiant." That means that if you want your wedding ceremony to be the legal date of your marriage you need to make sure you sign your marriage license that day as well.
You and your partner must appear in person at a county clerk's office within 35 days of signing your marriage license (your legal wedding date.) Again, that means if you want your ceremony to be your legal wedding date, you need to have that appointment within 35 days of your wedding.
The good news is once you appear at the county clerk's office you can sign the form that day or the next day. "Unlike many states, Colorado does not have a waiting period to sign your marriage license. You can obtain your license and sign it the very next minute," adds Hunter. "I’ve had some eloping couples get their license on the same day as their elopement and wear their wedding duds to the county clerk."
Colorado Marriage License Requirements
The first thing you and your partner need to do is complete a form. To make things easy consider downloading it online before you go to the county clerk's office.
After that, you need to visit a county clerk's office in person to show your IDs. You need an appointment for your visit and it's best to make it in advance. "The appointments can fill up," reveals Hunter. "Go to the county clerk’s online calendar at least a few months in advance to schedule your appointment." This is even more important if you are coming in from out of state and only have a few days to get it done. Again, keep in mind your appointment needs to be within 35 days of your legal marriage date (when you sign the form).
In Colorado, you can make your appointment at any county clerk's office no matter where you live or where your wedding venue is. You don't even have to be a resident of Colorado, which makes the state an ideal spot for destination weddings.
After your license has been reviewed you will be mailed your application and marriage certificate. You must sign them in the state of Colorado and then mail them back within 63 days. "Colorado also does not require that you have any witnesses to sign your marriage license," Hunter says.
Hunter always encourages her clients to call their county clerk's office to confirm the procedure. "I find that rules and guidelines can change, plus government websites can sometimes have a lag time before they are updated to reflect those changes," she shares. "Take a look at the website, but always cover your bases by calling and talking to a person, which is the best way to get you the most accurate, up-to-date information."
Bring Your Documentation
The form is pretty straightforward. You will need to write in you and your partner's birthdays and addresses. You and your partner will also need to fill out the name and birthplace of both of your parents. Here's what else to bring with you:
- Proof of Age and Identity. When appearing at the county clerk's office you will need to bring a photo ID with a date of birth like a passport or driver's license.
- Money. You also need $30 for the license, which can be paid in cash or credit.
- Proof of Divorce. If you are divorced there is additional information to fill out. "If you’ve had a divorce in the past, the Colorado marriage license application requires that you provide the date of the divorce and the county and state in which it was recorded," said Hunter. "It can sometimes take some sleuthing to find this information. It’s helpful to know this ahead of time so that when you fill out the application, you have that information readily on hand."
Make It Special
If you want to make the occasion festive consider picking up a bottle of Champagne to pop when you get home or a cake! This is an essential step to becoming an official married couple, so why not celebrate?