How to Get Legally Married in Missouri and Plan Your MO Wedding

Get ready for your Show-Me State nuptials.
Emily Halonen Bratcher - The Knot Contributor.
by Emily Halonen Bratcher
Emily Halonen Bratcher - The Knot Contributor.
Emily Halonen Bratcher
The Knot Contributor
  • Emily writes a variety of articles for The Knot Worldwide.
  • Emily also writes service journalism and public interest pieces for other publications.
  • Emily holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Updated Aug 10, 2021

The Show-Me State offers an array of areas to host your Missouri wedding. From cities with cosmopolitan charm like Kansas City and St. Louis to rural retreats in Missouri's wine regions or Ozark mountains, Missouri appeals to a wide range of wedding tastes. The state's wedding venues and vendors are equally varied. To help you sift through the choices, the Knot Marketplace has you covered with thousands of wedding venues and vendors.

As you're wedding planning, don't forget to look into the legal requirements and logistics around getting a marriage license in Missouri. The State of Missouri issues marriage licenses at its Recorder of Deeds offices to couples who meet just a few requirements. Also, if you're planning on changing your name post-wedding, take some time to research the name change process.

How to Get Married in Missouri

Missouri makes it easy to tie the knot, asking couples to meet just a few requirements in addition to applying for a marriage license.

Is there a waiting period to get married in Missouri?

There is no waiting period to get married in the state of Missouri. Couples can obtain their marriage license the same day they apply for it.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Missouri?

Couples who wish to be married in the state of Missouri must be at least 18 years of age. Parties who are younger than 18 must have parental consent with an affidavit from a custodial parent or legal guardian, but those who are 15 years of age or younger must get a circuit court order. Missouri will not permit marriages between blood relations including first cousins.

The officiant must have the license prior to the marriage ceremony, and he or she must sign and return the marriage license to the Recorder of Deeds Office within 15 days of the ceremony. The license will become void 30 days after the date of issuance.

What's considered a common law marriage in Missouri?

Missouri doesn't recognize common law marriages. However, if couples in one of these arrangements move from a state that does recognize common law marriages, Missouri will consider the couple legally married per the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Missouri Marriage License 101

Getting a marriage license in Missouri is pretty easy if you know the requirements ahead of time. Be sure to note that Missouri marriage licenses are administered by the country through the Recorder of Deeds Office. Although most offices are at least open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, office hours vary by county so be sure to check the hours before stopping by.

What do you need to get a marriage license in Missouri?

To get a marriage license in Missouri, both parties will need to appear in person before the recorder of deeds or the deputy recorder at the Recorder of Deeds office to apply for a marriage license. Each party will need to show proof of age with a valid driver's license or other valid government-issued photo ID. They'll also need to supply their social security number in order to apply for the license.

What are the marriage license requirements if I've been previously married?

Applicants who were previously married and have since divorced will need to add the date of their divorce decree to their marriage license application. Divorces must be finalized at least 30 days prior to applying for a new marriage license. If an applicant's last marriage ended due to the death of a spouse, they would include that date on the application.

What does a Missouri marriage license cost?

The cost of a Missouri marriage license varies by the county in which it is issued. For example, in St. Louis County, the license fee is $48 paid with cash, while in Jackson County, the fee is $50 paid with cash, credit card or debit card.

How long does it take to get a marriage license in Missouri?

If you meet all the Missouri marriage license requirements, you'll obtain a completed license the same day you apply for it. The license is valid for ceremonies occurring in Missouri up to 30 days after issuance.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in Missouri?

Although you can start a marriage license application online, you must finish it in person before the Recorder of Deeds Office. Starting the application online can help speed up the process once you arrive.

How do you get a copy of your Missouri marriage license?

You can get copies of marriage licenses through the Recorder of Deeds' marriage license desk in the Missouri county, in which the license was obtained. You can request these online, by phone or in person for a small fee, which varies by the county.

How to Plan a Missouri Wedding

After meeting the legal requirements for tying the knot in the State of Missouri, couples can move on to planning their big day. From finding a venue to booking vendors, The Knot Marketplace provides an expansive directory of wedding resources to help ease the wedding planning process.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Missouri Wedding

The Show-Me State offers an array of cities and regions that appeal to a wide range of wedding tastes. Are you a sports fan? Maybe some of Missouri's largest cities—Kansas City and St. Louis—with their major league teams are a good fit. Those cities also offer gorgeous parks, museums and other cosmopolitan charms, not to mention proximity to international airports. If you're an oenophile, you should consider one of Missouri's wine regions. Other options include Columbia with its college town charm and the handful of scenic locales that punctuate Missouri's Ozark Mountains.

What to Look For in a Missouri Wedding Venue

Choosing your wedding venue is one of your biggest decisions, not to mention biggest expenditures. If you're looking for the biggest bang for your buck, consider a venue that will host both the ceremony and reception. If you're planning an outdoor ceremony or reception, you should also inquire about the venue's backup plan in the case of inclement weather. For large weddings, it's particularly important to consider if there is enough space for guests to spread out at the reception--and if there is enough parking and restroom facilities. Don't forget to take into account the venue's acoustics and privacy levels, in addition to other considerations. Check out The Knot Marketplace for thousands of Missouri venues that fit a variety of budgets.

How to Find Missouri Wedding Vendors

Deciding on your wedding vendors can be one of the most overwhelming parts of planning for the big day. To make your research easier, The Knot Marketplace has compiled lists of the Show Me State's best wedding vendors.

The Best Times of Year to Have a Missouri Wedding for Good Weather

Missouri boasts all four seasons, including sweltering summers and chilly winters. Booking your wedding in fall and spring's milder weather is your best bet at ensuring good weather for your big day.

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