In Erie county, wedding ceremonies may be performed by clergy from various religious denominations as well as judges, city mayors and justices of the peace. Civil weddings are performed by appointment at the Erie County Municipal Court. Regardless of who officiates your wedding, a crucial step in getting married is to obtain a marriage license.
Reserve the Date
By Pennsylvania law, any ordained minister of any established church or congregation, judges and Justices of Peace may perform wedding ceremonies. City mayors are also authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in Erie. To book a civil ceremony, call the clerk of the Erie County Municipal Court at (419) 499-4689 to discuss your requirements and reserve a date. At least one of you must live in Erie County. The ceremony will be performed at the Erie County Municipal Court house, usually in the courtroom.
Gather Your Documents
You both will need to produce the documents listed below in order to obtain a marriage license, which you must then take to the wedding ceremony. If between 16 and 18 years of age, you'll also need parental consent to the marriage.
- Photo ID
- Social Security Number
- Current address
- Your parents' address, occupation, and state where they were born
- Mother's maiden name
- Divorce decrees from previous marriages
- Evidence of resumption of maiden name from previous marriages, if applicable
- Death certificates for deceased spouses
Get a Marriage License
Go to the Erie County Marriage License Bureau, Room 123, Erie County Courthouse, 140 W. 6th Street in Erie no more than 60 days before the wedding date; it's a good idea to apply for your license a couple of weeks before the wedding. Fill out the marriage license application together. Provide your documents and pay the application fee of $45. Blood tests are not required, but you will have to have a brief interview to establish that you are of sound mind and sober. There's a mandatory waiting period of three days before you receive the marriage license. You then have 60 days to get the marriage officiated.
Getting Married and After the Ceremony
On the day of the wedding, bring your Erie county courthouse marriage license to the courthouse at the allotted time. You don't need witnesses, but the court encourages you to bring guests to share the celebration. You can also take pictures. The officiant or justice of the peace will fill out and sign a "Return of Marriage" form and give it to you and your spouse. This document is proof that the marriage took place. File the form at the clerk's desk straight away. If you forget, and more than 60 days passes between obtaining the marriage license and filing the Return of Marriage, you'll have to fill out another license application and pay the fees again.
A former corporate real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and personal finance, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.