The State of Alabama recognizes common law marriages. This simply means that no ceremony is required for there to be a valid marriage between the parties. In order for a common law marriage to be created the parties must have the capacity to marry, have a present agreement or consent to be husband and wife, and consummate the marriage. Once a common law marriage is shown to exist, there is no legal difference between a common law marriage and a ceremonial marriage.
A ceremonial marriage is the marriage that most people think about then they think of a marriage relationship. A ceremonial marriage requires a marriage license which may be obtained at the court house and is valid for thirty days. A marriage that is considered ceremonial is deemed complete with then marriage license is obtained and the marriage is solemnized by a person with proper authority.