Complete Guide to Colorado Marriage Laws + Licenses

April 14, 2023

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You may have heard that Colorado is the EASIEST state to get married in – and we’re here to tell you exactly why that’s true! If you’re looking for a state that is brimming with epic scenery, rad hikes, and adventure galore, as well as a state that makes it hella easy for you to tie the knot: Colorado is it. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get married in Colorado, including the most important Colorado marriage laws + the process of applying for a Colorado marriage license. Trust us – it’s going to be way easier than you think!

Colorado Marriage Law Basics

Why is Colorado the easiest state to get married in?

Colorado is SO easy to get married in for three main reasons: you can self-solemnize your marriage license (no officiant needed), no witnesses are required, and there’s no waiting period. This means that you can elope in private without ANYBODY there besides your photographer/videographer/other vendors!! Compared to the other states where self-solemnization is allowed, the process for self-solemnizing in Colorado is the easiest. And having no waiting period required means you can get married as soon as you’d like once you have your license!

Colorado also recognizes common law marriage, which we’ll talk more about in a minute – this makes it possible to be legally married without even needing an official marriage license.

Fun fact: Colorado is one of only 9 states where self-solemnization is legal, and one of only 12 states where common law marriage is recognized!

Can you get married in Colorado if you’re not a resident?

Yes! You can get married in Colorado whether you’re a CO resident or not

How much does a Colorado marriage license cost?

There’s a $30 application fee to apply for a Colorado marriage license.

How long is a marriage license in Colorado valid?

Once you receive your Colorado marriage license, it’s valid for 35 days. Your wedding has to take place within that time frame, and your solemnized certificate must be mailed to your county clerk within 60 days of your wedding.

Does Colorado recognize common law marriage?

Yep! Colorado does recognize common law marriage, which means you and your partner must both be over 18, live mutually as a marriage couple (e.g. share finances, share a last name, etc.), and live together. A common law marriage is a legal marriage without a marriage license.

How long do you have to live together in Colorado to be common-law married?

There’s no official requirement for how long you have to live together to have your common law marriage recognized. You can read more about common law marriage in Colorado on the Colorado Legal Services website!

Do you need an officiant to get married in Colorado?

Nope! This is why it’s so easy to get married in Colorado, and why sooo many couples choose to elope here: you do not need an officiant present to have a legal marriage ceremony. You can do what’s called “self-solemnization,” which is when you, yourselves, sign your marriage license & solemnize it without any officiant present, and it’s totally legal!

Do you need witnesses to get married in Colorado?

Another no! Just as you don’t need an officiant present to make your marriage ceremony legal, you also don’t need any witnesses. So you can have a totally, fully private elopement in Colorado – perfect for any couples who REALLY don’t want to have any guests at all, and are good with just their photographer + videographer tagging along to document it!

How old do you have to be to get married in Colorado?

To get married in Colorado without parental consent, you need to be over the age of 18.

What is the waiting period to get married in Colorado?

There is no required waiting period to get married in Colorado – meaning you can get married the same day that you get your marriage license!

Do you need to do a blood test to get a Colorado marriage license?

Nope, blood tests aren’t required to get a Colorado marriage license.

How do you change your last name after marriage in Colorado?

We’re not experts on the legalities of changing your name, so we’d recommend reading this webpage by Colorado State Records to learn where to go to change your last name after you get married!

Once you change your name, be sure to update all of your important personal information, such as your driver’s license, social security info, vehicle title/registration info, etc.

A Summary of Colorado Marriage Laws

That was a lot of info, so here’s a quick summary of the basic Colorado marriage laws that you need to know!

Self-solemnization allowed? Yes

Common law marriage recognized? Yes

Residency required? No

Witnesses required: None

Waiting period: None

License valid for: 35 days

Blood test required? No

Cost: $30 plus $1.25 for each additional copy of marriage license

Looking for some real Colorado elopement inspo to help you dream up your big day, now that you know the Colorado marriage requirements? Check out Ali + Phil’s Elegant Telluride Elopement – it was such a dreamy, epic day 🤩

How to Get Your Colorado Marriage License

Now let’s talk about how to go about getting your Colorado marriage license. 

1. Find your local Colorado county clerk’s office

First, you’ll need to find your local county clerk’s office – or if you’re traveling in from out of state, find the county clerk’s office that’s closest to where you’ll be. Here’s a list + map of Colorado’s county clerks!

2. Check the county’s application process + requirements

Once you know which county clerk you’ll be applying through, you’ll want to find out what their specific requirements and process are for getting your marriage license. Some counties require you to fill out an online marriage application before you show up in person, some require you to make an appointment ahead of time – so it’s important that you know what to expect.

3. Pay your application fee

Follow the county clerk’s instructions to pay your $30 application fee, typically via cash or debit/credit card.

4. If your application is approved, you’ll receive your license!

The process is usually pretty fast for getting your application, so you may be in and out pretty quickly depending on how long your application takes. If it’s approved, you’ll receive your license and instructions from the county! You can then get married as soon as you’d like, as there is no required waiting period.

5. Get married & solemnize your license within 35 days

Because self-solemnization is allowed, you can do it all on your own – no need for an officiant to be present or sign your license on the day of your marriage. You can solemnize it and make it legal on your own! Your license will be valid for 35 days once you receive it, so be sure to get married within that time frame.

6. Mail your solemnized certificate to your county clerk within 60 days

Once you’ve tied the knot, mail your solemnized certificate back to your county clerk within 60 days. After the 60 days, you may be required to pay daily late fees! 

How to Get Your Colorado Elopement + Wedding Permits

In addition to getting your Colorado marriage license, you will also need to get the necessary permits if you are eloping in a national park, state park, or national forest! We’re not going to go super in-depth about that in this blog post, but here are the basics to know about elopement + wedding permits in Colorado.

Colorado National Park Elopement Permits

To get married in one of Colorado’s four national parks, you will need a Special Use Permit.

Below are links to Special Use Permit info for each of the parks!

Our personal favorite HAS to be Rocky Mountain National Park – it’s one of the most epic national parks in the U.S.! However, because of its popularity for weddings & elopements, the park has become pretty strict as far as permits go. We created an in-depth Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Guide to make sure you understand exactly how to get your permit, and we also go through the best places to elope in the park, where to stay, fun activities, & more! Be sure to give it a read if you’re considering eloping in RMNP😎

Colorado State Park Elopement Permits

To get married in a Colorado state park, you may need a Special Activity Permit depending on the details of your elopement. Find the state park you’re thinking of eloping at here, and look at that specific park’s permitting requirements. 

Colorado National Forest Elopement Permits

To get married in a Colorado national forest, you will most likely only need a Special Use permit if you have a group of 75 or more people. You can find a list of the national forests here, then check their individual USFS pages to learn about permitting requirements.

Colorado Elopement Photographer + Videographer

Heyo – that’s us! 🤙 We’re T & Corey, a Colorado elopement photography + videography duo. We LOVE to travel around to new places to explore with our couples, but we are totally partial to Colorado after documenting so many epic elopements across the state. We’ll go anywhere in Colorado with gorgeous scenery and yummy food, and we’d love to help you plan your dream Colorado elopement + walk you through the process of getting your marriage license!

If you’re looking for a photographer and filmmaker duo who are ready to pack their bags and hike through the mountains with ya, you’ve come to the right place! You can check out our Colorado elopement packages here, and send us an email here when you’re ready to plan your adventure. We can’t wait to meet you!

If you loved this informational guide, we’ve got tons more for ya. After documenting so many elopements, you bet we know our shit – take a look at some of our other favorite elopement resources below!

How to Plan an Elopement in 2023-2024: The Ultimate Guide

Top 20 Worldwide Mountain Elopement Locations

10 Best Things to Do After Getting Engaged (And What Not to Do)