After the Marriage Ceremony

Completed Marriage License

So, you received your marriage license (probably in the mail because of the pandemic), your wedding ceremony is over if you had one, and you and your officiant have signed your marriage license. What happens next?

completed south carolina marriage license
Completed South Carolina Marriage License

South Carolina is different from every other state in the US in how they conduct the marriage license and marriage certificate process. In every other state, the marriage license is signed by the couple and officiant, and then returned to the court. The court records and files the marriage license and then issues a certificate of marriage to the couple. It does not work that way in South Carolina, where your marriage license becomes your Certificate of Marriage once it is signed by the couple and the officiant. There are 3 copies of the license, all of which the couple signs, and then one of them beocmes your Original Certificate of Marriage, which is yours to keep and take with you. It already has the court seal imprinted on it, the judges signature, and the officiants signature and information.

You will not receive anything else from the probate court where you obtained your marriage license.

Your marriage officiant is responsible for returning the other two completed copies to the probate court, not the couple (See SC Code of Laws Section 20-1-330). He or she has 15 days to do so, but in my case I send them in immediately, usually within 1 day.

If you need a certified copy of your marriage certificate (like the one pictured above) for whatever reason, you can get one from the court that issued the license for a small fee.