SC Marriage License

Every state has different marriage licensing laws. And each of the 46 counties within the State of South Carolina has slightly different procedures for obtaining a marriage license. Be sure to contact the county Probate Court 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 Probate Courts in the major counties:

Greenville County  /  Spartanburg County  /  Charleston County

Click here for a list of all counties with website links

Most Important things to know

If you are getting married in South 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 Probate Court office in the State of South 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 Probate Court office when you acquire the license (this fee is not included in our package prices). The fee varies from $45 – $95 depending on your residency.
  4. The license has no expiration, but there is a 24-48 hour waiting period between the time the application is completed and filed and the time the license is issued. Therefore, do not wait until the last minute. Start the process at least two weeks prior to your wedding date.

Additional Things to Know

  • You do not need to be a resident of South 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 SC has a Probate Court office. You can get your license at any of them, as long as you are getting married within the State of SC.
  • You will receive three original copies of the marriage license, and you must bring them (along with IDs) to your wedding to be completed by the Officiant. After the officiant completes them, you will receive one copy, and the other two will be sent by the officiant back to the Probate Court where it was issued.
  • SC does not require any witnesses at the ceremony to sign the marriage license.
  • The Probate Court copy and the South Carolina DHEC copy of the completed marriage license must be returned to the Probate Court for processing within 15 days after the marriage ceremony by either the officiant or couple. Your officiant will return the license unless you prefer to do it yourself.
  • If you are divorced, then it must be finalized with a decree. Proof of divorce may or may not be required.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 must present additional documentation and permissions to get married (contact the Probate Court office for details).

Marriage Certificate

  • The document which provides legal proof that you are married is called the Marriage Certificate. This is not the same as the completed Marriage License copy that you will have immediately after your wedding. 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 Probate Court where you acquired the license to request your Marriage Certificate. The cost and procedure varies by county because they like to make things difficult in government.
  • The DMV, Social Security office, and Passport agency do not accept copies of the Marriage Certificate, only original certified documents issued by the Probate Court.
  • You are still legally married even if you don’t have the physical Marriage Certificate, but you will need it 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!