A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Married in Idaho

If you’re saying “I do” in the Gem State, read on for Zola’s tips and tricks for getting your Idaho marriage license!

By Emily Forrest

How to Get a Marriage License in Idaho
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Idaho couples are a lucky bunch—an Idaho wedding promises to be a real gem in a state full of them. And once you’ve both said “yes” to getting married in this stunning state, you can begin dreaming about your wedding details: the dress, the wedding cake, the venue, the marriage license... wait, what?

Before you can enjoy your wedding day, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with Idaho marriage laws. Namely, you’ll need to acquire a marriage license to make your union legally (and social media) official.

Read on for a comprehensive guide to getting your marriage license. Plus, we have a full rundown of everything else you need to know to plan your Idaho wedding.

1. Apply For a Marriage License

There are two overlapping terms that you’ll need to know to make this process go smoothly:

  • Marriage License – Your marriage license is a legal document that you must obtain before your wedding to make it official.

  • Marriage Certificate – After your wedding, you’ll turn in your marriage license and receive your marriage certificate.

The process of obtaining your Idaho marriage license is fairly straightforward, but let’s break it down.

Where to Go to Get a Marriage License in Idaho

First, let’s review the Idaho marriage license requirements.

Both individuals within the couple will need to go to their county recorder’s office. There are no appointments, only walk-ins.

What Documents to Bring

Couples will need to bring two types of identification to receive their marriage license:

  • Social Security Number – Both individuals need to provide their social security numbers. Non-U.S. citizens should instead present identification from their country of citizenship. If someone does not have a social security number, they should secure a letter from the nearest Social Security Office.

  • Proof of Identity and Age – Both individuals also need to provide proof of identity or age in the form of any of the following documents: a current driver’s license, state-issued identification card, passport, or birth certificate (either an original birth certificate or a certified copy).

What Fees to Pay

The marriage license fee is approximately $30 in cash, but fees vary by county in Idaho. For example, certain counties in Idaho charge up to $20 more on Saturdays. Most county recorders do not accept checks or credit cards, so make sure to bring cash.

And that’s it! It’s a surprisingly easy process. Use the rest of your day to secure all of your wedding vendors with Zola’s easy-to-use and pre-screened wedding vendor search function.

Things to Know About Your Idaho Marriage License

There are a few more important details to know about how your marriage license works and how to make sure that your marriage is legal.

Is There a Waiting Period After We Receive Our Idaho Marriage License?

Idaho has no waiting period after you receive your license. That means that you can get married on the same day that you receive it.

When Does an Idaho Marriage License Expire?

Idaho marriage licenses do not expire; however, if you don’t get married after one year, Idaho requires that you contact the state Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics.

Is a Blood Test Required to Marry in Idaho?

A blood test is not necessary to receive an Idaho marriage license. However, couples will need to read an AIDS information sheet before they sign their marriage license affidavit.

What If My Officiant Isn’t Authorized?

If the officiant who performed your ceremony was not authorized without your knowledge, it does not invalidate your marriage as long as you and/or your spouse fully believed that the officiant was lawfully conducting the marriage.

Are Witnesses Required?

Idaho does not require witnesses to make a marriage license valid.

Can Non-Residents Have an Idaho Wedding?

Both residents and non-residents can obtain an Idaho marriage license; however, the license is only valid if the marriage ceremony is performed in Idaho.

What If Either My Partner or I Was Previously Married?

If you were previously married, during your marriage license application process you’ll need to provide the date that your divorce was finalized.

2. Familiarize Yourself With the Marriage Laws Unique to Idaho

Anyone who has ever taken a road trip knows about the patchwork of laws and regulations across the United States. Each state has its own unique marriage laws and requirements. Below are some of Idaho’s.

Common-Law Marriage in Idaho

As of 1996, Idaho stopped allowing common-law marriage. Accordingly, couples must obtain and file a marriage license for their marriage to be legally recognized in Idaho.

Legal Age of Marriage in Idaho

The legal age of marriage in Idaho is 18 years of age and older. There are two groups who may also marry under specific circumstances:

  • Ages 16 and 17 – Individuals ages 16 and 17 can get married if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or with a notarized statement signed by their parent or guardian. Legal guardians need to produce a certified copy of their appointment of guardianship.

  • Under 16 – Individuals younger than 16 years old must receive both parental consent through a notarized statement and permission from the court.

Idaho law also specifies that individuals under 18 cannot marry individuals over 18 if the difference in age between the two individuals is greater than three years.

Prohibited Marriages

Idaho does not allow incestuous marriages under any circumstances. They define these relations as marriages between:

  • Parents and children
  • Ancestors and descendants of every degree
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Half brothers and sisters
  • Uncles/aunts and nieces/nephews

Idaho also prohibits marriages between first cousins. Polygamous marriages are also disallowed in Idaho.

Out-of-State and International Marriages

Idaho recognizes marriages and unions from other states and countries as long as they are valid in their place of origin and do not “evade the prohibitions of the marriage laws of [Idaho].”

Marriage Penalties in Idaho

There are two instances in which the marriage license and ceremony may be subject to penalties:

  • Improperly Performing a Marriage Ceremony – If the officiant performs a marriage ceremony without a valid marriage license, they are committing a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $50 to $200 fine. If the officiant performs a marriage ceremony knowing that either individual isn’t “legally competent” to marry, this is also a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $50 to $200 fine.

  • Misrepresenting Information – Anyone who misrepresents any of the information on their marriage license application is committing a misdemeanor offense.

3. Choose a Date and Venue

With marriage certificates Idaho, you can get married in any county in the state of Idaho. And the state of Idaho? It has just about every kind of landscape and venue you could image. You have your choice between a variety of gorgeous landscapes, including stunning mountains, lakes, rivers, and sand dunes—as well as rural, suburban, and urban settings. So, whether you’re looking for an extravagant outdoor affair with a stunning mountain backdrop or a simple Boise courthouse marriage, your marriage license will have you covered—so choose whatever place feels right for you.

Once you choose where you want to get married, it will help you choose a date. For example, if you have your eyes set on an outdoor venue with epic vineyard views (like Fox Canyon Vineyards in Marsing, ID), you’ll want to choose a date when the weather is likely to be on your side, like spring, summer, or early fall. If you’re envisioning an indoor wedding (like at the CW Penthouse at C.W. Moore Plaza, which offers epic views of the Boise skyline), you have more flexibility in booking a venue—as you can host an indoor wedding any time of year.

You can also choose your date first—and then choose a venue that makes sense for that date. For example, if you know you want to get married on April 24 (for example, because it’s your anniversary or another important date to your relationship), you can search venues that have availability on that date.

Looking for the perfect venue for your Idaho wedding? Check out our collection of Idaho wedding venues!

4. Who Can Officiate a Wedding in Idaho?

A wedding officiant is a person that is legally authorized to marry two people. In Idaho state, there are a number of people who can officiate your wedding.

  • Current or retired justice of the supreme court
  • Current or retired appeals judge
  • Current or retired district judge
  • Current or former governor
  • Current lieutenant governor
  • Current or retired magistrate of the district court
  • Current mayor
  • Current federal judge
  • Current tribal judge of an Idaho Indian tribe
  • Tribal officials approved by an official act of an Idaho Indian tribe
  • Authorized clergy member

If you want a friend or family member to act as your officiant, you can have them look into how to get ordained in Idaho; there are online certifications they can pursue to get the legal right to officiate your ceremony.

5. Plan Your Dream Wedding

Now comes the fun part—starting to plan the actual wedding!

There are a number of things you’ll need to do during the wedding planning process, including:

  • Create your wedding website

  • Create your registry

  • Create your wedding planning to-do list

  • Set your budget

  • Create your guest list

  • Send out save the dates

  • Find Idaho wedding vendors (for example, a wedding photographer, caterer, etc.)

  • Choose your wedding theme and decor

  • Find your wedding attire

  • Create your wedding day timeline

  • Send out wedding invitations

  • Manage your RSVPs

Planning a wedding can feel overwhelming—but we’re here to help! If you need more insight on the wedding planning process, make sure to check out our resources: How to Plan a Wedding and Your Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist & Timeline.

Following Up After the Ceremony

After the ceremony, you’ll be enjoying the newlywed bliss (and hopefully an epic honeymoon!). But there are a few loose ends you’ll need to tie up after your Idaho wedding:

Return Your Marriage License

Your officiant will complete the bottom section of the two copies of the marriage license. You will keep the copy with the gold seal and the other copy must be returned to your county office. Once your county records your marriage, they will send the license to the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records, which issues your marriage certificate.

It’s important that you return your marriage license so that your marriage is recorded and so that you can receive your marriage certificate. You’ll need your marriage certificate to do tasks such as changing your maiden name.

If you wait for more than a year to file your certificate of marriage, it will need to be categorized as delayed by the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. You will need to submit a written request that includes:

  • Type of certificate (marriage or divorce)
  • Name(s) listed on the certificate
  • Date of event
  • Place of event
  • Relationship to the person(s) on the certificate
  • Return address
  • Daytime phone number

You must also include a check or money order for $16. This request should be mailed to the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. They will search to confirm that they do not already have the marriage certificate on file.

Change Your Name (If Applicable)

Your last name will not be automatically changed after your wedding. If you’re planning to change your name, you will need to bring a certified copy of your marriage license to both the Social Security Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can obtain a certified copy of your marriage license through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare either online or by mail.

Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage in Idaho

Overwhelmed? We don’t blame you. Navigating marriage laws and the marriage license process can be a headache. Hopefully, these frequently asked questions offer you some clarity.

Regardless, you can make your wedding planning process a whole lot easier with help from Zola. Build a wedding website, craft wedding invitations, find your vendors, and more all at Zola. Now, without further ado: the top Idaho marriage FAQs.

When Should I Start Applying for My Marriage License in Idaho?

Since Idaho has no expiration dates, waiting periods, or appointments for marriage licenses, you can apply whenever you want. As always, it’s better to apply earlier rather than later. Definitely make sure that you have all of the necessary documents to apply for the marriage license well before your wedding day.

How Long Is the Waiting Period Between Applying for and Receiving the Marriage License?

Since you obtain your marriage license in person and there are no appointments, the time will depend on how busy your county recorder’s office is that day. However, you will receive the marriage license the same day after you submit all necessary information to the office.

Can a Marriage Ceremony Be Performed in the Clerk’s Office?

Marriage ceremonies cannot be performed in a clerk’s office. Couples must contact a judge to schedule an appointment with an authorized party

Does Idaho Offer Domestic Partnerships?

In a domestic partnership, a couple lives together, but is not part of a marriage, civil union, or another legally recognized contract. Idaho offers no benefit or rights for domestic partnerships.

Does Idaho Allow Proxy Marriages?

In a proxy marriage, one of the partners is represented by a proxy during the ceremony. Idaho, however, does not allow proxy marriages.

What If There Is an Error on My Marriage License?

If your marriage license has already been issued and includes incorrect information, submit a signed and notarized affidavit of correction by mail or in-person to your county office.

Choose Your Season

Idaho has it all: mountains, lakes, sand dunes, rivers, and more. That makes any season perfect for an Idaho wedding, but let’s hone in on some of the benefits and drawbacks of each season.

Get a Little Extra Help at Zola

Idaho makes it easy to get your marriage license. A trip to the county recorder’s office, and your social security number, identification, and a $30 fee in hand are all you’ll need to obtain your marriage license and be ready to go for your wedding day.

Zola makes it easy to plan your wedding. Find inspiration from real weddings as you develop your style and theme, and share your big news with guests with our stylish save the dates, invitations, and/or wedding website templates. Then, access the very best wedding vendors Idaho has to offer with our easily searchable, pre-screened inventory of vendors.

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