I could give you a long-ass list of reasons why Colorado is the best state to get married in, but my top reason is because it’s friggin EASY.

We have something called self-solemnization, which means you can officiate your own wedding and marry yourselves without an officiant or witnesses.

It’s easy, but it does take a little planning. You’ll need to pick up your Colorado marriage license first. That document is issued by a county and it basically says you and your partner are allowed to get married. You’re required to have that for any kind of marriage ceremony, even an elopement.

A marriage license isn’t just important before you get married – it’s important after too. You need it to get your marriage certificate, which is another official document that proves your marital status. It sounds super formal, but it’s really necessary for things like health insurance, taxes, name changes, and getting a mortgage. All that boring adulting shit.

Let me break down the marriage license process for you.

Colorado Marriage License 101

Most counties, like Denver, will let you complete the marriage license process online – even if it’s printing the application and filling it out before showing up in person. When scheduling your trip out to Colorado, make sure you include time to visit a County Clerk’s office ahead of your elopement day. Here’s how it works.

  1. Pick the county in Colorado where you want to pick up your license from. All counties require you to pick it up in person.
    • Pro tip: Denver County is usually hella busy, so I’d recommend picking up one nearby to avoid a long wait. I’d look at Douglas, Adams, Jefferson, or Arapahoe for openings.
    • Important! Arapahoe and Denver County do NOT allow your dog to sign with their paw print. If you’re wondering why the F that would ever be a thing, pause here and go read more about self-solemnization.
  2. Read the marriage license requirements and complete any paperwork the county may require ahead of time.
  3. Schedule an appointment. These slots can fill up FAST, so make sure you research how early they release upcoming dates. Denver County opens their schedule 7 days in advance, but other counties do 21 days before. My general rule of thumb is to just call the county you applied in and ask about appointments.
  4. Go in for your appointment with your partner. A marriage license will cost you $30, so make sure you have a payment method with you and your valid IDs. In and out will take no more than 30 minutes!
  5. Sign the license after you say “I do” and send it back to the county it was issued in via mail. You can also just drop it off at the courthouse before leaving town!

Kenzie, I Have Questions

And I have answers. Your photographer should always be a big resource for you. I’ve helped all of my couples through the process and am happy to answer questions if you need me.

Can my dog actually sign my marriage license?

Hellllll yes! Because Colorado doesn’t require witnesses, your fur baby can absolutely sign. Bring an ink pad with on your elopement day and we can stamp their paw. Important! Arapahoe county is the only Colorado county that does NOT allow paw prints.

Does it matter which County Clerk I go to?

No! You can get married in any county, regardless of where your license is from. BUT, after your elopement you need to send it back to whatever county you got it from so they can file it. This means that opting for the county you’re getting married saves you a lot of time. If you plan to have your fur baby sign your  license, Arapahoe county does NOT allow it, so you’ll want to pic a different County Clerk.

What if I’ve been married before?

No biggie, you may just need to provide some more info when you apply. More on that here toward the bottom of the page.

Do I need an officiant’s signature?

Nope! Remember, you can self-solemnize here, which means you and bae will sign your names on the officiant line to make it legal.

Do I need witnesses?

Also a no. You’ll see two witness lines on your marriage license, but they’re totally optional. You can leave them blank or have someone (like your super cool photographer) sign them – up to you!

Is there a waiting period to get my license?

Nope. The day you go in for your appointment is the same day you’ll have it in your possession. However, you need to go in-person to pick it up. They won’t email it to you after you fill out your application.

Can you pick up my marriage license for me?

Sorry boo, but no I can’t. This is basically the only part of the wedding planning process I can’t help with. The County Clerk needs you and bae to show up and confirm it’s a consensual marriage.

Is my marriage legal even though I don’t live in Colorado?

Yes! Your marriage license is recognized everywhere.

Bae and I are ready to make it official!

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