NC Marriage License

Every state has different marriage licensing laws. And each of the 100 counties within the State of North Carolina has slightly different procedures for obtaining a marriage license. Be sure to contact the county Register of Deeds office where you will get your marriage license and follow their specific protocols. The following information is intended to break down the most important information for you, but may not contain everything you need to know. Here are a few links for Register of Deeds offices in some of the major counties:

Buncombe County  /  Mecklenburg County  /  Wake County

Click Here for a directory of all Register of Deeds offices in NC

Most Important things to know

If you are getting married in North Carolina, then here are the 4 most important things to know:

  1. In most cases, you and your fiancé must appear in person at any Register of Deeds office in the State of North Carolina to acquire your Marriage License. However, specific rules vary county to county, and some counties may have alternatives to appearing in person.
  2. You must have valid Photo IDs and Social Security Cards. If you don’t have your Social Security card, contact the Probate Court office for acceptable alternative documentation, like tax returns or W-2s.
  3. You must pay a fee directly to the Register of Deeds office when you acquire the license (this fee is not included in any of our package prices). The fee is typically $60, and you will need to verify what forms of payment are accepted at the office where you choose to go.
  4. The license will expire 60 days after it is issued, so do not get the license until your wedding is less than 60 days away. But don’t wait too long, in case there is an unexpected delay or shut down at the Register of Deeds office.

Additional Things to Know

  • You do not need to be a resident of North Carolina to get married in the State.
  • You don’t have to get your license in the county where you are getting married. Every county in NC has a Register of Deeds office. You can get your license at any of them, as long as you are getting married within the State of NC.
  • You will receive two original copies of the marriage license, and you must bring them both (along with IDs) to your wedding to be completed by the officiant and 2 witnesses.
  • NC requires that you have two adult witnesses at the ceremony to sign the marriage license.
  • The completed marriage license must be returned to the Register of Deeds for processing within 10 days after the marriage ceremony by either the officiant or couple. Your officiant will return the license, unless you prefer to do it yourself.
  • There is no waiting period in NC to get the license, but it will expire 60 days after it is issued.
  • If you are divorced, then it must be finalized before getting married again. Proof of divorce is only required if it has been less than 30 days since it was finalized.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 must present additional documentation and permissions to get married (contact the Register of Deeds office for details).

Marriage Certificate

  • The document which provides legal proof that you are married is called the Marriage Certificate. You can request a certified original of your Marriage Certificate after your completed Marriage License has been returned and processed. 
  • You will need to contact the Register of Deeds office where you acquired the license to request your Marriage Certificate. The cost is typically $10 each.
  • Depending on the County, you can pick up your Marriage Certificate in person, order it online, or request that it be mailed to you. Some counties will allow you to pay $10 in advance when you acquire your Marriage License to have the Marriage Certificate automatically mailed to you when it is ready. We highly recommend this option if it is available.
  • The DMV, Social Security office, and Passport agency do not accept copies of the Marriage Certificate, only original certified documents issued by the Register of Deeds.
  • You are still legally married even if you don’t have the physical Marriage Certificate, but you will need it in order to make a legal name change. To change your last name, go to the Social Security office first with an original Marriage Certificate. Then go to the DMV, and then the Passport agency with an original as well. Or just click here to avoid all the hassle!