How To Marry an Inmate in a County Jail

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How To Marry an Inmate in a County Jail

Marrying the love of your life while they are being incarcerated in a county jail involves numerous factors you need to be aware of. All responsibilities and preparations are your concern, as your partner’s abilities to help you are limited.

Be it your highschool sweetheart or a prison pen pal that turned into a life partner, if you decide to tie the knot, you should learn about all the steps that await. This article also shows you how to keep in touch with your loved one by writing a letter to them and addressing it properly.

Is It Always Possible To Get Married in a County Jail?

County jails are places where prisoners are usually located temporarily while awaiting trial or transfer to another facility. These institutions usually don’t have adequate facilities to conduct a marriage ceremony.

That is why you and your partner have to ask for permission from the court to have the marriage ceremony organized during the regular court hours.

The court has the right to accept or reject such a request, depending on the current circumstances, the availability of facilities, and the specifics of the case. If the application is denied, you must wait for your partner's conviction or release to get married.

The court may allow the marriage ceremony to be scheduled during the inmate visitation hours. If the application gets approved, you can move on to planning and preparations.

Steps You Should Take Before Getting Married in Prison

Every U.S. state and its county jails have specific inmate marriage regulations that you need to take into consideration before starting to plan anything. Here are the three main steps to take before the big day:

  1. Obtaining a marriage license
  2. Contacting a chaplaincy service
  3. Counseling

Obtaining an Inmate Marriage License

The major point on the list of preparations is obtaining an inmate marriage license. Certain jails will request completing a so-called inmate marriage packet. This is a set of forms provided by the jail authorities you and your partner need to fill in.

Once you complete all the necessary forms and get the signed copies from your partner, you should mail the forms back to the facility. The expenses also depend on the state rules and regulations—it’s best to contact the county jail officials and inquire about this aspect on time.

Mailing a Copy of Your Marriage License to a Chaplaincy Service

Each prison has clergy members that should always be at inmates’ disposal—not only for weddings but also when prisoners need spiritual encouragement.

When your marriage license is ready, you should send a copy to a specific religious organization related to that correctional facility. The organization should select a chaplain to perform the ceremony.

Counseling Before Getting Married

Counseling isn’t a must in every state or county jail, but it’s recommendable. In most cases, it’s performed a few hours or days before the wedding. The main goal of this step is to let you and your partner get familiar with the nature of your future marriage and the ethical aspects of your new relationship.

The counselor’s task is to explain the responsibilities that await you as a couple, and the session might include some informal, spiritual advice. In the states where counseling is the necessary step, you need to submit proof that shows you and your partner have completed it.

What Documents Do You Need for Getting Married to an Inmate?

Apart from obtaining a marriage license, both you and your future spouse need to add more documents that prove you can legally marry. These might include your IDs, passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, or any other official document that has a photograph on it.

The main purpose of these documents is to confirm that you and your partner are residents of the state where you want to get married and that none of you is currently living in a marital union.

What Does Getting Married in Prison Look Like?

The marriage ceremony performed in prison doesn’t resemble regular weddings in any way except for the exchange of vows. The county jail officials supervise every aspect of such an event, and the presence of the newlyweds’ family or friends isn’t permitted.


Some jails require the presence of witnesses, but chosen persons must be on the inmate’s approved visiting list. Certain county jails even allow you to get married without witnesses if you obtain a so-called confidential marriage license.

Wedding Rings

Depending on the inmate’s case and the overall circumstances, you might be able to exchange wedding rings, but in most jails, that’s still forbidden. If the jail officials allow the rings, they need to be simple and inconspicuous.

Dress Code

The outfits shouldn’t be different from everyday attire. Most jails forbid the clothes that might look similar to the inmate’s clothes regarding colors or patterns, such as military clothes or orange, khaki, or green colored shirts or trousers.

Physical Contact

What can also be disappointing is the lack of physical intimacy, as too much physical contact counts as a suspicious activity. Officials will probably allow a short kiss or hug, while all other close interactions will have to wait. Conjugal visits are becoming less common in all U.S. states. Don’t be surprised if you don’t have a few hours of privacy after the ceremony, as almost no one does.

Check the table below for additional info regarding jail marriage ceremonies:

Allowed Prohibited
  • Taking a few photographs
  • Exchanging religious pieces of jewelry, such as cross necklaces
  • Gifts
  • Music
  • Glitter
  • Confetti
  • Revealing clothes
  • Exchanging jewelry except for simple wedding bands

DoNotPay Enables You To Communicate With Your Incarcerated Spouse With No Fuss

Inmate phone services like GTL or Securus might be too pricey, and you might not get a chance to tell your loved one everything you want during those time-limited calls. Why not add a touch of romance by sending them a letter whenever you want?

DoNotPay offers a perfect feature that enables you to write a letter to a prisoner and personalize it. As prisoners aren’t allowed to access their email, we will print out your message and send it as a physical letter.

To use the feature, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to DoNotPay from your
  2. Go to the Connect With an Inmate section and select the Send a Personalized Letter feature
  3. Provide the necessary information about the inmate
  4. Compose a letter or use one of our templates
  5. Click on Allow Replies to enable responses

Every reply you get goes to your mailbox—make sure to check them in the Connect With an Inmate category by clicking on Virtual Mailbox.

How To Locate an Inmate With DoNotPay

Aside from enabling you to forward your words of comfort to your spouse or partner, DoNotPay can also help you find out the precise location of any inmate in the USA thanks to an advanced search tool.

Here’s how you can take advantage of this feature:

  1. Open DoNotPay and find Connect With an Inmate
  2. Choose Locate Someone
  3. Input the state and the name of the prisoner

Our browsing system will scan all inmate databases and find the inmate fast, providing you with their exact physical address.

Let DoNotPay Be Your Advisor

DoNotPay cares about your communication with your imprisoned loved one. Let us teach you how to write love letters and send inmate care packages to let them know you think about them.

Interested in making pen pals? Check out our tips for finding them in Texas, Ohio, Florida, California, or anywhere else in the States.

After getting in touch with your imprisoned loved one, you might also want to take care of other everyday issues that require a piece of expert advice. DoNotPay would love to help.

Countless practical DoNotPay tips are accessible from any . Here’s a full list:

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