How to Officiate Weddings in Winston Salem
A Winston-Salem Wedding Ceremony Guide for Couples and Wedding Ministers
Winston-Salem has a rich history that predates the founding of America. It began as Salem, split off the city of Winston, and the two were hitched once more in the early 20th century. It’s been known as a regional industrial center since its early days, and came to be known as cigarette city in the early 1900’s, when the region was home to a tobacco industry eventually consolidated under RJ Reynolds. In 1920, it was the largest city in North Carolina, and today it’s a shining example of urban revitalization, having been named one of America’s most affordable cities to start a small business. Truly a city of arts and innovation.
But we aren’t just here to talk about smokes, are we?
You’ve got a lot of excitement to plan for on your big date, but while we’ve got your attention, let's look into the paperwork and regulations to make sure your marriage is official.
The first thing to take note of is who is allowed to officiate a wedding in North Carolina: ministers and magistrates. Since you’re here reading about AMM, you’re probably interested in becoming a minister. We can help with that, or if you’re already a magistrate, you’re all set.
The direct wording of the North Carolina law recognizes “an ordained minister of any denomination” as an individual with the right to perform marriage. To read the full text of the law, and other North Carolina marriage laws, check out this link.
If you were asked to perform a wedding, we’re here for you. You can get ordained as an AMM minister right now, and we will help you get ready for the wedding. There are thousands of AMM Ministers who have performed marriage in North Carolina and takes just a few minutes to get started.
When you perform the marriage, and act in your official capacity as a state recognized wedding officiant, Forsyth County may request that you provide minister credentials. AMM makes physical copies of all your documentation available for a small fee. (Prior to the wedding, you can call the county clerk’s office to ask about local requirements)
Once you get ordained with AMM, you can start preparing for the wedding ceremony! It’s a big responsibility and a tremendous honor to be asked to officiate a wedding – don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’re here to help you prepare for the ceremony, and have created a number of tools and resources to help you out.
Make sure you take full advantage of our free wedding ceremony script library, the ceremony prep tools, tips for organization, and much more.
STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License
Remember, before the ceremony, it is the couple’s responsibility to obtain a marriage license - the official document used to record the marriage. Since you and the couple are reading this page, we know you all know what your responsibilities are, but before you perform the ceremony, double check that marriage license to make sure all the details are correct.
After the ceremony, you will need to sign the marriage license as the officiant, along with the couple and witnesses, and pay attention, because it is your responsibility to return the completed license to the county clerk’s office within 10 days of the ceremony. So make sure that the completed license is safe before enjoying any more of the wedding.▲ TOP
Now let’s turn to the couple’s responsibilities. We know they have a lot to plan, but they can’t forget the most important part – the marriage license! To get a license, both parties must visit one of the Forsyth County Register of Deed’s Office: 201 North Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.
Make sure that you both bring:
- Valid government-issued photo I.D. with name and DoB, such as a driver's license or passport.
- $70.00 cash. Other forms of payment are not accepted.
After your marriage license has been issued, there are a couple time windows you should be aware of. There is a 3 day waiting period before you can actually get married (if you get a license on Monday, it will be valid on Thursday), and the license is only valid for 60 days. Plan your trip in advance to avoid a panic the week before the wedding.
Issuance Office: Forsyth County Register of Deeds, 201 North Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Waiting Period: 3 Days
Expiration: 60 Days
Return: by Minister
The Basics – The Piedmont Triad area, spanning Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, is connected by a network of interstate highways, making it easy to get around the greater metro area. And since it’s in the center of the state, friends and relatives in North Carolina should have no problems traveling to the wedding.
There are many wedding venue options to choose from in the area, from historic buildings, to outdoor locations (plan seasonally, there’s so much beautiful scenery!).
Looking for antique charm? Old brick buildings abound, and you can book one today for your big event! The Historic Brookstone Inn has been in operation since 1837, and boasts a ballroom that can accommodate 200 guests. The Graylyn Estate is a hotel and venue built by a former RJ Reynolds Tobacco Chairman, and is today owned by Wake Forest University.
NASCAR enthusiasts will be excited to know that the local Winston Cup Museum is also available for weddings.
Transportation -- Winston has an incredibly walkable downtown, so depending on venue location, guests may be able to get around without a car. However, if you need to get out of the heart of the city, and let’s be honest, there’s a lot to see, driving is going to be your best bet. Lyft and Uber are available to get you around the great Triad area.
Weather -- Seasonally appropriate dress is important in Winston. Summers are muggy, with temperatures generally in the 80’s, and winters see occasional snow, with the temperature generally lingering just above freezing. Always plan for a chance of rain.