How to Arrange a Prison Marriage

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that inmates constitutionally have the right to marry. The ceremony will likely not be one that most of us envision for our wedding day, but even without the trappings of a big white dress, 200 guests, and a flock of white doves, the end result is a legally recognized and binding marriage. Arranging a prison marriage can be a bit more complicated than a traditional wedding, but with proper research and careful adherence to policies and rules, a prison marriage can be arranged and finalized.


    • 1

      Contact the facility where the incarcerated party of the intended marriage is housed. Do this in the form of a letter. Your letter should be addressed to the Office of the Chaplain and must include the name and prisoner ID number of the inmate you are writing on behalf of.

    • 2

      Instruct the incarcerated party to contact the prison chaplain's office also. This step will allow them to gain all of the updated and pertinent procedures for further arranging the prison marriage and to pass along to you any actions that must be performed by a nonincarcerated person.

    • 3

      Obtain necessary legal documents to prove that the nonincarcerated person is not presently married. This usually includes a copy of the person's birth certificate and if applicable, divorce papers from previous marriages.

    • 4

      Wait for approval from the prison. Once your petition to be married is approved, you will be given a specific wedding date or window of time in which you will be allowed to marry.

    • 5

      Apply for a marriage license from the County Clerk in the county where the nonincarcerated party lives. These licenses are time sensitive, so it is wise to adhere to the step above and have an approved marriage date in place before applying.

    • 6

      Find out if the incarcerated party will be allowed to wear a wedding band and what the value limit is. A simple, thin band is the best way to go. It is extremely unlikely that any correctional facility will allow an extravagant or valuable ring to be worn.

Tips & Warnings

  • The specific rules, regulations and policies of prison marriage varies by state and by institution and may deviate from these general procedures. It is important that you research your specific state and prison's rules.
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  • Photo Credit Indeed/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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