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Marriage in Texas

Information on the laws for those who plan to get married or are married in Texas.

 Conducting the Ceremony

Conducting the Marriage Ceremony

Texas law does not provide many details about the actual marriage ceremony and how it may be conducted. Instead of regulating what is said or done in a ceremony, the law focuses on time periods within which certain things must be done.

Once a couple obtains a marriage license, the law says the following about the ceremony itself:

  • There is a 72-hour waiting period between the issuance of a marriage license and the ceremony, with certain exceptions. Section 2.204.
  • A marriage license expires if a ceremony isn't conducted before the 90th day after the license was issued. Section 2.201.
  • The officiant must determine whether the license has expired and is prohibited from conducting a ceremony if it is expired. Section 2.207.
  • Only certain people are authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony. Section 2.202.
  • Marriage by proxy is available only if the absent person is a member of the armed forces, stationed in another country in support of combat or some other military operation, and unable to attend the ceremony. Section 2.203.
  • Before returning the marriage license to the county clerk who issued it, the officiant must record on the license the date of the ceremony, the county where it was performed, and their personal information. It must be returned not later than the 30th day after the ceremony. Section 2.206.
  • The county clerk must return the marriage license to the address indicated on the application. Section 2.208.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Who Can Conduct a Ceremony?

Please see our video on this topic:

Section 2.202 of the Texas Family Code authorizes the following people to conduct a marriage ceremony:

As per the Department of State Health Services' guide linked above, there is no official registration for persons authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony. If they review the law and believe they can perform the marriage ceremony, then they can perform the ceremony. 

Conducting a Ceremony Online

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been getting many questions about this topic, from both couples and officiants, asking if they can conduct a wedding ceremony over videoconferencing software like Skype or Zoom.

Texas law does not provide many details about the actual marriage ceremony and how it may be conducted. To learn more, visit “Can a marriage ceremony be conducted over Zoom or Skype?

Ceremonies with Texas Prisoners

Previously, Texas law allowed prisoners to marry by proxy, a process that allows an appointed person to stand in for the absent applicant at the ceremony. Section 2.203 of the Texas Family Code was amended in 2013, and now proxy marriages are only available to active-duty military members stationed in another country.

For those wishing to formally marry someone who is currently incarcerated with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), a wedding ceremony will need to be conducted on TDCJ property. See the resources below for how to apply for a ceremony with the Department.