Preparing to Apply
- Confirm that you and your fiancé are legally entitled to marry one another.One of you must be residents of Mississippi and hold a valid state-issued ID.
- Age: Both parties must be at least 21 years old to marry in Mississippi without consent from parents or guardians. If either person is under 21 years old, you must have a notarized consent form with you when you turn in your marriage license application.Female applicants can get married at 15 and male applicants have to be at least 17.
- Family relationships: The state of Mississippi bans marriages between immediate family members. Cousins are prohibited from marrying in Mississippi as well.
- Sexual orientation: Same sex marriages are still restricted by Mississippi state law. In November 2014, the US district court judge Carlton Reeves ruled Mississippi’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, but stayed his own ruling. As of May 2015, the issue is in the appeals process.
- Unconventional marriage bans: Mississippi doesn’t allow common law or proxy marriages. Common law marriages are established once a couple has lived together for a period of time, expressed the desire to marry, but never held a formal ceremony. Proxy marriages are normally granted to those who by necessity cannot live together — couples where work forces them to live a part.
- Collect the necessary documentation.You’ll need a government issued ID for proof of age. Your birth certificate or driver's license will suffice.
- Harrison County, Mississippi accepts "driver's license, birth certificates, military ID, DD214(this is retirement, separation, or discharge certificate from the military), Baptismal certificate, Life Insurance records, school record, or any other official document evidencing age.
- If you’ve been divorced in the last 6 months, you’ll need to bring proof of divorce.
- If you are a naturalized American citizen, you’ll need to bring your naturalization papers, in addition to your state-issued ID and birth certificate. If your birth certificate is printed in another language, you’ll need to get a notarized translation of the documents.
- As of July 1, 2012, blood tests are no longer required for marriages.
- Decide whether or not you want to change your last name.There are no laws that mandate surname changes in Mississippi. Convention allows for men and women to retain their original surnames, to adopt their spouses surname, or to hyphenate. In order to change your surname in Mississippi, you’ll need to provide proof of the change to your local DMV office. This includes officially changing your name with the Social Security Administration.
- Find a place to apply for your marriage license.There are 63 county clerk’s offices around Mississippi that you can appear at to apply for a marriage license.Determine which Mississippi County you want to apply to for a marriage license. If you and your fiancé are over the age of 21, you can apply in any county. If the bride-to-be is under the age of 21, she must apply in the county of her residence.
Applying for Your License
- Go to the appropriate circuit court.Both spouses need to be present in order to apply for a marriage license. In most cases one witness will be required to sign your marriage application. If a witness is required getting the certificate, the clerk probably can serve as the witness, but you may want to bring friends with you when you apply for your marriage license. People usually ask their best man or maid of honor to act as the official witness.
- Apply for a marriage license by completing the required information.You’ll need to include your full names, names and addresses of your parents (including the maiden name of your mother), age, date of birth, place of birth, highest level of education completed, number of previous marriages, and a description of why previous marriages ended.
- The application itself is provided on premises or can be downloaded online and filled out at home. Applications change depending on which county. Make sure you print out the right application. Just make sure to sign the document in front of the county court clerk.
- Pay the appropriate fee of approximately $21 (prices may vary).In most offices, you can pay this fee with a money order or credit card . Some offices may also accept cash or checks, but you should contact them beforehand to make sure.
- Wait 3 days for your license.The state of Mississippi requires a 3 day waiting period after you apply for your marriage license. They take this time to check your materials and give you time to back out if you want to. After your 3 day waiting period, you’ll be able to pick up your marriage license and then you have 30 days to get it signed by your wedding officiant or a justice of the peace.Clergy, mayors, local Board of Supervisors members, and judges of the state of Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit court, Chancery court, Justice court, or County court may legally officiate the wedding.