Social Security Offices in South Carolina

Many brides wish to change their last name after getting married. We have a blog post about changing your name after getting married here. The first step is to change the name on your social security number, but many people do not know where the Social Security offices are located. Here is a list of the cities where there is a SS office in SC.

One suggestion. If you are close to Columbia, but have the time, visit a different office. The SS office in Columbia is the worst! Here is a recent opinion letter about how bad the Columbia office can be.

Social Security Offices in SC

Rock Hill
Myrtle Beach

Wedding at Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Have performed large weddings here but didn’t realize they allowed small weddings for no fee. Gardens are open to the public 10 a.m. –  4 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday | 1 – 4 p.m. Sunday. Sometimes the gardens are closed for special events so you need to call and confirm for your wedding day.  Call +18032527742 I performed a small elopement here today and it was very nice. Beautiful arches and two gazebos for bad weather.

Anniversary Box

Many couples are now choosing to include an Anniversary Box in their wedding ceremony.

anniversary box

The box can be opened on a chosen anniversary date, or upon some other event. Some couples choose to open it on the occasion of their first fight!

Each couple writes a letter about the other to include in the box, including such thoughts as to why they chose to marry this person, remembrances of their first date, how they met, etc. In addition to the letters, you can also include wine, or champagne, or some other significant item.

Here is a sample script to include in the wedding ceremony;

Anniversary Box Ceremony

_____ and _____ have chosen as a couple to perform a Anniversary Box ceremony.

This box contains a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. You have created your very own “romantic” time capsule to be opened on your ____ wedding anniversary.

I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honor prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.

_____ and _____ should you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, you are to as a couple, open this box, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage. By reading these love letters you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today.

The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, you are to open this box to share and enjoy on your 5th year wedding anniversary!

_____ and _____, you may now seal the box

Renewal of Marriage Vows

wedding vow renewal

What is a vow renewal? Vow renewals are ceremonies where a couple renews the vows they made to each other when they were first married. Many couples like to hold vow renewal ceremonies on a particular anniversary, like a 10th, 20th, or 50th wedding anniversary, but there is no requirement that take place on a particular date. It is entirely up to the couple.

You can hold a vow renewal ceremony for many different reasons. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic many couples today are having to postpone their planned for big wedding. A vow renewal ceremony at a later date when the pandemic is over would be a perfect way to celebrate ones marriage.

Remember that a vow renewal ceremony is not a legal ceremony. It is symbolic. You are already legally married. Because of that, there are nor requirements that you have a legally appointed wedding officiant present. However, if you are not already legally married (with a valid, recorded marriage license) then a vow renewal ceremony does not make you legally married.

Look here for some sample vow renewal ceremonies, numbers 11 and 12.

Unity Lasso Ceremony

Weddings are ceremonies that have a lot of tradition incorporated into them. Many couples choose to use as part of their wedding ceremony something that is peculiar to their culture. One such example of a cultural ceremony is the “Wedding Lasso Rosary”, popular in the Spanish and Hispanic communities. If you’re looking for a unique ritual to incorporate into your upcoming wedding ceremony, the Unity lasso ceremony may just be what you’ve been searching for.

wedding lasso ceremony





Sample Lasso Ceremony

_________ and _________ have chosen to incorporate the Lasso ritual into their wedding ceremony today. The Lasso is a wedding ritual in which the couple are bound together with a ceremonial rosary. Lassoing is a declaration of intent, where the bride and groom clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.

_________ and _________ since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds. As you enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this Lasso you are not only declaring your intent to be bound together before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to God.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

_________ and _________, I ask you to hold hands and look into each others eyes.

Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?

Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Bride & Groom: We will.

(Officiant drapes the Lasso in the form of an “8” around the shoulders of the Bride and Groom.)

_________ and _________ , as you are bound together now, so too your lives and spirits are joined in a union of everlasting love and trust. Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

(Officiant offers a prayer, removes the Lasso before the Bride and Groom rise, then presents the Lasso to the Groom who will later give it to the Bride.)

God’s Knot, The Cord of Three Strands

God’s Knot-Cord of Three Strands

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

gods knot three strand cord The Cord of Three Strands symbolizes the joining of one man and one woman by God into a marriage relationship. Marriage takes three; you, your soon to be spouse, and God. It was God who taught us to love. By keeping Him at the center of your marriage, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage.

Usually there is a reading while the strands are woven together. A sample reading …

Today, [name of groom]and [name of bride]have chosen to braid three strands together into a single cord. Each strand has a significant meaning.The gold strand represents God and His majesty.The purple strand represents the groom and his life.The white strand represents the bride and her life.In braiding these three strands together,[name of groom]and [name of bride]have demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. They have chosen to allow God to be at the center of their marriage,woven into every aspect of it. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-12reads,“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Excerpt from The Art of Marriage

Below is an excerpt from the Art of Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson. I was asked to include it in a marriage ceremony recently and it read really well.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.

Unity Plant Ceremony

Unity Plant Ceremony

unity plant ceremony

Yesterday I performed a really neat ceremony for a couple. It is the Unity Plant Ceremony. This would be a great alternative to the Unity Candle Ceremony particularly if your ceremony is being held out of doors. Candles blow out. And like the sand ceremony, you have a physical token that represents your union through the years. What makes it even more special is that your token is alive!

Sample Unity Plant Ceremony

The Bride and Groom and their families are now going to participate in the Unity Plant Ceremony.  The ceremony symbolizes the roots of their relationship and the continued growth of their love.

Long before ______ and _______had the pleasure of knowing each other, their families provided them with a foundation of love and support which has made them into the people we see before us today.  To honor their families, _____ and __________ will each start by adding dirt from their parent’s home.  Just as their families have been the foundation of who they have become, this dirt will be the foundation of their new family.

(Add Dirt)

The love of their families has allowed ______ and _______to grow into the wonderful and unique people they are.  This plant is a symbol of their new life, and how they will grow for years to come.  _____ and _____ let your relationship and your love for each other be like this plant.  Let it grow tall and strong.  Let it endure the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed.  Remember to nourish each other with words of encouragement, trust, and love.  With constant nourishment this tree, and your marriage, will grow deeper, stronger, and more resilient with each passing year.

South Carolina Justice of the Peace

Justice of the Peace replaced by Notaries

I receive many calls from couples looking for a Justice of the Peace (JOP). That position does not exist anymore in South Carolina.

justice of the peace

If you need your marriage license signed call us at 803-446-3405

After  couples receive their marriage license many of them search for a JOP to marry them. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a JOP in South Carolina anymore. The position has been phased out and the last justice of the peace retired in 2008. Notaries and municipal judges have taken over the roles once provided by justices.

completed south carolina marriage license

If you need to have your marriage license signed, a notary can perform that task. We offer this service and have married many couples with just a simple signing ceremony.

Please give us a call at 803-446-3405 if you need your marriage license completed.

The Wedding Kiss

The First Kiss

At the end of almost every wedding ceremony is “The Kiss”. The wedding officiant makes the pronouncement, the couple is married, and the officiant says “Congratulations, you may kiss your bride” or “Congratulations, you may seal your marriage with a kiss.” This is a very private and profound moment for the couple. Their first kiss as a married couple.

As a wedding officiant, I make every effort to NOT be in that picture. Unlike this gentleman here,

wedding ceremony first kiss

See the little peek a boo by the officiant there in the center of the picture? Awful!

I always step to the side before prompting the kiss. A couple does not need to see my smiling face for the rest of their marriage!

Rather, a first kiss photo should look like this,

first wedding kiss

Just the couple and no wedding officiant in the picture, anywhere!

So be sure to ask your officiant to step aside and stay out of the frame for that first kiss as a married couple. And if I am your wedding officiant I promise I won’t be!