Richland County SC Probate Court Online Marriage License Applications Now Available

florence county marriage application

You can now apply for your marriage license online using the Richland County Probate Court portal. Click on the link below to apply.

Richland County Probate Court Marriage Application

To complete your application you will need to;

  1. Upload pictures of your government ID
  2. Upload proof of SSN
  3. Pay the fee of $45.24 with a debit/credit card
  4. Have a valid email address

You can take pictures of your documents with your smart phone or scan them if you have a scanner to upload the application website. The pictures or scans must be in one of the following formats; .gif, .jpeg, .pjpeg, .png, or .pdf.

You should receive your license (3 copies) within a week after applying in the mail. DO NOT sign or fill out any copies of the license in any way once you receive them. You MUST sign in the presence of an officiant or notary public. The court does NOT perform marriages.

If you have any questions give us a call or text and we will try and help you with the process. Call 803-446-3405

Richland County SC Probate Court Now Open for Marriage Licenses at Limited Times

Richland County Marriage License Applications

sample marriage license

The Richland County Probate Court will open beginning Tuesday, April 21 2020, for marriage license applications. The open periods are staggered between morning and afternoon, for only 2 days in the current week.

The applications are being taken in the lobby. You MUST wear a mask!

Visit their website for specific information.

Remember, you can also get your marriage license via mail from Lexington County and via virtual application from Charleston County. Visit our blog post here for specific information.

How Get Your Marriage License in SC While the Probate Courts are Closed

Get Your SC Marriage License During Court Shutdown


Its a terrible time right now isn’t it? Social distancing, virus scares, layoffs, even toilet paper shortages. But even so, some couples still want (or need) to get married! Nothing stands in the way of true love! Problem was you had to apply in person at the probate court, but the courts are closed and if they are closed that means no marriage license. Lucky for everyone though, several South Carolina probate courts have found a way to solve the problem. No matter where you are in SC you can use one of these services to get your marriage license and have it mailed to you. Now, you can apply by mail and the court will mail you a license. And no, you DO NOT have to be a resident of either of these counties or even the state of South Carolina. You can get your license from them and use it anywhere in South Carolina (but only in SC).

Charleston County Probate Court

chalreston county marriage license

Charleston County uses a virtual interview process. Just click on the link above, follow the directions, schedule an appointment, and pay the fee. Give us a call if you have any questions or when you are ready to get married after you have your license.

Lexington County Probate Court

lexington county probate coourt

Lexington County has found a way to solve this problem, at least for the short term during the coronavirus (COVID-19) scare.

How does it work? Go to this link here and download the marriage license application. It is a pdf file. Print it out.

  1.  Complete the application.
  2. Include copies of both applicant’s Social Security cards (if you don’t have a SS card then any official document that has the name and SS number on it).
  3. Include a copy of each applicants government issued picture ID.
  4. Cash, check, or money order for $30.00
  5. Indicate on the application which address you want the marriage license mailed to from the court.
  6. Sign the application in front of a notary.
  7. Mail the completed application, the documents, and the fee to;


And right now, the Marriage Notary is running a special to assist the court. Normally our basic fee for a small, simple ceremony is $75. But during this crisis,

  • We will meet with you and notarize the signatures on the application for you
  • After you receive your marriage license back from the court, we will meet with you again and sign the copies of the license
  • One of the copies you keep as your original certificate of marriage and we will file the other two copies with the court

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 803-446-3405

Good luck!


Your Wedding and the Coronavirus

7 Steps to Protect Your Wedding from the COVID-19 Virus

coronavirus and your wedding

A hot topic in the news today is the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In regards to your wedding ceremony, yes, you should be concerned. That doesn’t mean you should cancel your wedding, only that you should take adequate precautions against infection How to go about that? Eric Hunt a wedding officiant in Myrtle Beach, SC has a great post on his blog about this very subject.

“The Coronavirus (COVID-19), has certainly caused a lot of disruption all over the world in recent weeks and for couples whose wedding day is near it can definitely add a new level to pre-wedding stress. While we should all be taking precautions and use good ole’ common sense (WASH YOUR HANDS) when it comes to these types of threats, the Coronavirus does not have to be the end to your perfect wedding day. Below, I have compiled a few thoughts and ideas as this virus relates to the wedding day. ”

Eric follows up with 7 steps you can take to protect you and your guests from contracting COVID-19. You should definitely check out the complete article.

Read and enjoy. You can read his post here.

Inexpensive Wedding Bands

Etsy logo

Many couples are looking to save money on their wedding. One way to do that is to not spend a fortune right away on your wedding bands. Fancy, expensive diamonds might need to wait a couple of years, or, you just might not be into expensive.

A good source for inexpensive wedding bands is Etsy. You can order them online and have them shipped right to you. If you don’t know your size, visit a jewelry store and have them size you as you peruse their selections. Then go home and visit the Etsy site. Not only will you know your exact ring size, but after seeing the prices in the jewelry store you will be super happy at having saved so much money!

Visit Etsy here for wedding bands!


Example Budget Wedding for Under $1,000

wedding officiant sumter sc
Photo Courtesy Northern Red Photography

Last year I had the pleasure to perform the wedding ceremony for Georgia and Nathan. Today I came across a blog post about their wedding on the blog Budget Savvy Bride. A great read if you are thinking about organizing a simple wedding. Visit here to read the blog post and take a look at all the pictures.

An added note. I have officiated several weddings where Northern Red was the photographer and I can tell you she does a great job!

Sample Handfasting Ceremony

hand fasting couple

Many couples like to use a traditional hand fasting as part of their ceremony. Here is a sample ceremony…

Hand Fasting

NAME and NAME have chosen a traditional hand fasting ceremony to symbolize their entering into the bonds of marriage. In the history of some European traditions, weddings were celebrated by a simple ceremony in which two partners would join hands and their wrists would be tied with a cord, symbolizing the binding together of their individual lives. It is from this practice that we get the expression “tying the knot”.

(Couple joins hands.)

NAME and NAME, this cord is a symbol of the connection between your two lives. As your hands are bound together by this cord, so too, will your lives be bound together in marriage.

(The Couple’s wrists are wrapped and tied loosely with ribbon or cord. This can be done by the officiant or by the couple’s best man/maid of honor, parents, or other chosen person.)

These are the hands that will love you.
These are the hands that will hold and comfort you through the years.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement.
These are the hands you will each work with, create with, and use to build a life together.
The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows,
the promises you make in your hearts and uphold each day through your actions.
Remember, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

Just as your hands are now bound together, so too, are your lives.
Because you cannot always be physically joined together, you will each give to the other a wedding ring to symbolize that connection. It will be worn on your hand as a constant reminder of the bond shared between you as a married couple.

(The Hand Fasting cord is removed, without untying it, and Rings exchanged.)

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, which is a separate  document from the marriage license. 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 (the Bride/Groom/Spouse copy) becomes your Original Certificate of Marriage, which is yours to keep and take with you (your officiant should have already given it to 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.

Here are some links to the various courts to download the form you need to fill out to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

Richland County SC

Lexington County SC

Greenville County SC

Charleston County SC


Wedding Unity Candle Ceremony

The Unity Candle

unity candle ceremony bride and groom

One question I often get asked by people planning their marriage ceremony, is how can they “make their wedding ceremony special”?

One way to do that is by having a unity candle ceremony as part of your wedding. The unity candle ceremony is a very simple way to reinforce the meanings of your vows. It can also be  away to involve your family members, by having a different family member each light their own small candle and contribute to the group lighting of the larger unity candle. I have seen where its just the groom and bride light the candle, the mothers of the groom and bride light the unity candle, or the parents of the bride and groom light the candle.

If there are children from a previous marriage in by either of both of the bride and groom, then having the children join with the bride and groom in the lighting of the candle is a great way to enhance family unity and show everyone’s love.

unity candle ceremony family

The only drawback to the unity candle ceremony is that it can be difficult to perform in an out of doors setting. Often the wind does not cooperate and the candles get blown out.

Here is a sample Unity Candle Ceremony. If it is a secular wedding then the religious references can be removed.

Unity Candle Ceremony

Now we shall celebrate this union as it is symbolized through the lighting of the unity candle.

______and ________ please light the two taper candles. These candles represent your individual spirits, your individual connections with God, all that you are and, all that you have been, and all that you will become. ​

The center candle represents your relationship. It is the symbol of your marriage, the symbol of the joining of 2 spirits, 2 lives, 2 souls. Now you will take the tapers and light the center candle. As you do so, keep in mind the pledge you made to each other today. It is the pledge of the truth and purity of your every breath. The constant friendship of your hearts. The passion and fire of your spirits and the deepest love your souls have to give. It is the pledge of all that is within you. The only true pledge that one heart can offer to another.

You are now as husband/wife/spouse and husband/wife/spouse offering yourselves, and all that has come to pass unto each other, towards the creation of your future, and to all that is yet to come. The candle of your marriage shall burn brightly, but the 2 tapers of yourselves are not diminished. You do not disappear in marriage. You remain you. But in joining, both lights are brighter, each supports the other and miracles can happen. True Love shines brightly and today is but a beautiful beginning of the miracles to come.