Planning your wedding is such an incredibly exciting time and boy, do we have fun planning with our couples and their sweet families! The wedding weekend design, the cake tasting, choosing the right entertainment – it’s all so much fun it would be easy to neglect some of the more mundane details that are so important. But have no fear! Spencer Special Events is here to keep you on track with all those nitty-gritty details that you also need to focus on. And we are sure to keep you on track with one very big one: your marriage license. After all, this is what you are here to do! No matter how perfect everything else will be on your wedding day this piece of paper is an important detail you can't forget!
A marriage license is essentially a permit that recognizes your union legally in the United States. It allows you to file taxes together, get loans, apply for credit, and is used for many other legalities throughout your life together. It’s the legal icing on the cake of your wedding! Many couples find this process intimidating, but with a few simple steps, we can help you. (We are even friends with the sweet lady who accepts applications at the Beaufort County Probate Judge’s office!)
To get your marriage license, both parties need to appear in person at the Probate Judge office to file a written application right here on Hilton Head Island or in Beaufort. This is by appointment only (contact information listed below!) Spencer Special Events recommends that you do this during one of your planning visits in the Lowcountry, such as your tasting. You should not wait until your wedding weekend to get this task done! We also suggest you sign a release form so that we can pick it up for you. That way it is one last thing you have to worry about packing for your wedding weekend and we have it to give to the individual performing your ceremony at rehearsal. When applying for a marriage license here in South Carolina, the process is relatively simple. Both of you will need to bring a drivers license or any other government issued ID.
Note that you do not have to be a resident of South Carolina to wed in this state. If you were previously married, no proof of divorce is required unless it was within the last 6 months a divorce decree is needed. You also do not need a physical and blood tests, required in some states, are NOT necessary in South Carolina.
The fee for a marriage license in our area is $50 for all county residence, $75 cash for state residents, and $95 cash for out-of-state residents.
Your application is a sworn statement of personal information and will be notorized and filed with the court.
There’s a 24 hour waiting period after the application is filed before the license can be picked up and the marriage can be filed. This is why we don’t recommend you doing it right before the wedding!
Ministers, priests, justices of the peace, or any other authorized official must complete the marriage license after your ceremony. They are required to give one copy to you and the other two copies must be returned to the county probate judge who issued it within 15 days of the marriage ceremony. Spencer Special Events works with the officiant’s to ensure the timely delivery to the probate judge. You should be enjoying your honeymoon and time with your husband, we will work to ensure your paperwork is filed properly after the ceremony!
Once signed, there is no expiration date for your marriage license. Be sure to store it in a safe deposit box. However, if anything should happen to your marriage license, a copy of certificate of marriage can be obtained at:
Office of Public Health Statistics and Information Systems
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The satellite office of the Beaufort County Probate Court is located on 539 William Hilton Parkway and is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. We can help make your appointment, or you can call directly: 843-255-5866. The Beaufort County Probate Court is located on 102 Ribaut Road, Beaufort and just 45 minutes from Hilton Head Island if this option works better for your schedule.
We hope that we have given you valuable information about obtaining a marriage license here in the Lowcountry! Please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions, Spencer Special Events is always here to help our couples through this process!