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How to Elope in Illinois

With great views available, and the Great Lakes as a backdrop, Illinois could be your ideal elopement destination.
Outline map of Illinois

Planning an Elopement?

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Why is Illinois great for an elopement?

When a state contains a location called ‘Garden of the Gods,’ you just know it is going to make the perfect elopement location. It features gorgeous rock formations and hills with the best views you could imagine.

Illinois is a Great Lake state, and like the others, it has definite seasonal weathers. Illinois will be very cold in the winter months and likely snowy. If a winter wonderland style of wedding is your thing, Illinois could make a great location! Summer is hot and humid, so could make a better time for an outdoor wedding or elopement.

GETTING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE

All states require a marriage license, so you need to ensure that you understand all of the requirements very early in the planning process. Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward in most cases as long as you meet the criteria and follow the state requirements.

Here is what you need to know about getting a marriage license in Illinois.

Is Same Sex Marriage Recognized?

Yes! Same sex marriage is recognized in all states, and at a federal level, under the Respect for Marriage Act which was signed into law in December 2022.

Will I Need to take a blood test?

No. Blood tests have been abolished as part of marriage license applications in all 50 states, so don’t worry if you’re afraid of needles!

Who Issues Marriage Licenses in Illinois?

Marriage licenses in Illinois are issued by the county clerk’s office. You must appear in person to have your license issued, although you may begin the application online.

Do I Need to be a Resident of Illinois?

You are not required to be an Illinois resident to marry there, however, you must marry in the county that issued your marriage license. This applies to both resident and non-resident applicants.

Is there a waiting period to get married?

There is a one-day waiting period to marry after a license has been issued in Illinois. This means that you cannot marry on the same day that you receive your marriage license, and will need to wait until at least the next day.

How long will my marriage license be valid for?

Marriage licenses issued in Illinois are valid for 60 days, from the date they were issued.

HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO GET MARRIED IN Illinois?

You must be aged 18 years or older to marry in Illinois without any caveats. Those aged 16 may apply for a marriage license, with parental consent.

WILL I NEED TO TAKE ID?

You must bring valid identification to your appointment at the county clerk’s office. Examples of valid identification include: driver’s license, passport, birth certificate or a valid life insurance policy.

HOW MUCH DOES A MARRIAGE LICENSE COST IN Illinois?

The fees for marriages licenses in Illinois vary from county to county, but could be anywhere from $28 – $75.

On Your Wedding Day

Once you’ve gotten the admin out of the way, you can get to the part you’ve been dreaming of: the wedding ceremony!

As you’d expect, each state has different requirements to make a marriage legal. Make sure you follow the guide below to get your marriage legally recognized.

Will i need witnesses to the marriage?

There is no requirement for witnesses to a marriage in Illinois.

DOES Illinois REQUIRE AN OFFICIANT FOR A WEDDING?

An officiant is required to solemnize a marriage in Illinois. Those who may perform this role include: judges (including retired judges), a city, village or town mayor, a county clerk in a county containing at least 2,000,000 residents. For religious leaders, Illinois law allows marriages “in accordance with the prescriptions of any religious denomination,” including the practices of any Indian Nation or Tribe. If those religious wedding practices require an officiant, then they must be someone who is considered to be in good standing. Ministers ordained online are qualified to perform marriage ceremonies, which is the route couples often take if they want a friend or family member to perform their wedding ceremony.

Illinois’ officiant requirements do not automatically invalidate a marriage if the officiant was not legally qualified, so long as the couple at the time, believed them to be. In other words, once you’re marriage license is signed, sealed and delivered, your marriage is likely to remain valid.

SUMMARY

So that’s it, everything you need to know about eloping in Illinois. And if you think that it could be the place to host your special day, why not give me a call to chat about your wedding? I’m an experienced elopement photographer, and an ordained minister, so in most cases I can be your officiant too!

Planning an Elopement?

Get my step-by-step guide and plan your dream elopement!

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