How to Get Married in El Paso As a U.S. Citizen?
One of the best things about El Paso is its weather. This city, also known as the Sun City, boasts about 302 days of sunshine yearly. That makes it ideal for year-round getaways that revolve around outdoor activities, touring museums, viewing the downtown murals, appreciating the different cuisines, and enjoying the vibrant culture. This combination also makes it a top choice for couples who want an unforgettable destination wedding. Here is how to get married in El Paso as a U.S. citizen:
How to Get Married in El Paso As a U.S. Citizen?
The desert beauty, tantalizing Mexican foods, and incredible shopping experiences are some of the reasons people choose El Paso as a wedding destination. After all, they can have their wedding and enjoy their honeymoon in one location. But what’s the process of getting married in El Paso?
El Paso is the southernmost Texan state and thus lies between the U.S. and Mexico. As such, it is in the U.S., and you will not need to leave the country to tie the knot. Here is how you should proceed:
1) Choose a wedding venue: Finding a good venue takes precedence as it dictates when you can hold the wedding. Many good venues get booked months or years ahead, and you should ensure you get one before applying for a marriage license.
2) Hire a wedding planner: Once you start navigating the legal requirements to get married, you deal with many moving parts. Having an experienced planner handling the bulk of the work can reduce your workload significantly.
3) Select a wedding option: Your choice of marriage will determine your document requirements. Thus, the sooner you understand whether you will get married ceremonially, informally, or by proxy, the easier it will be to plan everything else. Your attorney can help you with these options.
4) Prepare your documents: All U.S. citizens must have a valid ID. Examples include passports, military ID cards, and driver’s licenses. Foreigners will require a valid passport and supporting documents.
5) Translate the documents: You must present your documents in English – this should not be an issue if you are a U.S. citizen, as you will only need an ID. But if your partner is not a U.S. citizen and comes from a non-English-speaking country, they must translate and authenticate their documents before submitting them.
6) Visit the Clerk & Recorder’s office: You do not need an appointment to show up for this appointment. Instead, you can visit it between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm with your supporting documents. You will need to fill in a marriage license application form where you will include details such as your place of birth and age. The clerk will review the submitted documents and the form and determine if the wedding can go through.
7) Complete the marriage license application: Please note that you will need to include the following details when completing this application:
- Your personal details, e.g., name, address, birthplace, and social security number,
- Whether you are single: Only unmarried people can get married in El Paso. However, you can remarry your current spouse,
- Whether your partner is unmarried: The previous statement applies to this,
- Whether you have gone through a divorce in the last 30 days: You can still go through with the marriage if you are remarrying your divorced spouse or have a court waiver allowing you to get married,
- Whether you owe child support, and
- If you have any close relations with your spouse, e.g., if you are related by adoption.
8) Obtain a marriage license: If you have provided sufficient documentation and meet the marriage requirements, you can pay the application fee, after which you can get the license. Usually, you can get it on the same day, though it may be a few days before you get it. Your wedding planner can follow up on this.
9) Obey the waiting period: Once you get your marriage license, you must wait 72 hours before using it. However, the following exceptions apply:
- People who are active duty U.S. military members,
- People who work in the Department of Defense,
- People with court waivers, and
- People who have valid premarital education completion certificates.
10) Get married: The marriage license is valid upon issue, and you must use it within 35 days. Once the wedding ceremony takes place, the wedding solemnizer must fill in the marriage certificate, including where the marriage took place, when, and your signatures. They must then forward it to the Clerk & Recorder’s Office within 63 days of the wedding.
11) Receive your marriage certificate: The Clerk & Recorder’s Office will process your marriage certificate once it has received the same from your wedding solemnizer.
If you get married in El Paso, is it legal in the U.S.? Since El Paso conducts marriages in line with the U.S. marriage requirements, your marriage will be valid in the U.S. As a result, you can use your marriage certificate for official reasons, including name changes.
What are the Different Types of Marriage in El Paso?
The El Paso marriage laws are straightforward, allowing you to choose the route that best aligns with your preferences. Below are your options for a wedding in El Paso:
1. A Ceremonial Marriage
This marriage type is the most common in El Paso. It is equivalent to a civil marriage in El Paso and applies to people who meet the following conditions:
- You must have obtained a marriage license from the Clerk & Recorder’s Office,
- You must be at least 18 years old, and
- You must be willing to enter a marriage.
These marriages are also applicable to same-sex couples.
2. A Common Law/ Informal Marriage
Unlike ceremonial marriage in El Paso, this option allows you to get married without holding a ceremony and getting a marriage license. There are two ways to go about it:
- The couple can sign a declaration of the informal marriage and have it certified and filed at the Clerk & Recorder’s Office.
- The couple can agree to marry and live together as spouses who undertake marital responsibilities. The court will use these three things to uphold such a marriage.
If you follow the above approaches, your marriage will be valid in the eyes of the law.
3. Marriage by Proxy
What if one of you cannot attend the wedding? Luckily, El Paso allows a marriage by proxy where one or both of you are not present. You must explain why you want to marry in absentia, and common reasons include:
- Where a partner is in active military service,
- Where a partner is in prison, and
- Where one or both of you have travel limitations.
If you prove that a marriage by proxy is the only option, you can get the go-ahead for the ceremony.
So, is a marriage in El Paso recognized in the United States? Of course! If you meet the marriage requirements in El Paso set out per your preferred wedding option, you can get married and obtain a marriage certificate valid throughout the U.S.
Marriage Requirements in El Paso for U.S. Citizens
Before getting married in El Paso, you must prove you are fit for marriage. Below are the key considerations:
1) Age: The legal marriage age is 18 for all parties. However, people aged 16 and 17 can marry if a juvenile court okays the marriage. Such a couple must present the original or certified court order when applying for a marriage license. Those younger than 16 cannot get a marriage license and are thus not permitted to enter a marriage contract.
2) Social Security Numbers: All marriage license applications should have each partner’s last four digits of their social security number. Those who cannot provide these details must present a notarized affidavit when applying for the marriage license. They should sign it before the Deputy County Clerk when applying for a marriage license.
3) Relationships: Not only can married people not marry other people, but the following marriages are not allowed:
- Between an ancestor and a descendant,
- Between a brother and a sister,
- Between an uncle and a niece, and
- Between an aunt and a nephew.
Marriages between cousins are possible if the partners meet all other marriage requirements.
4) Licensing: Only marriage licenses issued in Colorado are valid for solemnization in El Paso. As such, even if another state has okayed your marriage, you cannot solemnize it in El Paso. The only option is to get a new marriage license in El Paso or marry in another state.
5) Witnesses: While the marriage laws in El Paso do not necessitate witnesses, their presence hinges on the solemnizer. Some public officials may request that you have people to witness and will dictate their requirements.
6) Residency: You do not need to live in El Paso to get a marriage license.
7) Solemnization: Couples can decide who will solemnize their marriage, including themselves, per C.R.S. 14-2-109. They can have the ceremony before judges or other public officials as they see fit. Note that even if couples can solemnize their marriages, they cannot delegate this role to friends or relatives unless authorized to conduct marriages.
8) Previously married people: If your previous marriage ended in divorce, you should wait 30 days before marrying again. However, you can go through with the marriage if you are marrying your previous spouse or have a court order allowing the marriage. People whose previous spouses are deceased do not have a waiting period for remarriage. In both these cases, you will not need to present a divorce decree or death certificate, as the state can access these documents.
The requirements for getting married in El Paso for foreigners may include additional steps. You can confirm this by liaising with the Clerk & Recorder’s Office.
What Documents Do I Need to Get Married in El Paso?
A U.S. citizen getting married in El Paso does not need much other than to prove their identity, age, and capacity to get married. So, what do you need to get married in El Paso? You require the following documents:
1) A marriage license: You cannot tie the knot in a ceremonial or proxy marriage without getting this form. It also applies to informal marriages where the couple signs this form instead of meeting the state’s tri-factor requirements.
2) The affidavit of absent applicant: If you are getting married by proxy, you must fill out this document, which outlines your reason for absence, who you will marry, and when you will marry. The document must have notarization.
3) A premarital education course completion certificate: Marriage licenses have a 72-hour waiting window, which you can have waived by completing this course, which takes 8 hours. You should have taken the course within a year of applying for the marriage license.
4) Identification: You can include any of the following valid IDs:
- A driver’s license,
- A passport,
- A state ID card,
- A military ID card,
- An original birth certificate or certified copy,
- A USCIS document,
- A consular document,
- A court order, or
- A temporary ID card.
Your choice of marriage will affect the requirements. For example, a ceremonial marriage participant will likely need an ID and a marriage license, while a proxy marriage participant will need an affidavit atop the other documents.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Married in El Paso?
The legal age to marry in El Paso is 18, yet people younger than this can tie the knot. So, how old do you have to be to get married in El Paso? People aged 18 are free to marry, while those aged 16 and 17 can only marry if they have been emancipated. Anyone aged less than 16 cannot marry.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Married in El Paso?
Some states, like New York, boast average wedding costs of up to $46,000. So, how much does it cost to get married in El Paso? The average stands at about $27,000 for an average-sized wedding. The price varies depending on factors like venue, catering, entertainment, the number of guests, and the decorations. Thus, you can have a wedding for half of that!
How to Find a Wedding Planner in El Paso?
The key to a memorable wedding is a good wedding planner who handles everything so you can worry less and anticipate more. Here’s how you can find a good one:
- Ask your loved ones for suggestions on planners who have worked on El Paso or Texan weddings, as they will know how to source the best vendors.
- Consider the planner’s style and assess whether it meshes with yours to ensure you get the wedding you truly want. Cross out planners whose styles contrast with your vision.
- Understand the planner’s schedule, whether they will be available for your dates, how many weddings they have, and their preferred communication methods. Do not consider planners who seem overbooked, as this can result in less focus on your big day.
- Determine how comfortable you feel with the planner. Can you trust them? Allow your instincts to lead the way, as the stakes are high.
Finally, discuss the pricing and choose the planners whose costs will not dent your pockets ahead of the big day.