Reference Roundup: Love and Marriage

February 14, 2023


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we looked at the questions we often receive about Texas marriage laws. Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about marriage licenses, wedding ceremonies, and married name changes.  

Be sure to visit our Marriage in Texas guide for more info! 

How long does it take to get a marriage license? Can I get married right after getting the license?

Marriage licenses can be obtained at any county clerk’s office. Many counties offer an online application process on their website, but not all of them do. Processing times vary for each office, so we recommend contacting them directly to find out if there are any delays.

Once a marriage license is issued, Texas requires a waiting period of 72 hours before the wedding ceremony can take place (with some exceptions).

You must get married within 90 days of the date the license was issued. If you wait longer, you’ll have to apply for a new license and pay another application fee.

If you recently got a divorce, you’ll need to wait at least 30 days before applying for a new marriage license (with some exceptions).

For more information, please see our page on Marriage Licenses.

I live out of state but will be getting married in Texas. Can I apply for a Texas marriage license?

Yes. Some counties, such as Tarrant County, can issue marriage licenses using remote videoconferencing technology like Zoom. Other counties might require an in-person appearance to complete the application. Contact the county clerk’s office or check their website for more information.

If I have a Texas marriage license, can I get married in another state or abroad?

The law does not specify where the marriage ceremony must take place after receiving a Texas marriage license.

Some county clerk's offices issue licenses requiring the wedding officiant to specify the name of the Texas county where the marriage was performed. Others indicate that they would accept any county in the U.S., and some offices state that the ceremony can be performed anywhere.

It may be a good idea to check with the county clerk's office about your out-of-state ceremony before getting a license. Most states, including Texas, require a state-issued marriage license for wedding ceremonies conducted in that state.

I got married in another state or country. How do I register my marriage in Texas?

Texas does not have a registry for out-of-state or foreign marriages. A marriage legally entered into in another state or abroad will likely be considered valid under Texas law unless it’s explicitly void by statute.

If you were married out of state using a Texas marriage license, you’ll need to return it to the county where it was issued within 30 days after the ceremony takes place. Check your county clerk’s website for instructions on returning a completed marriage license.

Who can officiate my wedding?

Persons authorized to officiate a wedding are listed in Section 2.202 of the Texas Family Code. The list includes:

  • Licensed or ordained Christian ministers and priests;
  • Jewish rabbis;
  • Current or retired justices, judges, and magistrates of select courts in Texas;
  • Officers of religious organizations authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies.

There are no requirements to register with the state as a wedding officiant.

Knowingly officiating a wedding without proper authorization is a Class A misdemeanor. However, ceremonies conducted by an unauthorized person may still be valid under Section 2.302.

For more information, please see our page on Conducting the Marriage Ceremony or watch the video "Who can conduct a wedding in Texas?"

How do I change my name after getting married?

There is no legal requirement to change your name after marriage, but the option is there if the couple wishes to do it.

Common law allows you to change your name after marriage without a court order. However, you can't change your name to just any name using this process. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) allows the following post-marital name changes:

  • You can change your last name to your spouse's last name;
  • You can change your last name to your spouse's last name and your middle name to your premarital last name;
  • You can add your spouse's last name to your premarital last name in the hyphenated form.

You must apply for a new Texas driver’s license or ID within 30 days of your wedding date and bring one of the following documents for proof:

  • Your original marriage license;
  • A certified copy of your marriage license;
  • A marriage verification letter from the Department of State Health Services.

You’ll also need to update your Social Security card and other identification records with your new name.

For changes to your first name or other changes not listed by the DPS, you can apply for a court order using a standard adult name change process.

For more information, please see our page on Name Changes After Marriage and our video "How do I change my name after getting married?"

How do I get a copy of my marriage license?

You can purchase a certified copy of your marriage license from the county clerk’s office that issued the license. If you’re not sure which county it was, you might be able to locate this information in one of the Marriage Indexes maintained by the Department of State Health Services.

For more information, please see our page on Marriage Licenses.

Can we get married over Zoom?

The law does not explicitly say whether an officiant can conduct a ceremony from a remote location using videoconferencing applications like Zoom or Skype. In some counties, including Travis County and Tarrant County, justices of the peace do offer wedding ceremonies over Zoom.

Contact your county's justice of the peace or county clerk’s office for more information about having a "Zoom wedding."

Further research

You can find more information on various legal aspects of marriage in our research guides, legal FAQs, and videos: 


Common Law Marriage 

Community Property 


Marriage in Texas

Legal FAQs

Can a marriage ceremony in Texas be conducted over Zoom or Skype? 

Does Texas recognize common-law marriages?

Who can conduct a wedding in Texas? Do I need to register as an officiant?


How do I change my name after getting married?

Who can conduct a wedding in Texas? 

What counts as a common-law marriage? 

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