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Marriage licenses: making your marriage legal

The wedding is almost here! You’ve aced this wedding planning thing! But did you already apply and receive your marriage license?

While obtaining your marriage license is often something the officiant or priest will make sure you take care of, it can also be something you easily forget. You’ve taken care of what would seem like EVERY ASPECT of the wedding, but without this piece of paper, to the government, you did not actually get married. The process is actually quite easy, but it does require some time in the middle of the workday, which can be tricky to figure out and definitely not something you want to leave to the last minute!

Rules for obtaining a marriage license differ by state (and then depending on the state, sometimes by county.) Here in NC, the regulations are statewide, which makes things a little easier. Here are some facts relating to current NC marriage licenses:

  • They cost $60.

  • You must be 18 or older (or have a parent with you to consent)

  • Both parties have to appear, in person, at your local Register of Deeds office

  • Once issued the license you can get married anytime in the next 60 days

  • You must have a Valid ID (Driver’s license, State ID, Military ID, Passport, or Residency card)

  • You must have your social security card (or you must sign an affidavit)

  • You do NOT need to be a North Carolina resident to get married in NC

  • Marriages must be performed by an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, a magistrate, or a federally- or state-recognized Indian Nation or tribe.

  • Two witnesses must be present at your marriage and must sign the license

In the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area:

  • You can fill out the application online here:

  • Both parties still have to make an appearance at the Register's office and provide the correct forms of identity (ID and SS card), but you can skip all of the physical paperwork

  • If you are between the ages of 18-21, you must provide a birth certificate as well as a valid ID

  • The Register’s office is located at: 720 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

  • Have questions? Call the Register’s Office at (704) 336-2443

  • Local office hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

After your ceremony:

  • The signed marriage license must be returned promptly to the office it was issued

  • If the license isn’t returned to the Register by the 60th day, you will have to repeat the process.

  • To obtain a copy of your marriage license (and you WILL need at least at least one), go in person or request one via mail to 720 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

  • Certified copies of your marriage license are $10.00 each and must provide a valid ID

Previously married?

  • You must provide the month and year of your divorce

  • If your divorce was finalized within one year of applying for your next marriage license, you must provide the original or a certified copy of your divorce decree

  • There is no waiting period between when your divorce is finalized and when you can marry again

Special note*** You may choose to legally change your name after you get married, but having a valid marriage license is only the first step in that process.

All the best,


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