Ready to tie the knot but don’t want the big fuss of a wedding? Many couples are opting for smaller more intimate ceremonies these days. There’s so many ways to get married here in Milwaukee, but how do you go about it?
Elopements: Technically an elopement is a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved with the intention of getting married. However, to be legally married in Milwaukee, you need to plan ahead for your “sudden” wedding as marriage licenses must be obtained 7 days prior to the wedding date. So while you can elope, you’re going to have to keep it quiet for 7 days prior!
Requirements for a Milwaukee County Marriage License: Read carefully before you go to get your marriage license!
- You must have a set wedding date no more than 30 days from the day you apply, but no less than 7 days.
- One of you must be a Milwaukee resident to obtain a marriage license. You may use the license in any county in Wisconsin to marry once you have it. Be sure to have your correct information on your drivers license, or bring a bank statement or utility bill.
- The fee for a marriage license is $110, they accept only cash or credit cards (but credit cards have a 3% convenience fee!)
- You must be 18 years of age, or if you are 16-17 you must have parental or guardian consent.
- You must apply together in person with a valid photo ID (drivers license)
- You must have a certified birth certificate. Photocopies are not acceptable,so make sure it’s certified. Not sure? Call the hospital where you were born and ask how to obtain a certified copy.
- You must supply your social security numbers.
- If you were previously married, you need to bring a divorce certificate, legal annulment or certified death certificate. You may not marry until 6 months after a previous divorce.
- You must provide the name and address of the person who will be conducting your ceremony.
Courthouse Weddings: Sometimes referred to as a “civil ceremony” you can be married in the Milwaukee County Courthouse. These ceremonies are usually performed by a Judge or a Clerk of Court who has the authority to legal marry you. The ceremonies are brief, about 5-7 minutes and you may bring witnesses and they may be professionally photographed. At the Milwaukee County Courthouse you can get married Monday through Friday by appointment only. If you’re wanting a Friday wedding plan ahead as they are the most popular days and they do fill up. The fee for courthouse weddings is $100 payable on the day. Don’t forget to bring your marriage license!
Small Event Weddings: Are you planning a smaller wedding with just a few guests? You may be thinking of having a member of the clergy, a friend who has been ordained, or a judge to marry you. If this is the case, be sure to take that information with you when you obtain the license. But here’s a fun fact: did you know in Wisconsin you technically don’t need anyone to marry you ? You do need witnesses and a marriage certificate, but you can just exchange vows with no officiant: Check out this state statue
“Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The 2 parties may, by themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.”
Cream City Weddings is proud to provide quality photography for small events, elopements and courthouse weddings in Milwaukee county. Just because you’re having a smaller event or wedding doesn’t mean your memories are any less important. Whether you want just an hour of coverage or a few hours more while you go to a local park or grab a brew together we’ll capture your special day for you with flair.