Tennessee does not allow common law marriages. A common law marriage is a marriage without complying with formal requirements such as obtaining a license and participating in a ceremony. States that do permit common law marriages generally have three requirements to recognize a common law marriage: an agreement to be married, living together (also called cohabitation), and representation to the public that the couple is married (for example, telling people they are married, representing they are married on applications, leases, etc.). How each of those requirements may be satisfied varies from state to state.
While Tennessee does not permit common law marriages, our state does recognize valid common law marriages in other states. In other words, if a couple living in Alabama satisfies all of the requirements for common law marriage in Alabama and then subsequently moves to Tennessee, Tennessee will recognize the couple as married.