South Dakota Marriage Laws

Written and edited for accuracy by the South Dakota marriage law researchers at the Universal Life Church on

South Dakota, a sparse land accentuated by features such as the Black Hills and iconic Mt. Rushmore, presents quite the backdrop for a wedding ceremony. So whether you’re born and bred in the midwestern state, or out-of-towners looking to get hitched way off the beaten path, the following step-by-step guide to navigating South Dakota’s wedding laws will help to make sure your big day goes as smoothly as possible, producing a rock-solid union that is ultimately legally binding.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:

Only adults 18 years and older are legally capable of consenting to and consummating a marriage in South Dakota. Otherwise, a notarized statement produced from either a parent or legal guardian consenting to a union between minors between 16 and 18 must be submitted to the register of deeds in the state. That is the only exception.

Non-state residents and foreigners are welcome to wed in South Dakota, as are same-sex couples. The only marriages considered illegal in the state – regardless of whether the relationships are legitimate or not – are incestuous unions between parents and children, ancestors and descendants and both siblings and cousins of the half and whole blood, even in cases where those relationships are forged through adoption.

Marriage License Requirements

Min. Age of Witnesses:
Couple's Consent Required:
Pronouncement Required:

Couples in South Dakota must fill out and sign an application form for a marriage license, in person, at the county register of deeds of their choosing, producing either photo ID or a birth certificate in order to prove their ages and identities.

Using a power of attorney to obtain said marriage license is against the law.

A marriage license will run a couple $40; $10 of which will be retained in the county’s general fund, the remainder of which will be deposited into the county’s domestic abuse program fund. It is actually South Dakota’s Department of Health that ultimately furnishes both the marriage license and the record of marriage form.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Mandatory Waiting Period:
24 Hours
License Valid For:
20 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

Once the marriage license has been issued, the couple has 20 days to perform the ceremony, having made sure to wait the mandated 24 hours required by the state.

The minister charged with solemnizing the marriage will have ten days to ensure the marriage certificate is properly filled out and returned, along with the original license, to the same county register of deeds where both were issued.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Register
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:

In South Dakota, marriages may be performed by judges, justices, magistrates and mayors, as well as any person authorized by a church to solemnize marriages, including any minister ordained online by the Universal Life Church Ministries, provided they are at least 18 years old. A minister’s state or country of residence, gender and belief system should never affect their standing in the eyes of the law.

That being said, the ULC does advise its ministers to carry proper documentation throughout the registration and marriage process, in order to avoid any red tape. Legal proof of ordination can be found in the Classic Wedding Package, which we recommend all South Dakota ministers order, as it is likely the county clerk's office will want to see your ministerial documents.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
Minister Required to be Present:

The state of South Dakota requires that any legal and sanctioned wedding ceremony carried out on its soil be held in-person with both members of the couple present, as well as the authorized minister and two witnesses of any age.

Before the ceremony begins, the minister must verify the names and addresses of the couple, as well as those of the witnesses. Also, at some point in the ceremony, each party in the couple must consent to marrying the other (the famous 'I Do' moment), and the minister must then pronounce the couple married.

Aside from those two specific requirements, couples are free to determine the ebb and flow of their ceremony in the manner of their choosing.

Final Steps

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

Once the ceremony is over, ministers will be tasked with filling out the remainder of the marriage certificate, identifying their title and the relevant church they represent (the Universal Life Church Ministries), all while making sure to include their own home address in those cases where the state asks for an address of ministry.

Finally, both the original license and the completed marriage certificate must be returned to the county register of deeds within the mandated 10-day period.

Interested in Performing a South Dakota wedding?

Be a SD Wedding Officiant

Are you Considering Becoming a Minister in South Dakota?

See the Steps to SD Ordination

Proceed to your Ordination Application

Become Ordained