Self-uniting Marriage in Philadelphia

Have you heard of a self-uniting marriage?


There are many things to consider when planning your wedding day and the type of marriage license you get may not be something you have thought much about. I am going to share a little bit about this intriguing option of self-uniting that allows you to marry yourselves (with a couple of witnesses).



What is a Self-uniting Marriage

A self-uniting marriage(also known as a Quaker Marriage) is a bit different than a traditional marriage. When you go an apply for your marriage license you ask for a self-uniting marriage license instead of a regular one. The self-uniting license is a document that allows a couple to be legally married with only the presence of the couple and two witnesses(over the age of 18). It allows you to marry yourselves and this alleviates the need for an officiant, religious leader, or judge to be present and allows you can get married just about anywhere you please within the state that it is issued. This practice reflects Quaker principles of simplicity and equality and can appeal to many couples of all faiths.





Is A Self-uniting Marriage Legal in All States?

Self-uniting is not legal in all states of the United States. In fact, only in a handful of states in the US allow this special kind of license. If you haven’t heard of it before it may be because you are not able to get one in the state you live in. Pennsylvania happens to be one of the states where it is legal and Philadelphia allows you to apply for and receive a Self-Uniting Licence right at Philadelphia City Hall’s Marriage License Bureau. If you live in PA, like I do, this is definitely an option for you to consider when going to get your marriage license.








Is a Self-uniting Marriage Just For Elopements?

Self-uniting marriages are not just for elopements, small weddings, or micro celebrations. They are for weddings of any size big or small. They are for any couple who wants to unite themselves no matter the size of the guest list. The core of it remains the same, the couple is marrying themselves and this is what makes it unique. The number of people cheering and clapping could be a ballroom of hundreds or just their two witnesses.

This can give couples freedom in creating their ceremony any way they choose from a huge celebration to a quiet union. It is nice to have options and some couples find it a refreshing alternative, opening up possibilities for them to plan a marriage ceremony differently.



How Much Does the Self-uniting Marriage License Cost?

In Philadelphia, the self-uniting marriage license costs $100.00. A regular marriage license is $90.00. Although slightly more then a regular license, the cost difference is not a whole lot. In different counties and different sates, the cost may be different. Reach out directly to the office you plan to go to for all the details.



Why do some couples Choose to have a Self-Uniting Marriage?

Couples can choose a self-uniting marriage for any number of reasons. Some couples do it because it allows them to not have to hire an officiant, other couples choose this option because it gives them a bit more flexibility, others do it because they like the idea of declaring themselves married rather than someone else declaring them married. A self-uniting marriage puts the power in the couple’s hands and that in itself can be appealing for some. The self-uniting marriage remains a compelling option for couples to unite in love and marriage.






How Do You Get a Self-uniting Marriage License in Philadelphia

There are a number of steps you have to go through to get your marriage license in Philadelphia so planning ahead is a good idea. You first have to go in person and apply for your license. Both members of the couple need to appear in person together along with all the required documents. In Philadelphia, you would go to the Office of the Register of Wills/Marriage Licence Department which is located in Philadelphia City Hall. They are open for walk-ins Monday through Friday from 8 am – 3 pm.

Check the website for the specific documents that you need to bring with you. It’s important to note that once you get your license there is a 3-day waiting period before you can use it and it expires after 60 days. Keep in mind that you will have to request specifically that you are interested in a self-uniting license rather than a traditional marriage license as they require different forms and different costs. Also, remember you do need to go back to the Marriage Licence Department to get your official marriage certificate after you get married.

Here is the contact information:

 Register of Wills /Marriage Licence 

413 City Hall, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 686-2233

Check the City of Philadelphia website directly for the latest and most up-to-date information including how to apply, what to bring, confirm walk-in hours, and get any questions answered.



Philadelphia Wedding Planning

Weddings are very personal and how you decided to get married is personal too. If you live in PA, then one of the many choices you will have is deciding if you want to go with a traditional marriage license or a self-uniting marriage license (also called a Quaker marriage license).

If you are in the process of planning your Philadelphia wedding you will want to check out this blog page just for you, Philadelphia Wedding Planning, which has all kinds of tips, information, and inspiration for planning your celebration. Anyone who is in this planning process knows it can be a mix of exciting and overwhelming. There are many choices to make and factors to consider. If you are looking for some hyper-local Philadelphia area insight I hope the planning page is useful. From elopement photography packages to Restaurant wedding venues, from creating wedding timelines to unconventional Philadelphia wedding venues, this page is sure to serve as an invaluable resource in sparking ideas and putting together the Philadelphia wedding day that you dream of.