How to Become a Wedding Officiant in South Carolina

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in South Carolina with this comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate weddings, the steps to get ordained, and how to conduct a memorable ceremony. Sign up at Provenance.co for ceremony script tools and more.
Table of Contents
  1. Intro

Getting married in South Carolina involves understanding a few key legal requirements, whether you're the couple or the officiant. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from who can officiate a wedding to the steps needed to complete a marriage license.

Who Can Officiate a Wedding in South Carolina

In South Carolina, several types of individuals are authorized to officiate weddings. These include:

  • Ministers of the Gospel
  • Jewish rabbis
  • Officers authorized to administer oaths in the state
  • Chief or spiritual leaders of recognized Native American tribes

Ministers ordained online by organizations such as the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries are also legally permitted to officiate weddings in South Carolina. There's no residency requirement for officiants, meaning out-of-state individuals can also perform ceremonies.

How to Become an Officiant in South Carolina

To become an officiant in South Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Age Requirement: You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Ordination: Obtain ordination from a recognized body such as the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries. This can typically be done online and requires no specific religious affiliation or training.
  3. Documentation: Keep your ordination credentials accessible. Some counties may require you to present these documents to verify your authority to officiate weddings.

How to Officiate a Wedding in South Carolina

Officiating a wedding in South Carolina involves a few simple steps:

  1. Meeting the Couple: Discuss the ceremony details with the couple, including vows, readings, and any special rituals they wish to include.
  2. The Ceremony: Ensure the ceremony includes the couple's declaration of intent to marry (commonly expressed as "I do") and a formal pronouncement of marriage by the officiant.
  3. Post-Ceremony Documentation: Fill out the marriage license provided by the couple. This involves signing the document and including your title, ordaining body, and home address.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in South Carolina

Filling out a marriage license correctly is crucial. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Receiving the License: The couple will provide you with three copies of the marriage license.
  2. Completing the License: After the ceremony, fill out the required information on all three copies, including the date and location of the ceremony, your name, title, and ordaining organization.
  3. Returning the License: The couple will retain one copy, and you must return the other two to the county probate court that issued the license within 15 days (or 30 days if in Lexington County).

Marriage Requirements in South Carolina

Before officiating a wedding, ensure the couple meets South Carolina's marriage requirements:

  • Age: Both parties must be at least 18 years old. Those aged 16-17 need written consent from a parent or legal guardian.
  • Residency: No residency requirement for either the couple or officiant.
  • Kinship: The couple must not be closely related; first cousins may marry, but closer kinship is prohibited.
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Legal in South Carolina, following federal law.

Applying for a Marriage License in South Carolina

To apply for a marriage license in South Carolina, the couple must:

  1. Application: Submit a written application to the probate court, including social security numbers or alien identification numbers.
  2. Waiting Period: Wait for at least 24 hours after submitting the application before the license can be issued.
  3. In-Person Requirement: Both parties must apply in person with a valid photo ID and, if under 25, proof of age.

Finalizing the Union

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Once the ceremony is complete and the marriage license is filled out, it’s essential to:

  • Submit the License: Return the completed marriage license to the issuing county’s probate court within the required timeframe.
  • Record Keeping: Keep records of all ceremonies you officiate, including dates and participants, and retain copies of your ordination credentials.

FAQs About Officiating Weddings in South Carolina

Q: Can I officiate a wedding if I’m not a resident of South Carolina?A: Yes, there is no residency requirement for officiants in South Carolina.

Q: Do I need to register as an officiant with the state?A: No, you do not need to register with the state, but you should keep your ordination credentials handy.

Q: How long does the marriage license remain valid?A: A marriage license in South Carolina is valid for six months from the date of issuance.

Q: Can same-sex couples get married in South Carolina?A: Yes, same-sex marriage is legal in South Carolina following federal law.

Q: What if the couple is under 18?A: Individuals aged 16-17 can marry with written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Please Note: State and county marriage certificate requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different, and we would always advise that you contact the office of your local marriage authority or a licensed attorney to address any specific questions or concerns you may have. While Provenance will aim to update this information as relevant and as able, you should reach out to the local county clerk for the most up to date information.

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in South Carolina with this comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate weddings, the steps to get ordained, and how to conduct a memorable ceremony. Sign up at Provenance.co for ceremony script tools and more.
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