Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Obtaining Your Marriage License

We have compiled information on obtaining marriage licenses and certificates in the Carolinas for easy reference. Please note that while this information has been pulled from US Vital Records websites for North and South Carolina, requirements can vary based on the municipality in which you will wed as well as by state. You can also view the source websites directly for more information by following the these links: North Carolina or South Carolina

Again, requirements do vary by state, but they all will confirm the same basics; that you have proper identification, that you’re not currently married to anyone else, divorce or widowhood paperwork if you have been previously married, and that you are of legal age to be married. A basic checklist to begin with includes:

·         Birth Certificate

·         Photo Identification

·         Proof of Citizenship and/or Residence

·         Parental and/or Court Consent if underage

·         Social Security Number

Most if not all states have a government website with information on all the documents required for your marriage license. These sites will also have the office’s contact information. 

Once you know what city, district, and county you will be married in, you will need to locate the office where you will obtain the license. This may be the city hall, clerk’s office, or marriage license bureau in this county. 

It is also important to be aware of timeframes. Some states require a waiting period between granting the license and your wedding taking place. Most marriage licenses are also only valid for a certain period. During this window you must hold the ceremony, sign the license together with the officiant, and file for a certified license and marriage certificate.


How do I apply for a license to marry in South Carolina?

A couple planning to marry in South Carolina must apply for a license at a South Carolina county probate court.

What information is needed to apply for a marriage certificate?

·         Full name of the groom

·         Full name of the bride

·         Full date of marriage (month, day, year)

·         County where the marriage license was issued

·         Signature of the person requesting the marriage certificate and their current mailing address

·         Relationship between the married parties and the person requesting the certified copy

·         Full name and complete mailing address of the person to whom the certificate is to be mailed

·         Area code and daytime telephone number of the person requesting the marriage certificate

How long will it take to receive my order?

Current processing and delivery time may vary by state or certificate. In most cases, it is approximately 5 to 7 business days (excludes weekends and holidays). Additional delivery times apply if you choose to have the certificate delivered by regular mail. Detailed delivery times will be listed on the application.

What is a maiden name or legal name change?

A maiden name is your last name at birth.

If you have had a legal name change your original vital records would have been permanently changed either by yourself or the courts. Your new legal name would be your new maiden name.

Taking your spouse’s last name is not a legal name change and would not have altered your original birth vital record.

What name do I use if adoption was involved?

Use Adoptive Parent’s names, unless there has been a legal name change.

Can I order anyone’s Marriage Records?

In most cases, copies of marriage records may be obtained by anyone who can provide sufficient search information.

How much does it cost to order a vital record and what are the fees?

Pricing will vary depending on the state the certificate is issued from, to review the costs of ordering your vital records, please navigate the vital records website to the appropriate state and consult the pricing chart listed on the certificate page/the bottom of the application.

What if I don’t have all of the information to complete the order form?

The government agency issuing your certificate requires certain information to process your request. If you cannot obtain the information required, you may wish to discuss this in person or by mail with the vital records office responsible for the certificate.