Here’s How to Get Your Marriage License During Philly’s Yellow Phase
Make an appointment with the Register of Wills.
With Philadelphia in the yellow phase as of June 5, the Register of Wills is beginning to resume in-person marriage services — if you make an appointment. It’s a welcome sign for the countless couples whose wedding plans were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Folks have not been able to obtain a license since early March, when the region was put on quarantine. In early April, the ROW began providing virtual self-uniting licenses to couples in extreme emergency situations: life-threatening health issues, front-line first responders, members of the military, duos who were planning to marry but are now in need of a faster timeline to add health insurance for those with medical conditions, and visa holders with an upcoming departure date. Some 2,214 applied or inquired, and 511 were obtained.
Couples seeking to obtain their licenses can call 215-686-6250 (leave a message on the voicemail) or email email@example.com. Dedicated marriage license clerks are responding remotely to those emails or returning phone calls, and have started scheduling appointments, which will begin in-person the week of June 29th. Walk-ins are highly discouraged due to social distancing guidelines as it likely will result in a wait and lines during a time when businesses must continue to restrict large gatherings. (You will be required to comply with City Hall’s COVID-19 guidelines as well, available here. While City Hall is not technically open, ROW staff will work with visitors and building security to provide an accurate appointment schedule so you can enter.) Emergency self-uniting licenses will also still be granted. (Here’s how to do it.) This will remain in effect through the duration of the yellow phase.
The Register of Wills’s marriage license department is taking calls and answering voicemails or emails during its business hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The process could take some time given the amount of inquiries and constantly changing situations amid the pandemic.
As for wedding ceremonies? While the state’s guidelines restrict groups of 25-plus until the green phase, the Philly Department of Public Health suggests holding no gatherings of any size. However, if you choose to proceed with a micro-wedding or elopement (or other related celebration), cautions include wearing masks, maintaining a six-foot distance (other than immediate family) and virtual attendance.
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