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The U.K. Couples Guide to Eloping in the U.S.

Just last year, the average cost of a wedding in the United Kingdom was £30,355! It's no surprise that couples are heading across the pond to elope in the United States.

The process is relatively simple, but there are a couple of things you'll need to plan for before hopping on a plane and heading for The States. This guide has everything U.K. couples need to know about legally marrying in the United States.

Step 1: Choose Your Location

First things first, decide where you want to get married! There are beautiful locations all over the U.S. to choose from. We have teams set up in New York City, New Orleans, Asheville, Savannah, Gatlinburg, San Francisco, San Diego, and throughout Hawaii, Idaho, and Colorado.

We also plan elopements outside of these markets, which typically have an additional cost associated for travel.

The location of your elopement has a lot to do with the style and feel of your ceremony. If you want to capture the hustle and bustle of the city and don’t mind having an audience, you can’t go wrong with New York City or New Orleans. If you’d like to incorporate nature and capture the charm of old cities and tall trees, Gatlinburg or Savannah is your best bets. To fully immerse yourself in the outdoors, head for the mountains of Colorado or Idaho. For those that want to marry on a sunny beach with waves crashing in the background, look no further than Hawaii or San Diego.

Step 2: Choose Your Vendors

Once you’ve chosen a location, we’ll help you coordinate your team of vendors. The two most common and important vendors will be your officiant and photographer. We have several officiants and photographers located in each of our markets and can help you determine who will be the best fit for how you envision your ceremony.

We also have hair and makeup artists, florists, and musicians on our vendor teams. If you’re interested in any of these vendor services, get in touch with you to talk further!

Step 3: Apply for a Marriage License

Applying for your marriage license is probably the least fun task on the list, but definitely the most necessary! The specific documents and steps required to obtain a marriage license will depend on what city and state you will be getting married in. At a minimum, you will need your passports and to both be present while applying.

Obtaining a Marriage License in New York

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 60 days
  • You must wait 24 hours after obtaining a license to have your ceremony
  • You can begin your application online, then finish the application in person at the County Clerk’s office
  • County Clerk’s offices are open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in New York is $35.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • One witness must be present at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in Colorado

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 35 days
  • You must apply at the County Clerk’s office which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in Colorado is $30.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • Couples can solemnize themselves in Colorado, meaning you do not need an officiant or witness (we still recommend an officiant!)

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born

Obtaining a Marriage License in California

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 90 days
  • You must apply at the County Clerk’s office which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in San Francisco is $107.00 USD
  • The license fee in San Diego is $70.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • One witness must be present at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in Savannah

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and does not expire
  • You must apply at the Probate Court which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in Georgia is $56.00 - $82.00 USD, unless you undergo a premarital education counseling course which drops the fee to $16.00 - $50.00 USD
  • You must apply for your license in the same county that you will be married in
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • You do not need a witness at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in New Orleans

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 30 days
  • You must wait 72 hours after obtaining a license to have your ceremony
  • You must apply at the Clerk of Court Office which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in Louisiana is $27.50 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in Hawaii

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 30 days
  • You can apply online and finalize the application in person before a Marriage License Agent
  • The license fee in Hawaii is $65.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • You do not need a witness at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in Idaho

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and does not expire
  • You must apply at the County Recorder Office which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in Idaho is $28.00 - $31.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • You do not need a witness at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born

Obtaining a Marriage License in Gatlinburg

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 30 days
  • You must apply at the County Clerk’s Office which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in Tennessee is $93.50 - $107.50
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • You do not need a witness at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Obtaining a Marriage License in Asheville

Things to know:

  • Your marriage license is valid immediately and you must have a ceremony within 60 days
  • You must apply at the Register of Deeds which is open on weekdays only
  • The license fee in North Carolina is $60.00 USD
  • You will need to apply for an Extended Marriage Certificate for your marriage to be valid in the U.K.
  • Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony

Requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Currently unmarried
  • Government-issued passport
  • Both partners must be present to apply for a license
  • Both partners must provide their parents’ full birth name and the state or country in which they were born
  • If previously divorced, you must present an original copy of the decree absolute

Article written by marissa

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