Do you need witness to marry in Virginia?

Answered by Willie Powers

In the state of Virginia, witnesses are not required for a marriage to be legally valid. The only individuals who must be present during the ceremony are the couple getting married and the officiant who is authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to perform marriages.

Unlike some other states or countries where witnesses are required to sign the marriage license, Virginia does not have such a requirement. The couple simply needs to obtain a marriage license from their local circuit court and have it properly completed and signed by both parties and the officiant. Once the license is returned and recorded by the court, the marriage is considered legally recognized.

This absence of a witness requirement can be advantageous for couples who prefer a more intimate and private ceremony. It allows them to exchange vows and officially marry without the need for additional attendees. Some couples may choose to have a small, intimate wedding with just the two of them and the officiant, while others may opt for a simple elopement.

However, it is important to note that while witnesses are not required, it is always a good idea to have someone present who can sign as a witness if the couple wishes to do so. This can be a close friend, family member, or even a photographer or videographer who is documenting the ceremony. While their presence is not legally necessary, having a witness can provide additional sentimental value and serve as a reminder of the special day.

It is also worth mentioning that although Virginia does not require witnesses, some religious or cultural traditions may have their own requirements. In such cases, it is important to consult with your officiant or religious leader to determine if witnesses are necessary based on your specific circumstances.

No witnesses are required for a marriage to be legally recognized in Virginia. The couple and the officiant are the only individuals who must be present during the ceremony. However, it is advisable to have a witness present if the couple desires, as it can add sentimental value and serve as a reminder of the special occasion.