Published: Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, 2020

Will South Carolina get rid of its marriage license waiting period?

A bill prefiled with the South Carolina Senate for 2021 would (if passed) amend the code relating to written marriage licenses, thereby removing the 24-hour application period before a marriage license can be issued. 


By removing this waiting period, the bill, SC S.B. 123, would make it possible for couples to receive their marriage license immediately after submitting their completed written application to the appropriate judge or clerk of court. 


Currently, marriage licenses in South Carolina are issued 24 hours after the couple file their application. The application must be signed by both individuals, contain the required personal information, and after submitted, is kept on file with the probate judge or court clerk. 


Waiting periods like this (1-5 days) are not uncommon across the country. For example, there are also one-day waiting periods in Delaware, Illinois, and New York. 


(To see if there's a waiting period in your state, visit the Marriage Laws page.)


Removing this waiting period would allow couples to get married in a shorter time frame, This includes couples hoping to elope, couples finding themselves offered a sudden opening at a preferred wedding venue, and those choosing to marry quickly for emergency or other personal reasons. 


To read the full text of the bill, 2021 SC S.B. 123, head here



Learn how to perform marriage in South Carolina, including who can solemnize marriage and steps for registering as an officiant, by visiting our SC Weddings By State pages.


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