Notaries are sometimes called upon to witness the signing of marriage documents, which is one market mobile notaries can specialize in. Can notaries also actually perform marriages? The answer is, it depends on where you are.
Marriage laws vary by location. There are currently three states and one county where notaries can perform (“solemnize”) marriages:
- In Florida, notaries may solemnize marriages. See the Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries for details about how Florida notaries must handle dealing with original marriage licenses vs. photocopied documents, obtaining a proper marriage license from a county court judge or clerk of the circuit court, performing a marriage ceremony, making and filing a certificate on a marriage license, fee limits, presiding over the marriage of relatives, verifying marriage license expiration dates, obtaining signatures from additional witnesses, dealing with situations where law officers are acting as notaries, recording marriage ceremonies in notary journals, and dealing with couples who have obtained their marriage license in another state, and other topics.
- In Maine, notaries may perform marriage ceremonies. See Maine’s Notary Public Handbook and Resource Guide for details about how Maine notaries must handle advertising of marriage-performing services, obtaining a proper marriage license from a municipal office, dealing with original marriage licenses vs. photocopied documents, assembling witnesses for marriage ceremonies, using seals on marriage licenses, keeping records of marriage ceremonies, filing marriage licenses with municipal offices, advising couples of the distinction between marriage licenses and marriage certificates, and presiding over the marriage of relatives.
- In South Carolina, notaries may perform marriage ceremonies. See the South Carolina Notary Public Reference Manual for details about how South Carolina notaries must handle marriage license certification, checking marriage license expiration dates, witnessing signatures, signing and dating marriage licenses, creating copies of marriage licenses, using seals on marriage licenses, filing marriage licenses, and conducting marriage ceremonies.
- In Louisiana, West Feliciana County has special rules regarding notaries performing marriages. For details, contact the Louisiana Secretary of State Notary Division or the West Feliciana Parish Clerk of Court.
In places where notaries are not authorized to perform marriages, notaries should be careful to follow correct procedure when witnessing marriage document signings. Check your own state regulations for details.