I was researching the rules and regulations of having a Missouri wedding and some of the legal speak made me laugh. Most of it procedure is pretty straight forward and I imagine in general a Missouri wedding is not a whole lot different from one in Arizona or Oregon. But a couple of items on the old checklist just make me scratch my head. But who am I to judge?
Speaking of a judge, any couple that wants to tie the knot and have a Missouri wedding needs to get a marriage license from the county courthouse of the county they reside in. It goes without saying that the couple needs to get the marriage license before the wedding. But you never know, maybe there's a young couple out there who wants to save time and have their Missouri wedding first, and then take care of the paperwork. Sorry. It doesn't work that way!
The happy couple needs to provide identification in order to get the marriage license. Usually a birth certificate or driver's license will suffice. Both the bride and groom have to voluntarily consent to be married. It take about 10 - 15 days to process the marriage license for a Missouri wedding, and once that is out of the way the couple needs to get married within 30 days. Let me re-phrase that: they don't need to do anything. I honestly think the "have the Missouri wedding within 30 days" clause actually gives couples an opportunity to change their minds if they were looking for a way out.
Now here's where the fun begins! For a Mo marriage to occur, both parties need to be at least 18 years of age. As long as they are 18 years of age then mom and dad can't butt their noses in and ruin everything. However, if the individuals are between 15 and 18 years of age they need written permission from a parent or legal guardian. No why would any parent give permission to their underage son or daughter to marry? I know what you're thinking, "Well - of course, if one of them is pregnant!" Aaak! I don't want to open up a can of worms here, but is that really a good reason for a Mo wedding?
What strikes me as odd is that if the girl is under 18 and the groom is over 18; doesn't that mean they have to wait? You're telling me that if my fiancé is 15 and I'm... I don't know... 20 years old, all I need is her mother's consent? Apparently in Missouri their drinking a lot more than just milk.
But wait, it gets better. If the individuals are under 15 then they need a court order to have a Missouri wedding. A court order? Under 15? Are we in Missouri or Arkansas? At this point the legal speak involved here isn't nearly are worrisome as the thought that somewhere a Missouri wedding is taking place with an underage bride or groom. Suddenly this discussion is a lot less funny.
Getting back to the procedure for a Missouri wedding, once the license has been obtained and the couple - if they're underage - has their parent's permission. Then they only need a member of the clergy to make the union binding and legal. Missouri doesn't recognize common law marriage - I can't understand why not, they seem to think it's ok for 14 years to get hitched - but if the couple had a common law marriage outside of the state of Missouri than they can petition the court to have the union recognized by Missouri law.
Well just when I thought I'd heard it all, I heard about a Missouri wedding. Now I'm curious how the other 49 states compare.