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Will lawmakers in South Carolina eliminate the 24-hr marriage waiting period in 2023?

Published Wednesday, Dec. 28th, 2022

A senate bill pre-filed earlier this month for the upcoming legislative session would remove the 24-hour waiting period to marry in South Carolina, making it easier for couples to marry quickly in the state. 


If passed, Senate Bill 283 would amend current law so that couples could apply for a marriage license and get married on the same day. Currently, couples are required to wait 24 hours between when they apply for their marriage license and when the license is issued and can be used. 


The bill was pre-filed earlier this month by sponsor Senator Kent Williams, a Democrat serving Marion County in District 30, which includes Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marion, and Marlboro counties. 


The proposed change wouldn’t affect the state’s marriage license expiration period (how long a couple has to use their valid license) or return period (how long a couple has to return a completed license following a marriage ceremony).  


Read: Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return


South Carolina is currently one of 19 U.S. states and territories where same-day weddings are not allowed. Many states have removed the waiting period to simplify the marriage process for couples, and to encourage wedding-related tourism and travel. 


Read: Can You Get Married on the Same Day You Get a Marriage License?


Similar legislation was introduced in South Carolina in 2021 (SC SB 123), but didn’t pass. Read more about previous legislation here: Will South Carolina get rid of its marriage license waiting period?


And South Carolina isn’t the only state to revisit marriage waiting periods; last year, legislators in New York introduced a bill to remove the 24-hour waiting period for deployed military personnel (2021 NY SB 6272), but it failed to pass. 



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 State-by-state marriage waiting periods 
should be part of your wedding plan


Want to get married fast? Read the full article to find out if your state has a marriage waiting period to avoid unexpected wedding ceremony delays.


Close up photo as a bride signs her marriage license registry book after the wedding ceremony


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What’s next… 
Stay up to date on marriage laws in your state


Lawmakers around the country will be proposing hundreds of new laws in the coming days and weeks as the 2023 legislative session draws closer. To stay informed on what’s new and what might change regarding marriage laws in your state, visit the AMM News Page on the blog, and subscribe to AMM’s Monthly Newsletter: 





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American Marriage Ministries is a non-profit, interfaith and non-denominational constitutional church that provides free ordination, advocacy, and training for our ministers to ensure that all people have the right to get married and to perform marriage. Learn more here. 



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♦  How to Get Ordained and Officiate a Wedding in South Carolina 


♦ Conviértase en un Oficiante de Bodas en South Carolina

Friends and family members can perform wedding ceremonies in South Carolina if they’ve been ordained. Get ordained online with AMM to get started.





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A wedding toast! Close up on a glass of bourbon with a heart shaped piece of ice

Create a unique unity ceremony for your wedding by Burying the Bourbon! Bury a bottle of whiskey a month before your wedding day, then celebrate getting married with a lucky unity toast. Read the full article to learn more about this tradition. 




Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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