Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Get Married in Chicago



When you’re planning a wedding in Chicago, your wedding ceremony and reception seem full of infinite possibilities. You instantly start visualizing which backdrops you want for your wedding photos: “The Sears Tower or the Chicago skyline overlooking Lake Michigan?” Or deciding which caterers and DJs you want at your favorite Chicago wedding venue in the heart of the city. However, before you can delve into planning for your big day in the windy city, you need to understand and consider the legal requirements for getting married in Chicago, as it’ll help you plan your wedding effectively.


How to Legally Get Married in Chicago:


In Illinois, not just anyone can get married. In order to get married in Illinois, you must obtain a marriage license from the Cook County Clerk’s office, which has certain eligibility requirements. Before you run on down to the Clerk’s office, you need to make sure that both you and your partner are:
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Aren’t legally married to someone else
  • Aren’t blood-related
Couples must appear together at one of the Clerk’s six locations. If only one of you show up, you will not be able to apply for a marriage license. Both of you must also be prepared to:
  • Provide a valid photo ID with proof of name
  • Fill out the marriage license application
  • Pay the marriage fee of $60
* If either of you have been divorced, you must provide the date the divorce was finalized. If divorce happened within the last six months, you must provide a certified copy of the divorce decree.


Timeline and Restrictions

  • Illinois marriage licenses are issued the day of and effective the following day (24 hours) after they’re issued
  • They are only effective in Chicago and suburban Cook County
  • They are only valid for 60 days
* If you are going to have a wedding ceremony in Chicago, you must bring your marriage license. The officiant, or person who is legally able to perform your wedding ceremony, will have to fill out a few remaining details on your marriage license and sign it once the ceremony has ended. The officiant (whether it be a judge, religious leader, or friend ordained for the day) is then responsible for returning the marriage license to the Clerk’s office. It’ll be easier if you include an addressed and stamped envelope so the officiant doesn’t have to return it in person. Therefore, since marriage licenses in Illinois are only valid for 60 days, it’s important that you plan your wedding ceremony within this time frame.

Your wedding license is technically like an application to be married. Once you’ve filled it out, had the ceremony, got it signed, and had your officiant turn it back to the county, you then receive your marriage certificate, which proves that you are married- wa la! After the wedding ceremony, you will need to request a copy of your official marriage certificate, which can be completed online.

Understanding what you need to do in order to legally get married in Chicago will help you in planning the Chicago wedding of your dreams. If you’re on the hunt for a premier Chicago wedding venue, look no further than The Murphy. The Murphy is a top choice for weddings due to its charming architectural design and ideal location. We are located right in the heart of downtown Chicago along the Magnificent Mile. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to host a plethora of gorgeous weddings, and aim to turn your special day into a cherished memory that will last a lifetime.

Click here to view our gallery to see some behind-the-scenes photos of the weddings we’ve held at our venue, and contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about our venue, scheduling a tour, or booking a wedding!

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