Requirements for the Minister
- Min. Age of Minister:
- Age 18
- Not Required
- Document(s) Required:
- Ordination Credential
- Online Ordination Recognized:
- Relevant Office of Registration:
- Probate Court
- Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
- After Ceremony
- Minister I.D. # Issued:
According to strict South Carolina law, only ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, officers of the state authorized to administer oaths and spiritual leaders of recognized Native American Indian tribes are allowed to solemnize weddings in the state. That being said, ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church are also recognized religious actors in any state, and fall within the minimum 18-year-old age requirement.
Generally, a minister’s primary residence, gender and belief system should not – on their own – be disqualifying factors in the eyes of any state. If you'd like to cover your bases (and we recommend you do), you can order the Classic Wedding Package, which has your legal proof of ministry.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-20. Persons who may perform marriage ceremony.
Only ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized to administer oaths in this State, and the chief or spiritual leader of a Native American Indian entity recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs pursuant to Section 1-31-40 are authorized to administer a marriage ceremony in this State.
Wedding Ceremony Requirements
- Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
- Minister Required to be Present:
- Number of Witnesses Required:
- Min. Age of Witnesses:
- Couple's Consent Required:
- Pronouncement Required:
While the state of South Carolina is not in the business of wedding planning, leaving it up to couples to plan their ceremonies according to their spiritual and aesthetic needs, it does require that both parties and the minister be physically present during the ceremony; that each party in the couple deliberately consent to marrying the other, and that the minister pronounce them married once they do. No witnesses are required.
Marriage License Requirements
- Who Picks Up License:
- The Couple
- Where License is Valid:
- Any County in South Carolina
- Marriage License Pick-Up:
- In Person Only
- Cost of License:
- Varies by County
- Accepted I.D. Types:
- Photo ID and Social Security Card
- Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
- Blood Test Required:
Applicant couples between the ages of 18 and 25 will be required to present a valid photo ID or Social Security Card, in person, in order to prove their age to the probate judge or county clerk responsible for issuing marriage licenses. Proof of prior divorce is not required, and blood tests will never be mandated in South Carolina (or any state, for that matter) in order to prove a proposed union is incestuous.
The cost of a marriage license will vary by county, as well as for residents and outsiders.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-270. Proof of age required of applicant over age eighteen and under age twenty-five.
All persons over eighteen years of age and under twenty-five years of age shall furnish documentary evidence to the probate judge or any other officer authorized under the law to issue marriage licenses which shall prove the age of the applicant to the satisfaction of such probate judge or other officer. The probate judge or other officer shall enter upon the record of the application a brief description of evidence submitted.
Marriage License Facts
- ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
- Mandatory Waiting Period:
- 24 Hours
- License Valid For:
- 6 Months
- License Must Be Submitted:
- Within 15 Days of Ceremony
Written application forms filled out by the couple, listing both their social security numbers, must be submitted to the probate judge at least 24 hours before any marriage license can be issued. That license will detail the exact date and time of issuance, and be valid for a period of 6 months from then. Probate judges or clerks convicted of breaking with this procedure can be fined up to $100 and even spend up to 30 days in jail.
Couples will receive three copies of the marriage license. All must then be delivered to the officiating minister charged with filling them out once the ceremony is over, returning one back to the couple and dropping the remaining two with the same officer who issued them within 15 days tops – or within 30 days in Lexington County.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-220. Written application required twenty-four hours prior to issuance of license.
No marriage license may be issued unless a written application has been filed with the probate judge, or in Darlington and Georgetown counties the clerk of court who issues the license, at least twenty-four hours before the issuance of the license. The application must be signed by both of the contracting parties and shall contain the same information as required for the issuing of the license including the social security numbers, or the alien identification numbers assigned to resident aliens who do not have social security numbers, of the contracting parties. The license issued, in addition to other things required, must show the hour and date of the filing of the application and the hour and date of the issuance of the license. The application must be kept by the probate judge or clerk of court as a permanent record in his office. A probate judge or clerk of court issuing a license contrary to the provisions, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one hundred dollars or not less than twenty-five dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days or not less than ten days.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-330. Issue of licenses in triplicate; disposition.
The officer issuing marriage license certificates shall issue them in triplicate, all of which shall be delivered to either of the contracting parties and the parties to whom they are delivered shall in turn deliver them to the minister or officer who performs the wedding ceremony. The minister or officer who performs the wedding ceremony shall fill them out as required by law and deliver one to the contracting parties, without additional charge, and the other two within fifteen days to the officer who issued the license certificates.
Requirements for the Couple
- Min. Age of Couple:
- Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
- Not Required
- Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
- First Cousins
- Marriage Equality:
Any person looking to marry in South Carolina, resident or not, must be at least 18 years old. Applicants between the ages of 16 and 18 and living with parents, relatives or legal guardians will need their sworn affidavits consenting to any marriage.
Although South Carolina law technically prohibits same-sex marriages in the same legal section it does unions between couples deemed mentally incompetent or those deemed incestuous (all blood relations closer than first cousins), recent changes in federal law means same-sex couples are now welcome to wed in the state.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-10. Persons who may contract matrimony.
(A) All persons, except mentally incompetent persons and persons whose marriage is prohibited by this section, may lawfully contract matrimony.
(B) No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, stepmother, sister, grandfather's wife, son's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister, mother's sister, or another man.
(C) No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, stepfather, brother, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's father, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother, mother's brother, or another woman.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-100. Minimum age for valid marriage.
Any person under the age of sixteen is not capable of entering into a valid marriage, and all marriages hereinafter entered into by such persons are void ab initio. A common-law marriage hereinafter entered into by a person under the age of sixteen is void ab initio.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-1-250. Applicants under age of consent; consent of relative or guardian.
A marriage license must not be issued when either applicant is under the age of sixteen. When either applicant is between the ages of sixteen to eighteen and that applicant resides with father, mother, other relative, or guardian, the probate judge or other officer authorized to issue marriage licenses shall not issue a license for the marriage until furnished with a sworn affidavit signed by the father, mother, other relative, or guardian giving consent to the marriage.
- Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
- Church/Ordaining Body:
- Universal Life Church Ministries
- Address of Church:
- Minister's Home Address
Even as the couple prepares for their honeymoon, the minister’s job is not done.
South Carolina requires that ministers fill out and return two of the three copies of the marriage license to the same officer who issued them within 15 days of the completed ceremony, making sure to include their name, home address and the name of the religious organization they represent, in this case the Universal Life Church Ministries.