Looking for info on how to get married in SC or NC? Here’s information how how to get your marriage license for your elopement in North or South Carolina. We’re here to help!
How to get married in SC or NC | Getting your marriage license
*Disclaimer: We provide this info as an FYI only! This is not legal advice and doesn’t replace research you need to do on your own to legally have a marriage ceremony in either of these states. We always recommend working with a professional officiant to make sure everything is taken care of correctly!
Key information you need to know
- A marriage license is needed for the state where you intend to get married. Out of state licenses are not recognized. In other words, if your ceremony is in SC – you will need an SC license. For North Carolina, you will need an NC license.
- You don’t have to get a marriage license from the specific county where you intend to get married. Marriage licenses are obtained from the county probate or register of deeds, but are good anywhere in the state.
- Many counties will allow you to apply online for your license ahead of time, but both of you will still have to show up in person to provide appropriate documentation.
- There is sometimes a waiting period from application to being able to pick up your license, so be sure to account for that!
- Be careful to note if there is an expiration date for your license (i.e. if it has to be signed within a certain amount of days)
- You will need a legally recognized officiant for the state you intend to get married in. Ask us for recommendations!
Finding the County Probate or Register of Deeds to start your online application
Depending on your travel plans or where you are located, you’ll need to decide on the county you need to contact for your marriage license application. Many of our couples travel from out of state, so they find it most convenient to arrive at their elopement destination a day before they elopement to handle the needed paperwork. Make sure you arrive during a business day and note the hours for the office you need to visit!
- Start with the address of where you are staying, and plug it into an online tool to find the county. Here is one example: What county am I in?
- Next, do a web search for the county you found + “Probate” (for SC) or + “Register of Deeds” (for NC).
- For example, if we found that where we are staying is in Watauga County, NC – then you would run a web search for “Watauga County NC Register of Deeds.” Make sure you include the state as many county names are shared across the country!
- With this info you should be able to find the correct webpage to apply for a marriage license in the appropriate county. If for some reason this isn’t working, you could also search for the county + “marriage license.”
- Follow the instructions on the website to apply for your marriage license, then set an appointment to pick it up in person when you get into town!
What if the County I need doesn’t allow for an online application?
In this case you could arrive earlier to account for a waiting period (if applicable). Or, you could look around for nearby/adjacent counties which do allow for an online application.
- Look up a county map for the state and see which counties are nearby where you are staying
- Then search using the method above to find the Probate or Register of Deeds to find more information for the county on obtaining a marriage license.
Have your Ceremony, Sign your License & Enjoy your Epic Elopement Day!
After your ceremony, don’t forget to sign your license right away! Then enjoy your awesome day together!