Complete Guide to Online Marriages

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on August 25, 2022

In the past two years, many people have had to postpone their weddings. The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped many in-person events, including social distancing norms and lockdown mandates in several areas.

The world may have stopped for some time, but it has not stopped wedding season. Couples eager to get married have sought non-traditional forms of marriage ceremonies that help keep communities safe and uphold centuries-old traditions of getting two people bound together. But are virtual weddings in for the long haul? This article will discuss everything there is to know about online weddings and how long they might be here to stay.

Online Marriages Explained

Online marriages have become a raging trend among couples, especially those who have already delayed their nuptials for a significant period due to the pandemic. Keeping in mind the restrictions and dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic, many see online weddings as the way to go. There is no guarantee that the situation will completely go back to normal, leading to uncertainty that has pushed many to have their weddings online.

Marriages are now planned, executed, streamed, and officiated online, with people joining in across the world via video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, or other similar services. Online wedding services have become easy to organize with a host of wedding planners and event management companies offering customized online wedding packages for couples. These teams are tech-savvy and know how to harness the power of the internet to make the event a success.

Online weddings start with a customized e-invite, along with social media accounts documenting the couple’s journey. The e-invite contains the link address to the online wedding event. With online weddings, the guest list can be highly customizable, with couples having the liberty to invite whoever they want to their online wedding event.

Once the date is set, it is time to set the scene. Wedding planners help arrange the wedding location or the place where the video conferencing will take place. This is where couples can choose what they want with their wedding decor and food. And since online weddings are a small affair, they are incredibly cost-effective too!

On the day of the wedding, everybody joins in on the celebrations by logging in to the event via the link provided. Through video conferencing, people have the chance to come together safely and celebrate the union of their friends, family members, or loved ones. Online weddings have filled the gap left by events and gatherings that populated our social calendar. With restrictions easing across the country, many have taken to hybrid weddings where they conduct an in-person wedding and stream it online for those who couldn’t attend.

Which States Have Online Weddings?

The news may have you thinking that online weddings are legal across America. But this is not true. Currently, there are a few states that allow for online weddings. But in most other states, the existing marriage laws prevent such ceremonies from being legally acceptable and binding. In other cases, states have not come out with clear guidelines for online marriages and wedding ceremonies, making it difficult to plan such events.


California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on April 30th, 2020, allowing Californian residents to register and obtain marriage licenses online instead of in person. He declared this executive order in a tweet, “NEW: CA will now allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing for the next 60 days.” This executive order makes it easier for couples to conduct legally approved weddings via video conferencing. The only binding condition is the presence of both parties and at least one witness who joins the live video conferencing event.

The mandate has been extended through December 31st, 2021.

New York

Like California, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing virtual wedding ceremonies from April 18th, 2020. The executive order was announced as part of his daily coronavirus briefing and via his Twitter account as follows, “NEW: I am issuing an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.”

This means people in New York can now hold official wedding ceremonies on their preferred video conferencing app, with the assistance of marriage clerks to officiate the wedding. Engaged couples can apply for their marriage licenses online because of this order.

The executive order makes it easier for New Yorkers to get married. Under typical New York law, couples need to visit the marriage license office in person to get their wedding officiated. It is essential to know that this executive order is a temporary provision and not a permanent addition.


In March of 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis passed an executive order that allows clerks to give out marriage licenses via an application submitted through the mail instead of an in-person appointment. Like other executive orders issued by New York and California, the Colorado order allows engaged couples to register and conduct home marriages and apply for a marriage license.

The news was shared all across Colorado government social media handles, with the Boulder County Clerk tweeting, “Hey @bouldercounty residents – Getting married soon? Don’t fret! Our offices may be closed to the public, but we can now complete a marriage license application over video chat & mail you docs!”

It is important to note that this option will be removed after December 31st, 2021.


Compared to the above three states, things have been done a bit differently in Ohio. In Ohio, there are only some counties that have made changes to their marriage laws.

In all of the above cases, it is essential to note that officiants cannot solemnize marriages via online video conferencing.


How to Get Married Online in California

Californians can get a marriage license from their local county clerk by applying online and via video conferencing. However, they need to meet the following criteria to obtain a marriage license in California:

  • Both adults should be residents of California
  • Both adults need to be present for the online marriage ceremony being conducted via video conferencing
  • Both adults should have a valid photo ID at the time of the video conference
  • The video conference must have at least one other witness present

Upon meeting all of the above conditions, the couple will receive their marriage license from the marriage clerk via email, officially recognizing their marriage.

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If you are looking to get married sometime soon, be sure to read the guidelines for your respective state before planning your dream wedding. In many cases, people have postponed their wedding events to a later time when larger gatherings will be more appropriate. Still, if you are ready to get married, online weddings are a trending, low-cost option to consider. And who knows, online weddings may become a standard fixture in our ever-evolving society.

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