Marriage in North Carolina

To receive a marriage license from North Carolina, each person must present a picture ID. If you do not have one, you may substitute a certified copy of your birth certificate. You can get a marriage license even if you do not live in North Carolina.

Both people must apply for a marriage license in person; if one person is unable to be there, the other party may present a sworn, notarized affidavit given by the unavailable party. Each applicant must offer proof of a Social Security Number, which can be done by presenting a W-2 form, an official statement of the SSN from the Social Security Office, or a payroll stub.

There is a $50 fee, which must be paid in cash. However, there is no waiting period and no medical test.

Important Legal Information

For persons under 14, no marriage license will be issued. A person who is 14 to 15 years old may receive a marriage license if he or she presents certified copies of both a birth certificate and a court order authorizing marriage. Someone who is 16 to 17 may be issued a marriage license provided he or she presents a notarized consent form given by a legal guardian, whether that is a person or an institution. He or she must also provide a certified copy of a birth certificate. A person aged 18 to 20 need only present a certified copy of a birth certificate. A person aged 21 or older may get a marriage license if he or she provides some type of ID.

Divorced people must provide the date of the most recent divorce before they can legally receive a marriage license. First cousins can receive marriage licenses, but double first cousins (first cousins who are related through both parents) cannot.

Common law marriages and same sex marriages are not legal in North Carolina.

Who Can Officiate?

State law allows any clergyman to perform a wedding ceremony. The person must be an ordained minister who has been authorized by his congregation to officiate at a wedding ceremony.

Only a magistrate can perform civil ceremonies. Whether your ceremony is religious or civil, there must be at least two witnesses present.

When Should I Apply For a Marriage License?

It is wise to apply for a marriage license at least one month ahead of your wedding day. Licenses are valid for only 60 days, so don't apply too soon or you may end up going through the whole process again.