Durham, North Carolina Wedding Guide
Become a Wedding Officiant in Durham as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in North Carolina, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.
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If you’re dreaming of a classic southern wedding, the city of Durham — nestled right in the heart of North Carolina — is the perfect spot. If you’re a wedding minister, this city will inspire your ceremony. This tight community has all the charms of nearby Southern metropolises like Nashville and Savannah, from delicious down-home eateries to rustic, charming wedding venues, but with a lower profile. And that means your dollars will go farther here.
Whether you’re going for a down-home gathering of friends and family, or an elegant black tie celebration, your Durham wedding will be a memory you will cherish forever. But before you fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole of gorgeous southern properties in NC, let’s get the logistics out of the way first, starting with getting your minister of choice ordained.
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Durham County Clerk’s website, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies:
“Ministers, officers, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State.”
If you’re not yet registered to perform marriages in North Carolina, you can get ordained with AMM to fall within the priest or minister category. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Durham County may ask you to present documentation, which AMM provides for a fee. (You can call the county clerk’s office before you perform the ceremony to ask if they will require you to bring the certificate in person.) Having credentials in hand is always a good idea.
Now that the easy part is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is an honor, but can feel like a lot of pressure. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
In Durham, either you or the couple is permitted to submit the completed license. So, just make sure that you sort out which party -- you (the officiant) or one of the members of the couple -- will deliver it back to the Durham County Register of Deeds Office. After that’s taken care of, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant.
So go ahead and reward yourself with a trip to Mama Dip’s and put your face into some of their glorious peach cobbler and ice cream — you earned it!
You can start the application process online. To obtain your marriage license, you both members of the couple will have to visit the Register of Deeds office at 201 East Main Street in the administration building two on the second floor.
When you go, just remember to bring:
Issuance Office: 201 East Main Street
Fee: $60 (cash)
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by officiant or couple
For The Couple
There’s plenty to do in Durham. In town, you can visit the Durham Performing Arts Center, the American Tobacco Campus, Brightleaf Square, and catch a Durham Bulls game. There’s also plenty of spots unique to Durham that do home-style catering, like Southern Harvest Catering and Thrills from the Grill. And as far as wedding venues, you’ll find there’s no shortage of them both inside the Triangle Area city limits, as well as a short drive outside of Raleigh.
The Chapel Hill Country Club is ideal for the couple looking for a location with simple southern elegance and surrounding old growth trees. It also has a comprehensive list of amenities, like catering, bar services, equipment and any other accommodations you might be looking for. The club has been in operation since 1922, so it has a long history of fine-tuning its five-star hospitality.
Or if you’re going for a more low key affair, but still want some zazz, Lavender Oaks Farm is our top pick. Its open air barn feels more casual than a traditional venue, but inside, it’s adorned with chandeliers, which add a touch of elegance to the rustic setting. But the property’s fields of foliage are probably the biggest draw. You’ll want to carve out a good chunk of time to get some photos in the lavender haze and in front of its acres of majestic oaks.
If you’re a guest coming in from out of town, the city's public bus is an affordable option to get around Durham and the Triangle if you’re on a budget. Or if you don’t want to rent a car or mess with the bus system, Lyft and Uber will be your best friends. For those coming down from New York or Charlotte, Amtrak connects to Raleigh, which is just 30 minutes outside of Durham.
You get to enjoy all the four seasons in North Carolina. It snows for about 4 days every winter, but doesn’t stay too cold for long. Fall and spring are gorgeous for weddings here. In springtime the flowers are blooming everywhere and the fall is just as picturesque. Summers can be hot and humid in July and August, but nothing unbearable.
You do need to provide proof of your social security number, which can be your social security card or an official document that shows the number, like a W2.
It is only necessary for marriage license applicant(s) to present their birth certificates if one of the applicants is under 21.
Cash only— so don’t forget to hit the ATM and withdraw $60 before you head down to apply for your marriage license.
No, you can get hitched the same day you apply for your marriage license in Durham.
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