A Complete Guide to Making Your Marriage Legal in South Carolina

A Complete Guide to Making Your Marriage Legal in South Carolina

A Complete Guide to Making Your Marriage Legal in South Carolina. Mobile Image

Jul 01, 2020

Picture it: your big day is so close! You’ve picked the perfect dress, venue, centerpieces, flowers, and everything else that makes your special day unique.

Now that all that stuff is taken care of, it’s equally as important to make your marriage legal! We recently saw some Upstate brides-to-be asking about this in a few Facebook groups... so we wanted to put together a quick blog to help you with the steps to getting your South Carolina marriage license (eek!), and also taking care of details like obtaining permits and changing your name, if you choose to do so.

How To Get a South Carolina Marriage License

To apply for a marriage license in South Carolina, you and your spouse-to-be must go together in-person to a local office of a South Carolina probate judge.


You’ll need to take the following items with you the day you apply in-person:

1. A completed South Carolina marriage license application

–The application asks for the full name, social security number or alien identification number, age, and place of residence of each person.

2. Valid identification for you both in the form of one of the following:

– Valid driver's license or state-issued identification card

– Original birth certificate or a certified copy of your birth certificate

– Current military identification card

– Current passport; plus current visa attached if not a US citizen

3. Your Social Security cards

– While not all probate judges require this, some do. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. A fee, which varies by county


South Carolina residency is not required. It’s important to note that the waiting period between the time you file the application and when you can pick up your official marriage licence varies by county, so it’s best to contact the county probate judge at least 30 days before you plan to get married to make sure you’re not scrambling at the last minute, or even worse, you can’t be officially married on the day of your ceremony.

Who Can Legally Marry You in South Carolina?

The state of South Carolina legally recognizes following individuals as a qualified officiants:

      • Judges
      • Ministers
      • Jewish rabbis
      • The chief or spiritual leader of a North American Indian entity recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs
      • Permits and Other Requirements for South Carolina Wedding Venues

How to Make Sure Your Venue Is Legal

Depending on your wedding venue, you may need to apply for special permits before your ceremony, specifically for outdoor locations such as national or municipal parks, historical sites and beaches.


How to Legally Change your Name in South Carolina

After your ceremony, you or your spouse may desire to change your last name to reflect your new marriage! You can take advantage of simple online services, such as HitchSwitch, to streamline the process for you.


However, if you choose to do it yourself:

  • First you’ll need to change your name with the Social Security Administration

You'll need the following:

            1. Form SS-5, the application
            2. Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
            3. Proof of identity (a valid government photo ID, such as your driver's license)
            4. Proof of citizenship if you haven't proved it with the SSA before (your birth certificate or passport)
  • After you get your new social security card, you’ll be able to take that with you to obtain a new South Carolina driver’s license at your local DMV

You will need to provide the following documents at the DMV:

            1. SCDMV Form 4057 (Application for a Name and/or Address Change)
            2. Form 447-NC (Application for a Driver's License, Beginner's Permit, or Identification Card).
            3. Your certified marriage license or court order
            4. A $10 fee


Whew, that sounds like a lot. But really it’s just a few small steps to take to make the marriage of your dreams official and legal!

We hope this guide helps you. As always, contact us if you need anything. Once you’re a Poinsett Bride, you’re family for life!

Photography by: Angled Light Photography