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Getting Married in Tennessee

The smoky mountains of Tennessee make it a perfect destination, as it believed to be one of the most romantic settings on the earth to start your life's journey with the one you love. While getting married in Tennessee is a dream come true for many would-be-couples, there are certain requirement that needs to be kept in mind to make your marriage legal in this southern state. These requirements include: attending marriage counseling session, getting a marriage license, find an authorized person to perform the ceremony, decide on a date of marriage, decide on a location, and what not.

For getting married in Tennessee, one has to attend the pre-marital counseling session. This is made a compulsion because it is noted that Tennessee has the second highest divorce rate in the country. So to avoid this, the lawmakers came up with a plan of pre-marital counseling to help more marriages succeed. These courses can be offered by instructors who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned on the certificate of completion, these include a psychologist, a licensed marital and family therapist a professional counselor, a clergy, a clinical social worker, a clinical pastoral therapist, a psychological examiner, or any other instructor approved for the judicial district. The name of the instructor should be mentioned on the certificate.

On completion of the pre-marital counseling course the couple gets an official Tennessee Certificate of Completion from the count clerk's office. They can also download this from the clerk's website. It is valid for one year and must be presented at the clerk's office to procure a marriage license. The couple has the option to either attend the marriage counseling session together or they can even attend separate counseling sessions. However if they choose the latter then they need to provide separate certificates.

In order to getting married in Tennessee you need to apply and receive a marriage license. This is an official document that legalizes your marriage. It's very important to know what documents you need to bring with you before you apply for a Tennessee marriage license. It is always recommended to get this legal aspect of your wedding done a month before your wedding date. The requirements to obtain marriage license may vary as each county In Tennessee has its own requirements. In order to know your local rules please check at your clerk of court's office. To obtain this certificate you need to provide the following information:

  • Valid identification proof such as valid driver's license or certified birth certificate or valid passport
  • Social security number (it is a non-negotiable requirement, as a resident of Tennessee you must have proof of social security)
  • Passport for non-US citizens are acceptable.
  • If either or the party has already married before than they need to provide a copy of the divorce certificate of their previous marriage.

Getting Married in the Volunteer State


You need not be a citizen of Tennessee to procure a marriage license; you need to submit a non-resident proof at the clerk's office to receive the license. It is a different case altogether if you are a citizen of Tennessee and want to get married in any other state. In this case you cannot use the marriage certificates obtained here to get married else were.

There is a nominal fee that one needs to pay to obtain the marriage license; it is approximately $100 (however it varies from county to county). If the couple provides the certificate of completion at the clerk's office then they are entitled to receive a $60 discount. In case they have not attended the pre-marital counseling session then they are advised to attend at least a four hours session to get the $60 discount. The validity period of the marriage license is 30 days, so apply for this license only if you have fixed your marriage date to celebrate hassle free, peaceful marriage.

Officiates who are authorized to perform marriage are any ordained or licensed clergymen, justices of the peace, members of county legislative bodies, present or former county executives, judges and chancellors of this state or of general sessions courts, governors of this state, the county clerk of each county, current and former speakers of the senate and speakers of the house of representatives, and Mayors of municipalities.

If they are below 18 then they need to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian. Incase they are between 15 -16, then they need to get a document from the court permitting their marriage and if they are 14 or below then they cannot get married in Tennessee.

In Tennessee marriage between first cousins is permitted. Proxy marriages are not allowed, however if either of the party is disabled then a notarized statement that contains the details of the individual such as the name, age, current address and the name and the address of the parent or guardian may be accepted by the county clerk.

The marriage license requirements often change, so it is always recommended to contact your local marriage license office to get all the required information. Marriage is once in a lifetime occasion so plan every move to make it a successful one.