How to Elope in Texas
A Step by Step guide to elope in Texas,
and a few hacks :)
Obtaining the marriage license
First step is getting the marriage license. Exciting, right? but don’t wait super last minute. There is a 72 hour waiting period. Don’t be too eager either. It expires if not used within 90 days.
The license can be obtained from any county clerk's office and manyTexas counties now offer an online application process.
Every county has it’s own requirements so I included a link below with detailed marriage license information for some of Texas' most populous counties, but keep in mind that some counties have less requirements than others, so you can always kind of shop around to find the best fit for you.
The one rule that applies to all counties: both applicants must be 18 years-old, present and provide:
- A Valid government issued photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include: drivers license, passport, military ID or an identification card issued by Texas or another state, the United States or a foreign government.
- A Social Security number. You are not required to show your social security card. You just need to have the number.
Cost of Marriage License
Most marriage licenses are $81 in Texas and cash and cards are accepted as payment. A convenience fee will he added for cards and No checks are accepted.
*Little hack to get a discount. Do the premarital class and they will deduct $60 from the fee.
You know those premarital classes I was just talking about …
The course is an eight hour training both you and your spouse-to-be can attend to learn conflict management, communication skills and key elements for building a healthy marriage.
Once you complete it, you will receive a certificate of completion which is valid for one full year. All you have to do is show it to the county clerk, and you get a $60.00 discount off the marriage license fee. It also waives the state required 72-hour waiting period.
For more information on how to complete the pre-marital training course, you can check out the Twogether In Texas website. PS: Some organizations offer the class for free.
Now, Who can conduct the marriage ceremony?
The State of Texas allows quite a few people to marry you. Here is the list:
- a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest
- a Jewish rabbi
- an officer of a religious organization authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies
- judges/magistrates/associate judges (current or retired) of federal courts located in Texas, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas Courts of Appeals, Texas district, county, probate, and justice of the peace courts and Texas municipal courts.
- my husband ( he has a license)
Same Sex Marriage?
Thankfully, Same Sex Marriage is now Legal and the marriage application process is the same for every couple in Texas, as it should have been way before 2015.
Most counties do not require residency in Texas. Both Collin county and Dallas county don’t have residency requirements. But some counties like Tarrant county require proof of state residency or a $100 Out-of-State Applicant fee will be assessed if neither applicant is able to prove Texas residency. So keep that in mind. And remember, you can “shop around” from county to county to find what works for you.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces of the United States and are on active duty, or if you obtain a waiver from District Court, you can skip the 72 hours waiting period:
What if we want to skip these formalities?
Texas is pretty cool, so yep, you can skip all the formalities and have an Informal Marriage also known as Common Law Marriage.
It is a valid and legal way for a couple to marry in Texas. Texas law states that a common law marriage may be proved by evidence that the couple:
“agreed to be married”; and
“after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife”; and they
“represented to others that they were married”
Both applicants must appear in person to file a Declaration of Informal Marriage. The couple must list the date on the declaration from which they have considered themselves married and provide valid identification (State Issued I.D., Driver's License, Passport, etc.) Cost is $37.00.
So let's say you were thinking about eloping somewhere remote or in another country, you can totally go ahead, no need to worry about an officiant or paperwork, and then you simply come back to Texas and declare yourself married.
Added Bonus: you can pick the day you eloped as your anniversary, or the day of your first date, or another meaningful date. Basically any date you want. How cool, right?
What if we don’t want to be legally married at all but want to celebrate our love?
Also totally possible!! Commitment Ceremonies are just as beautiful and meaningful as a marriage ceremony.
You get to dress up all the same, write meaningful vows to each other, you get a passionate first kiss, you get a first dance. You get it all! As your elopement photographer, I am here to help you with all the details to plan your celebration of love.
I hope this was informative. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. As your elopement photographer, I am here to capture beautiful memories but also to help you plan those memories.