Columbia, South Carolina Wedding Guide

Become a Wedding Officiant in Columbia as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in South Carolina, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.

How to Officiate a Wedding in Columbia, South Carolina

If you’re from River City, then you already know what a hidden gem South Carolina’s state capital is. It may have some city aspects, but it truly feels like a small town with all its southern charm and old fashioned hospitality.


So, whether you’re planning a simple down-home wedding or a glamorous night-on-the-town extravaganza, Columbia’s got you covered. But before you get too wrapped up in the wedding planning process, there are some important to-do’s to check off your list first, such as getting your officiant-of-choice ordained and squaring away your marriage license.


But don’t get a burr in your saddle! We have all the need-to-know info about the legalities of getting married in Richland County right here in our guide. Let’s get to it.

South Carolina Wedding Tips and Tricks

Become a Wedding Officiant

For The
Wedding Officiant

STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries


Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to South Carolina state law, “ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized to administer oaths in this State” are authorized to administer a marriage ceremony in the state.


If you do not fall into any of these categories, no sweat. You can get ordained with AMM to fall within the minister category. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.


The South Carolina state government does not license, register, or certify ministers or wedding officiants, so once you’re signed up with us, you’re ready to start performing wedding ceremonies!


STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Richland County


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.

STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License


When it comes to the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain it from the probate court’s office, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before you perform the ceremony. After the ceremony, be sure to help them complete it and notarize it correctly.


In Columbia, once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The couple will take care of the rest.

South Carolina Wedding

How To Get Married in Columbia

For The

Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities.


The process of obtaining a marriage license has changed since COVID-19. Now, you must apply for your marriage license online via Richland County’s website. 


When you apply, you’ll need to have the following handy:


  • Valid, state-issued photo IDs (driver’s license, military ID or passport)
  • Debit/credit card to pay the $45.24 marriage license fee
  • Document showing your social security number (social security card, W2, or tax return)


After 48 hours of processing time, the office will send you a copy of your marriage license, provided that you have sent them all required documentation for both applicants.


On the day of the wedding, your officiant will help you fill it out and notarize it correctly. Then, you will need to mail it back to the probate court’s office so that your marriage can be recorded.


Mail your marriage license to: Richland County Probate Court, Attention Marriage License Division, PO Box 192, Columbia, SC 29202.

Richland County Marriage License Info

Important Facts to know before filing for a marriage license in Columbia, South Carolina.

Issuance Office: Richland County Probate Court

Fee: $45.24 

Waiting Period: 24 hours

Expiration: 6 months

Return: By the couple

Columbia Wedding Tips and Tricks

Wedding Venue and Planning Tips

For The Couple
& Officiant

The Basics


As you are trying to choose your wedding date, be sure to watch out for major events and festivals in town. It’s best to steer clear of these dates if you want to avoid traffic and parking problems on the big day. To be safe, check the local events calendar before committing to a date at a venue. And speaking of venues, let’s talk about some of the hottest spots in town.


There is no shortage of wedding venue options available in Columbia. Downtown, you have the modern 701 Whaley, the classic 1208 Washington Place and the sophisticated Capital City Club, which you’re probably familiar with from friends’ weddings.


But don’t be afraid to explore options outside of the city. There are some other great properties to be discovered outside of town, for instance, the Medicine Wind Farm in Berkeley County, or the Sanctuary at Edisto River Lodge -- both less than a two hour drive from Columbia.


If you really want a change of scenery, Charleston is host to an array of other options. Remember, your marriage license is valid throughout the state, so all of South Carolina is your oyster!




If you’re coming in from out of town and trying to get around Columbia on the cheap, you can utilize the city’s public transit system COMET. Columbia’s buses are unmissable thanks to their neon colors. You can find route maps and live bus tracking on COMET’s website, here. But if you don’t want to rely on the public transit system, Lyft and Uber are available in town.




When choosing your wedding date and venue, be sure to keep South Carolina’s seasons in mind. The Palmetto State has lovely spring and fall seasons -- which are perfect for outdoor weddings -- fairly mild winters, and hot and humid summers. By June, things really start to heat up and temperatures can climb into the 90s and sometimes the low 100s.

Columbia Officiant FAQ

Columbia Officiant & Couples FAQ

For The Couple
& Officiant

Are Internet ministers legal in South Carolina?
Yes, ministers from online ministries are accepted in South Carolina.


Does the minister have to register his or her credentials with the state?
No, the South Carolina government does not register ministers. Once you’re ordained with us, you’re free to start officiating weddings.


Do you have to be a resident of South Carolina to get married in South Carolina?


Is there a waiting period from the time you apply for your license to the time that you can get married?
There is a 24-hour waiting period from the time of application for the license to the time the marriage license can be issued.


Who should return the marriage license after the wedding?
The couple should mail the marriage license to the Probate Court’s office after the ceremony.


South Carolina City Guides

  1. Charleston
  2. Columbia
  3. North Charleston

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