How to get Ordained in South Carolina to Officiate

Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.

Welcome to the marriage laws guide of South Carolina. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but presiding is also a big job and important responsibility. We've created this page to provide guidance to both couples and ministers alike. In order to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible on the big day, we encourage you to follow the guide below. It will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in South Carolina.

Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:

  1. Getting Ordained in South Carolina

    Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is a lot easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. We don't believe in putting up barriers between your faith and you. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform thousands of marriages and other ceremonies every year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the bend! Click the button below to get started.

  2. How Do You Perform a Wedding in South Carolina

    To begin, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office in the county where the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and ask what documents the officials will need to see from you. You may be asked to show any number of items in order to verify your ordination status. Be aware, however, that these requirements often vary from county to county, which is why we recommend contacting officials beforehand. Any documents or materials you might require are available in the Minister Store here on our website.

    Select a county to see contact information for each office:

  3. South Carolina Wedding Officiant Requirements

    Once you've spoken with your county's marriage officials, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you need via our online catalog. Most ministers in South Carolina choose to order a Classic Wedding Set and an Official Letter of Good Standing.

    Ministers are generally required to register in South Carolina. It isn't uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination before giving the "go-ahead" to perform a marriage ceremony. In addition, having these documents on hand gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister is prepared for their big day. As requested by county officials, please order your materials well in advance of the wedding ceremony.

  4. How to Get a South Carolina Marriage License

    Marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office in South Carolina. Although it is the couple's job to pick up the license, the minister should ideally have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in South Carolina and its individual counties. Let's say, for example, the couple is planning to get a Greenville County marriage license. As the minister, you should double-check to be sure if there are any specific rules for getting married in Greenville County that the couple might not be aware of.

    Marriage licenses in South Carolina never expire. Note that there is a mandatory 1-day waiting period for marriage licenses, meaning that the couple must wait a minimum of 1 day after receiving the license before a ceremony can legally be performed. After the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned within 30 days.

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  5. How Do You Officiate a Wedding?

    As soon as all the paperwork is in order, you're ready to perform the wedding ceremony! If you need any guidance in this area whatsoever, don't hesitate to utilize the tools found here below. These carefully-tailored resources provide helpful tips and information on all aspects of performing a successful wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan the perfect ceremony.

    Many ULC ministers have used these same resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!

  6. Signing the Marriage License in South Carolina

    Now there's just one final, yet important, step. After performing the wedding, both you and the wedded couple must sign the marriage license. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious", and for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".

    For the address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. No license number is required. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!

South Carolina Marriage Laws

State Flag Of South Carolina

South Carolina marriage laws are governed by Chapter 1 of Title 20 of the code of South Carolina. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of South Carolina. Among those with this authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:

SC Code § 20-1-210 (2019) It shall be unlawful for any persons to contract matrimony within this State without first procuring a license as is herein provided and it shall likewise be unlawful for anyone whomsoever to perform the marriage ceremony for any such persons unless such persons shall first have delivered to the party performing such marriage ceremony a license as is herein provided duly authorizing such persons to contract matrimony. Any officer or person performing the marriage ceremony without the production of such license shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars nor less than twenty-five dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days nor less than ten days.

View the South Carolina Statutes on the official government state website.

Is it Legal For You to Perform a South Carolina Wedding?

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