Congratulations! You’re getting married in Gatlinburg! You’re going to need a marriage license, and this article explains how to get one, where to get one, and why you need it for your destination wedding here in the Smoky Mountains. Relax… it’s super easy!
What is a Marriage License and Why do I Need One?
A marriage license is a legal document giving you permission to marry someone. The requirements vary from state to state, and this article focuses specifically on how and where to get a license in the state of Tennessee. In a nutshell, you must have a Tennessee marriage license in order to have a wedding ceremony anywhere in the state of Tennessee, including Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Further, there are rules concerning who can officiate that ceremony to make it a binding legal contract. The links to the courthouse in this article will address those particulars in addition to how old one must be in order to get married, etc. However, neither the courthouse links nor this article will answer questions like can you marry your first cousin twice removed or how long you have to wait after your divorce to get married again… so be sure to seek out an attorney’s advice for things like that. The Smoky Mountains thrive on people like you traveling to the area to get married, so the process of getting the license is quick, easy, and lightning fast.
Can I Use a Marriage License from Florida to Get Married in Tennessee?
You cannot use a marriage license from Florida to get married in the state of Tennessee. The same thing holds true for Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and every single one of the other states that aren’t Tennessee. One of the reasons I’m writing this article is because I’ve had to tell more than one couple getting married at our venue that the marriage license they paid for in another state is not valid in Tennessee. It’s an easy mistake to make because the logical assumption is that a marriage license is like a driver’s license, valid in all fifty states. It’s actually more like a hunting or fishing license, though. Even if you have a license to fish on your favorite lake in Georgia, you’re going to need a different one to go trout fishing in the Little Pigeon River in Tennessee.
Where Do I Get the Marriage License for my Gatlinburg Wedding?
The broad answer is you can get a marriage license for your wedding in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg at any courthouse in the state of Tennessee. It makes sense, therefore, to get the marriage license at your own county courthouse or clerk’s office if you live in Tennessee before traveling to Pigeon Forge for the wedding. It can potentially save a lot of time sitting in tourist town traffic, and will definitely give you peace of mind since it’s one less thing you have to worry about. For example, if you live in Franklin, Tennessee, I recommend going to your own Williamson County Courthouse for the marriage license. https://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/165/Licenses-Permits
If you’re traveling from another state to get married in Tennessee, it’s easier to wait until you arrive in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg to get your marriage license. There are three easy-to-find places to get your license. Be sure to double-check their hours of operation BEFORE you go, especially if you’re getting married close to a holiday like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s.
Hours & Locations
Sevierville (Pronounced Suh-veer-ville)
125 Court Avenue
Sevierville, TN 37862
Monday-Friday 8 am to 4 pm
405 Reagan Drive
Gatlinburg, TN 37788
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed from 1 to 2 p.m.
300 Pine Mountain Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Saturday ONLY 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Does the Pre-Application Process Speed Things Up?
YES, applying for your Tennessee marriage license on-line before you arrive does speed up the process. Imagine walking up to the clerk’s window, having only to give your names and show your identification, pay and leave. The clerk is smiling, you’re smiling, and everyone is happy! Now think about standing there while other people are in line behind you and having to answer sensitive questions like, “How many times have you been married before?” and “What is your social security number?” The Smoky Mountain area is one of the most sought after wedding destinations in the world, so the chances of having someone else in line at the same time you are is high, especially in peak months like October. Rest assured our county clerks are knowledgeable and organized, so honestly the wait time really isn’t that long either way. The pre-application process shaves off approximately ten to fifteen minutes of wait time for your license at the clerk’s window. If all your ducks are in a row, you can get your marriage license as quick as it takes a slippery salamander to slide through your fingers!
Pre-Apply for a Tennessee Marriage License
You may apply for the license well ahead of time, but once you pick up the license it’s only good for thirty days from the day you pick it up. The information you give in the pre-application will be forwarded to all of the Sevier County locations. This means you can pick it up in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, or Pigeon Forge during their business hours.
What Documents Do I Need to Bring to Get my Tennessee Marriage License?
You’re going to need ONE of the following:
State Issued ID
State-certified birth certificate
If you’re a legal alien without a social security number you’ll need:
Passport and American Visa with a valid expiration date
OR Resident Alien Card with valid expiration date
You’ll need to give the following information:
Parent’s full name, including maiden name of mother
Parent’s state of birth and address (if living)
Applicant’s number of prior marriages
Date last marriage ended (if applicable)
Always keep in mind that requirements are subject to change, so refer to the links provided in this article for the most up-to-date information.
How Much Does a Tennessee Marriage License Cost?
The approximate cost for a Tennessee marriage license is $100 for in-state residents and $50 for out-of-state residents. A discount is provided for in-state residents who can provide proof of pre-marital counseling. Each courthouse charges differently, so reach out to the courthouse you intend to get the license for an exact fee.
How Long Does My Tennessee Marriage License Last?
Your Tennesee marriage license is good for thirty days from the date you acquire it from the clerk’s office. Consider it a thirty-day consideration process if you will. After all, marriage is forever! If you choose not to use the license it will simply expire and you are not legally married. Also bear in mind that your officiant has three business days to return the license to be recorded at the courthouse after your ceremony. If he or she forgets to do so, you are not married. It never hurts to follow up with your officiant to make sure they’ve turned it in.
How Soon Can I Use my Tennessee Marriage License?
You may use your Tennessee marriage license immediately. Technically, if you have a qualified wedding officiant waiting at your car in the parking lot, you can get married right then and there! I doubt that’s the wedding you have in mind, though, so if this is a last-minute wedding decision consider one of the many lovely venues in our area such as Honeysuckle Hills. Honeysuckle Hills has a few different ceremony locations like a mountain view as well as a private waterfall. Another favorite elopement location of mine is Sampson’s Hollow. Even better, both these venues have all-inclusive packages for a more polished, pre-planned wedding with guests. If you’re just now starting to plan your destination wedding for the Smoky Mountains, be sure to explore both these venue’s lovely offerings and book well ahead of time for larger wedding celebrations.
If I Get a Marriage License, Does This Mean I’m Now Married?
No, you are not married by simply picking up a marriage license. You must have a wedding ceremony officiated by a minister of the Gospel, a Rabbi, Christian Science practitioner, or various civil officials such as a Tennessee Notary Republic or a judge. Again, please seek advice from your attorney when it comes to who is permitted to officiate your ceremony. Most wedding venues and chapels in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have qualified officiants either on staff or on call. There are literally hundreds of ways to get married in our mountains, so if you can’t find a place you like I swear I don’t think you want to get married at all! Once you find your perfect wedding venue, the officiant will usually help you choose your wedding vows. Many will even allow you to include some of your own vows to each other, making it even more special. After the ceremony, the officiant is required to return the license to the Tennesee courthouse that issued it within three business days. Once received, the courthouse records the marriage and you’re official! Some Tennessee courthouses will give you the official certificate right away, and once the officiant signs it the document is considered complete. The Sevier County courthouse or clerk’s office will mail your official certificate after they receive the license from your officiant. Again, it’s a good idea to follow up with your officiant after the wedding, especially if you haven’t received your official certificate in the mail after six weeks.
What If I Change My Mind the Day After the Wedding? Is There a Grace Period?
Oops… this is where that thirty-day prequel can come in handy! Don’t rush to get married unless you are absolutely, positively, 100% certain you’re ready. After the ceremony, the wedding officiant is required by law to turn in the license. If you had a ceremony, you’re married. Case closed… no turning back.
That’s Really How Easy it is to Get a Tennessee Marriage License and Get Married in the Smokies!
Pick up the License at a Tennessee courthouse or clerk’s office
Use the license within 30 days
Find a venue with a qualified officiant
Receive Your Official Marriage Certificate
Tell the World You’re in Love and got married in the Smoky Mountains!
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, consider my beautiful venue called Honeysuckle Hills for your wedding, or my friend’s lovely venue called Sampson’s Hollow. We’re both Smoky Mountain natives with a heart to serve. Your happiness means the world to us!