How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Jail?

Last Updated on December 15, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

First off, can you even get married while serving a sentence in prison? The short answer is Yes. It is your given right to get married while serving a sentence in prison, and the restrictions imposed on this are very limited.

US prisoners have the fundamental right to marry, according to a US Supreme Court ruling from 1987, in the Turner v. Safley case. This holds true even while you are in prison.

Your request to marry will be approved by the facility warden. So what are the few restrictions you should know about? First off, both persons that are engaged to be married must be eligible for marriage. Next, your request can be denied by the warden if they consider the marriage a security threat to their facility.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Jail?

First off, even though you are incarcerated, you can still hold your wedding ceremony outside the prison walls, most of the time. So, depending on whether you get married inside or outside of the facility, the final costs will differ quite considerably.

When having the ceremony inside the facility, you will only have to pay the marriage license fee, which is somewhere around $60 to $90 depending on your state’s laws.

If your state requires that you sign the papers inside the county clerk’s office, you will also have to pay all expenses related to your transportation, including mileage costs and the salary and benefits of the transporting officers. These costs will be calculated depending on the distance between the prison and the clerk’s office.

If, on the other hand, you get married outside of the facility in which you are incarcerated, aside from the above expenses, you will also have to consider the costs of booking the desired location and any other expenses related to the ceremony itself.

Helpful websites for getting married in prison

Courtly offers a convenient and streamlined online marriage experience tailored for couples in prison seeking a more hassle-free process. The website can help complete the full process online and from any location, and after the online marriage ceremony, a digital copy of the US marriage certificate is provided, followed by a physical copy within a few business days.

LASD.org provides detailed steps that must be taken prior to marriages taking place inside Men’s Central Jail, including obtaining a confidential marriage license from the County Clerk and paying any required fees.

My Dream Ceremony offers inmate/jail/prisoner/detention marriage process help services to brides/grooms within Riverside and San Bernardino County, including performing all weddings in English and Spanish, and providing a professional wedding officiant, travel to the notary or County Recorder to obtain a Marriage license, counseling when needed, and performing the ceremony at the detention center.

Tulare County Sheriff – CA.gov outlines the procedure for inmate marriages, which includes obtaining a confidential marriage license from the County Clerk and obtaining all necessary documents and paying any required fees.

How Do You Have a Jail Wedding?

Paperwork will be needed when getting married in prison, just like in the case of binding your destinies and having your vows outside of prison. There are a few steps listed by The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that you should go over before you start to prepare for this event. These steps are:

Submit a Request to Marry

Each facility has the necessary forms that people will have to submit when requesting to marry. This form should be filled out properly and then delivered to the right official.

Check Whether You are Eligible

After an application is submitted, prison officials will have to check and see whether the incarcerated person is actually eligible to get married. Among the things that are checked before the approval is your current marriage status to make sure that you aren’t already married.

You might also like our articles on the cost of a courthouse wedding, a Mar-a-Lago wedding, or a Roloff Farm Wedding.

Ensuring That You are Mentally Fit

As soon as you are confirmed eligible to get married in a correctional institution, authorities will also have to ensure your mental competence. This won’t be performed through your usual exam. What they do instead is go over your records. This is to ensure that you are aware and fully understand what you’re getting into.

Contact Your Future Spouse

As soon as you are confirmed mentally healthy and eligible, a representative of the facility will get in contact with your future spouse. This is to confirm that the person wants to get married to you. At this point, they can give this person public information available on your file.

A Safety Determination Will be Made

As a final step, authorities will make sure the marriage won’t represent a threat to the facility or any individual in it. The unit team assigned to you will go over this with the Captain and a decision will have to be made.

Receiving the Final Notification and Ceremony Planning

As soon as a decision will be made by the prison system, a representative will get in touch with you. If you’re ne of the unlucky ones that have their request rejected, you will also get a reason for the refusal. A copy of this notification will be added to your central file. As soon as you get a notification that your marriage request was approved, you can start to plan the wedding.

Where can you have the ceremony if you’re in prison?

Prison WeddingDue to your status, you will have some limitations related to how you plan the ceremony and where you can hold it.

Aside from the money limitation that we went over at the beginning of the article, there are other things you will have to take into account.

For example, you will have limitations when it comes to the location of the ceremony. You can put in a furlough request for the wedding only if you’re eligible for furlough. If this request is approved, you can get married outside the prison walls.

People who aren’t eligible for furlough will have to get married inside the facility. Your warden will usually approve this if your ceremony doesn’t represent a threat to the facility itself or the people inside it.

You will also be limited when it comes to who you can appoint to perform this ceremony. You can opt for a justice of the peach, community clergy, or even the BOP chaplain to hold your ceremony.


If you want to get married while in prison, you can. As long as you and your partner are eligible to marry, you shouldn’t face any problems.

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