How to Get Legally Married in New Mexico and Plan Your NM Wedding

Get ready to tie the knot in the Land of Enchantment.
Rachel Kashdan - The Knot Contributor.
by Rachel Kashdan
Rachel Kashdan - The Knot Contributor.
Rachel Kashdan
The Knot Contributor
  • Rachel is a freelance writer and contributor to The Knot.
  • Prior to working as a freelance writer, Rachel was a staff writer at Boston magazine covering home design and weddings.
  • Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.
Updated Aug 26, 2021

Beautiful resorts surrounded by mountains and stunning ranches with rustic barn venues are just some of what New Mexico has to offer couples planning their picture-perfect wedding. On top of the gorgeous sights, in the state of New Mexico couples can also expect a straightforward, standard process for securing a marriage license and getting legally married. Once you've got an understanding of what it's actually like to get married in New Mexico (which you'll learn by reading through our handy explainer below), then head over to the Knot Marketplace to start scouting out your venue and putting together your vendor dream team. Then, if you're thinking of changing your name upon tying the knot, you might want to read up on how that process works too. Before getting ahead of yourself though, start here, with our complete guide to getting a New Mexico marriage license.

How to Get Married in New Mexico

So you've decided to get hitched in New Mexico and you couldn't be more excited. But where to begin planning? In addition to narrowing down your guest list and choosing a venue, you'll want to make sure you read up on what getting legally married in New Mexico actually entails. Start with our primer below, and then head to your County Clerk's website for additional information specific to your exact location.

Is there a waiting period to get married in New Mexico?

Good news: there is no waiting period to get married in New Mexico. Once you get your marriage license, it's valid right away and does not expire.

What are the legal requirements to get married in New Mexico?

First, you must have a license before your marriage ceremony. Other than that, when it comes to marriage license requirements, you'll need to be at least 18 years of age or receive parental consent or permission from a legal guardian if you're 16 or 17-years-old. Fifteen-year-olds can get married in New Mexico with a court order. Finally, you cannot be closely related to your partner.

What's considered a common law marriage in New Mexico?

New Mexico does not grant common law marriages. The state does, however, recognize common law marriages that were legally granted in another state.

New Mexico Marriage License 101

Applying for a marriage license in New Mexico is pretty simple, but we'd still recommend you get your paperwork, identification materials and payment information in order early so you're all set when it's time to schedule an appointment at your County Clerk's Office. Here's everything you'll need to get your license before your wedding day.

What do you need to get a marriage license in New Mexico?

Exactly what you'll need to bring with you depends on the county you'll be registering for your marriage license in, so be sure to check with your own County Clerk's Office when you get the process started. In most New Mexico counties you'll need to schedule a marriage license appointment at the County Clerk's Office to get your license (although prior to the COVID outbreak some offices allowed walk-ins). With you you should have two current forms of government ID, such as a driver's license, passport or original birth certificate, to demonstrate proof of age and identity. You'll also need to be prepared to provide your full name, address, date of birth, place of birth and Social Security Number. If you've been married before, you may be asked to also share a copy of your divorce decree or a copy of the death certificate of your former spouse, but you should check with your local county clerk's office about those requirements. Lastly, note that in New Mexico you do not need to get a blood test in order to secure a marriage license.

What does a New Mexico marriage license cost?

The marriage license fee in New Mexico costs $25 (paid by cash or credit card).

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

The process is quick and easy once you've got your marriage license application filled out. When you come in for your appointment to get your marriage license you'll leave with it the same day and it'll be active and ready to use.

Can you apply for a marriage license online in New Mexico?

This varies based on what county you're registering in. In Santa Fe County, for instance, you'll complete your entire application in person by appointment at the County Clerk's Office which is open from Monday through Friday. In Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties, however, you can get your application started online before heading to the County Clerk's Office to finish processing your application and receive your marriage license.

How do you get a copy of your New Mexico marriage license?

Typically you can get a copy of your marriage certificate through your county clerk's website. Note that there likely will be fees associated with this, which also vary by county. For example, in Santa Fe County, it costs $2.50 to get a certified copy of your marriage license.

How to Plan a New Mexico Wedding

Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, here comes the fun part: dreaming up your wedding day! Read on for all the details you'll want to know when planning your New Mexico celebration, including the best time of year to throw your soiree based on the state's climate and how to find top-tier vendors.

The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a New Mexico Wedding

Gorgeous wedding venues are located throughout the state of New Mexico, but you'll likely find the highest concentration of stunning spots in and around Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. Venues in Albuquerque (the state's most populous city), for instance, have the benefit of sight-lines to the Sandia-Manzano Mountains in the east as well as the beautiful Rio Grand which passes right through the center of the city. Santa Fe, meanwhile, is one of the nation's art capitals, and is dotted with ranch venues with lush fields, waterfalls and mountain views. In Taos, you'll experience a setting filled with adobe buildings enveloped by mountains. So no matter what location you choose for your big day, you can count on a one-of-a-kind setting rife with natural beauty.

What to Look For in a New Mexico Wedding Venue

When you're starting your venue search in New Mexico there are a few things you should ask yourself. For instance, are you planning on inviting a large number of out-of-town guests? If so, you might want to keep your search limited to the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas so your loved ones can easily fly in and get around. You'll also want to make a draft of your guest list before visiting venues so you can make sure the venues you're considering have capacities that make sense for the size of your event. Then, when you're touring venues, you should be prepared to ask the coordinator questions like, "Is there a curfew for live music at this venue?" and "Do you have a preferred vendor list?"

How to Find New Mexico Wedding Vendors

Speaking of vendors: one way to find rockstar florists, DJs, planners and more? Head to the Knot Marketplace, which offers a database of top wedding professionals located throughout the state of New Mexico. Beyond that, other ways to connect with wedding vendors include searching relevant local hashtags and keywords on Instagram and Pinterest, checking out wedding magazines, and hiring a wedding planner who can help connect you with other reputable vendors who match your vision.

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

New Mexico is certainly known for its agreeable climate and for good reason: Both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, for instance, have on average more sunny days and significantly less rain than the rest of the country experiences each year. Its worth noting though that Albuquerque can get seriously hot in the summer (with the average high temperature in July around 93) while Santa Fe, on the other hand, which sits at a higher elevation, has slightly cooler temps in the summer but a much greater chance of snowy weather in the winter, meaning travel could be tricky. However, you'll find that in either area of New Mexico, May and September are standout months when it comes to a high likelihood for a sunny, dry forecast and pleasantly warm temperatures. Overall, though, keep in mind that throughout the state average temperatures range greatly based on elevation and also that the eastern part of the state tends to get more precipitation than western New Mexico does.

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