Tips & Guides

Complete Guide to South Carolina Marriage License + Laws

If you are eloping or getting married in South Carolina, then you have come to the right place – this is a complete guide to South Carolina Marriage Licenses & South Carolina Marriage Laws. I am going to walk your through EVERYTHING you need to know about getting married in SC. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to get a SC marriage license and what laws you’ll need to follow.

Ready to tackle all of the boring, legal stuff so that you can move onto the more fun elopement planning things? Let’s get into it!

Man and woman in wedding attire at courthouse.

South Carolina Marriage License + Laws

Overview of Basic Marriage Requirements in SC

Witnesses required: No
License is valid for: Varies by county (up to 6 months; some never expire)
Waiting period: 24 hours
Minimum age requirement: 18
Who can officiate: Any regularly licensed or ordained minister/priest/judge
Self-solemnization allowed? No
South Carolina residency required? No
Blood test required? No
Cost: Varies by county

Counties to Get Your Marriage License for Your South Carolina Elopement + Wedding

If you are eloping in some of South Carolina’s most popular areas, here are the counties you’ll need to go through to get your SC marriage license, with links to marriage licensing info for each one!

Marriage License Charleston, SC

Some of South Carolina’s most popular beach elopement spots are located in Charleston County. For example, if you are looking to elope at Folly Beach then you’ll need to go through Charleston County to obtain your SC marriage license.

Charleston County Marriage License

Man and woman in wedding attire standing on dock at sunset in front of sailboats.

Marriage License Columbia, SC

Please note that Columbia consists of multiple counties so you’ll need to do your research on which county you will need to apply for your marriage license in. If you are looking to elope in Congaree National Park then you’ll need to apply in Richland County.

Richland County Marriage License

Lexington County Marriage License

Marriage License Greenville, SC

If you are looking to elope in the mountains of South Carolina then you will likely be applying for your SC marriage license in Greenville County.

Greenville County Marriage License

Man and woman in wedding attire looking out at the mountains.

Steps to Getting your Elopement + Wedding Marriage License in SC

1) Research the county you’ll need to apply through

Once you know where your elopement ceremony will be taking place, figure out which county you’ll be getting married in & look up that county’s specific rules, restrictions, fees, & processes. You can find a list of County Probate offices here!

2) Fill out your South Carolina Marriage License Application Online, By Mail or In Person

You will then complete your application either online to expedite the process or in-person at the local county Probate Court. Some counties even give you the option to print, fill out and mail in the application. If you fill it out online, one or both of you will then likely need to go to the office in-person to finalize the license and pay the necessary fees – make sure to bring a valid photo ID showing your birth date (e.g. your driver’s license, passport, etc.) and any other required documents.

3) Wait the 24 Hour Waiting Period

Once you’ve applied for your South Carolina marriage license, you’ll need to wait the 24 hour waiting period before your marriage license can be issued! Remember that the 24 hours begins on the day you apply for your license so if you are getting married on Saturday, you’ll need to apply on Thursday. There is no further waiting period after you are issued your marriage license!

4) Submit your license after your wedding

After you get married, make sure that either you or your officiant submits your license back to the county Probate Court to finalize it! Your marriage certificate will be mailed back to you!

Woman in wedding dress walking through a field with mountains in the background.

SC Marriage License FAQs

How to apply for a marriage license in South Carolina?

SC Marriage license Online application form

How much is a marriage license in SC?

The cost of your South Carolina marriage license varies based on what county you will be getting married in! It can be anywhere from $50 – $115 and can also vary based on residency.

How long is a marriage license good for in SC?

Your South Carolina marriage license validity varies based on the county you are getting married in! Some county marriage licenses are good for up to 6 months while others never expire.

Do you need a witness to get married in South Carolina?

No, South Carolina does not require you to have any witnesses for your South Carolina elopement ceremony!

Is there a waiting period for your South Carolina Marriage License?

Yes, there is a 24 hour waiting period once you apply for your South Carolina marriage license! This means you’ll have to wait 24 hours after you apply for your marriage license for it to be issued, so make sure you plan in advance if you’re coming from out of state and will need to extend your trip to wait for 24 hours. The 24 hour waiting period begins the day you sign your application and pay the license fee!

Can you get married in South Carolina without a ceremony?

You need to have some sort of legal ceremony but that doesn’t mean you have to have a huge, long, “traditional” ceremony! It could just be you, your partner, and your officiant, in the mountains for a super casual ceremony that only lasts a couple minutes. No need to make it fancy – all that matters is that it’s legal and reflects you & your partner’s love!

You can also opt for a private vow exchange, if you’d like to say your vows in a more intimate setting, and then have a simple ceremony with your officiant to get the legal part out of the way. This is something that many couples choose to do if they’re eloping and they’d rather keep their vows private, then knock out the legal ceremony with a few close friends afterward!

Man and woman in wedding attire looking out at mountains and fog.

How to change your last name after marriage in SC?

The first thing you’ll need to do is change your name with the Social Security Administration via mail or at a local SSA office, you’ll need your marriage certificate & the appropriate proof of identity & citizenship. Once you have been issued your new Social Security Card then you will be able to get your new SC driver’s license via a local DMV office. With those things changed, you will then be able to change other things like bank accounts and passports.

How old do you have to be to get married in South Carolina?

You need to be at least 18 years old to get married in South Carolina, or have parental consent if you’re 16-17.

Do you have to be a resident to get married in SC?

No! You do not have to be a legal resident of South Carolina to get married in South Carolina.

Who can legally marry a couple in South Carolina?

Any regularly licensed or ordained minister/priest/judge/notary can officiate a wedding. If you want a friend/family member to legally marry you then they will just need to make sure they go through the appropriate channels to become a licensed officiant/minister/notary. You cannot self-solemnize in South Carolina!

Woman standing in front of mountains.

Your South Carolina Elopement + Wedding Photographer

Hey friends, I’m Tessa, your South Carolina Elopement & Micro-Wedding photographer!! I’m OBSESSED with this incredible state and helping couples turn their weddings into the adventures of a lifetime. I offer elopement packages for every couples needs and I would love to help capture your South Carolina elopement! Contact me HERE to get started planning your South Carolina Elopement adventure!

More South Carolina Elopement + Wedding Resources

How to Have a Courthouse Wedding in South Carolina

How to Plan a Greenville, SC Elopement



I'm a micro-wedding and elopement photographer in Upstate, South Carolina. My style is documentary—I love capturing the in-between, unposed moments between you and your love. I strive to know you and capture you at your most authentic.