Weddings

I Want To Weddings
Weddings in the Justice Courts

Arizona law gives judges the authority to perform marriage ceremonies. In fact, ‘marry people’ is the most common answer people give when asked if they know what a Justice of the Peace does.  Truly, though, weddings are just a small part of what happens in the courthouse. But- they are the best part of a judge’s day!

What to Know
Photo of a couple holding hands

In the Maricopa County Justice Courts, weddings are a discretionary function rather than a mandatory function of the court. Therefore, a judge will not interrupt or delay any court proceeding in order to perform a marriage ceremony. Weddings are conducted after 5 p.m.

You may call ahead to make an appointment or simply walk into the courthouse. In either case, make sure to arrive well before 4:30 p.m. to ensure you have enough time to clear security and sign in at the court window. Courthouse doors lock at precisely 5 p.m. and no one may enter after that.

All judges perform same-sex and opposite-sex weddings alike. Some judges can do ceremonies in Spanish. Some judges will also conduct weddings for active military members at no cost during the day. Call first to ask.

The busiest days for weddings tend to be special calendar dates:  Valentine’s Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and days of numerological significance (2/2/22, 2/3/23, etc). Plan extra time for arrival, sign-in, and completion of the ceremony on these days.

You can see the locations and contact information for all 26 Justice Courts here.

What to Bring
  • two witnesses who are age 18 or over;
  • payment for the ceremony;
  • the marriage license*.

*Note: The Clerk of the Superior Court issues most marriage licenses. There are also seven Justice Courts which can issue a marriage license on-site: Agua Fria, Country Meadows, East Mesa, Highland, Ironwood, Maryvale, and White Tank.

Marriage licenses may be used for same-day weddings but are valid for one year from the date of issue.

What's the Cost

The cost of the actual ceremony is set by the individual judge and may vary from one to another. Please call ahead to ask. This is cash only because it takes place in the courtroom where the judge cannot process checks, credit cards, or money orders.

The marriage license costs $83. The Clerk of Court accepts cash, money orders, or credit card. The Justice Courts listed above which can issue the license accept only money orders made payable to Clerk of Superior Court.

To see the legal requirements, locations, application forms, and other options for the license, visit this page.

What to Expect
photo of wedding rings

Whether you have an appointment or are a walk-in, check in at the court window so the judge knows you are there. Wait in the lobby or hallway until your name or number is called.

We recognize that weddings are momentous occasions and should be memorialized. Still, you will see signs at each courthouse prohibiting taking photos and video in the building. The judge will likely waive this rule, but you must ask his or her permission first. Even in a courthouse, your wedding is a special day.

This is a civil (legal) ceremony, not a religious one. It will take about 10-15 minutes and will occur in the courtroom. The judge will lead the wedding and ask the couple to say their vows. Upon completion, they and their witnesses will sign the top and bottom of the marriage certificate. The judge will keep the bottom portion and file it with the Clerk of the Court within 30 days as required by law.

The newlyweds walk out married!

What are the Exceptions

Ironwood Justice Court in Gila Bend does not hold marriage ceremonies on-site. Contact the court to schedule a location and date.

Some judges will marry active military members by appointment during the lunch hour or during court hours as long as there is no other matter pending. These weddings are done at no cost (wedding only; license is separate).