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You must have a license from the county where the ceremony will take place.
You can apply online or in person, but both of you must be present to pick up the license at the Cook County Clerk's office.

To make the streamline the processe, apply online for your Cook County marriage license here before going to a Cook County Clerks office to pick up your license.  

You can also receive a virtual license over video call by following this link:  

The cost to acquire a marriage license in Cook County is $60.


Decide where you want to get married.  It can be a traditional wedding venue, at the lake, on a bridge, or even at a Starbucks!  With a Cook County license you can get married in any number of amazing places!

Certain ceremonies may be available at your officiants location.

You can also choose to have your ceremony over zoom!

Some favorite free public spaces to have informal elopements:

  • Milton Lee Olive Park

  • Promontory Point

  • North Ave Beach

  • Humboldt Park

  • Migratory Bird Garden (outside Shedd Aquarium)

  • Solidarity Drive (near the planetarium)

  • Cook County Forest Preserves (multiple locations)

  • Chicago Riverwalk

  • Chicago downtown courthouse- main level

  • Chicago Cultural Center (check for events for availability)

  • Grant Park North Rose Garden


In Illinois, an interfaith minister (me!), religious officiant (clergy), or civil officiant (judge) must solemnize a marriage. They then sign and send the completed certificate back to the clerk's office within 10 days to be filed.  You may choose to bring the completed license back to the clerk's office yourself if you would like your marriage certificate processed more quickly.

If you prefer to have your officiant mail back your marriage license the filing may take up to 6 weeks.  You will not be contacted when your license has been processed, but you can call the Cook County Clerk's Office to check the status.  Marriage certificates can be ordered by these methods:

KC Fountain Photography

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