NC Marriage Laws: What you need to know to be legally married in North Carolina

Step aside, Vegas! Couples looking to get married have been flocking to North Carolina lately. From beautiful beaches and historical sites on one end of the state all the way up into stunning mountain backdrops in western NC for those perfect elopements and sunset weddings- this destination is a wedding wonderland with endless possibilities for couples who want an unforgettable setting to host their friends and families for this epic celebration. Whether you’re wanting a huge party full of your closest family & friends where you rage all night! or just a quiet intimate ceremony where the two of you can exchange personal vows – here’s what every couple needs to know before getting married in The Tarheel State (full disclosure Im an NC State Fan, so its the Wolfpack state for me!)

A bride and groom dance in the middle of a large room while being captured by a talented wedding photographer in Asheville, NC.

STEP ONE: Time to Get Ordained

Whether you want a professional officiant, your childhood minister or your best friend’s dad to marry you, they must be legally ordained in the state of North Carolina to perform the marriage ceremony.

Making your wedding more personal is easy with the right officiant! Asheville has many that you can choose from, and your wedding planner can help you out with that. But if you want it to mean even more have someone close to you perform the ceremony- no problem- just make sure they meet these simple requirements:

  • Officiant must be 18 years of age or older

  • Officiant must be legally ordained in the state of North Carolina

  • Get ordained online at the Universal Life Church Website.



  • Visit a North Carolina Register of Deeds Office.
  • Ready for your happily ever after? Make sure you get to a North Carolina office in person to pick up the marriage license. Raleigh, Charlotte or Asheville – pick whatever works best for you, and the lest amount of time for you to lose it while traveling too!
  • Apply no more than 60 days before the wedding date. If its more then you arent going to be legal…
  • Apply for a marriage license at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office and pick it up when you arrive for the wedding weekend. 
  • Oh yeah.  Where do you apply? HERE.



VISIT THE SAME NC Register of Deeds Office from which you applied for your marriage license in person to pick it up.

BOTH of you need to be present. BOTH OF YOU NEED TO BRING THE FOLLOWING:

  • Valid photo I.D.s

  • Social security cards

  • $60

  • Double check that both copies are filled out correctly – check for any typos or misprints.

  • Make sure you have a return envelope

  • Make sure you have BOTH copies with you for the ceremony.  You wont be married without them!

P.S.  Get a manilla envelope plus a Ziploc freezer bag.  This way you don’t spill shit all over it before the wedding!

Wedding ceremony on the ocean terrace at Ocean key resort and spa in Key West Florida


Make sure your all of your planning is legally binding by finding two qualified witnesses. Usually its a parent or a member of your wedding party

No worries if you’re eloping – ask a trusty wedding planner or photographer to be present and sign the marriage license! Ive even seen the pool/cabana boy get in on the action.  Thats another story for another day!

Your potential Witnesses must both be of age (18+), so don’t forget this important step when preparing for “I do”.

Its actually a great thing to be able to witness and photograph the union.


Ready to make it official? North Carolina requires couples in an impending marriage to clearly express their commitment and desire for marrying each other. But don’t worry – there are plenty of ways you can creatively convey this message! Whether its “I Do,” “Yes,” or your own unique take on declaring love everlasting: as long as the answer is a bold, fearless “yes!” then you’ll be all set for that walk down the aisle!

just married couple laughing down the aisle at the farm in asheville nc


After saying “I do”, it is almost time to make the marriage official! Both copies of your precious wedding paperwork must be signed by either an officiant and two witnesses – so don’t forget that. For those couples having a destination nuptial, be aware which county you’re tying the knot in as this needs to appear on both certificates.

Once fully complete, hurry up and return each copy back to its origin within just ten days after exchanging vows.. There’s no need for stress however; many happy newlyweds opt out of personally delivering their license if they have hired professional planning services who can take care of sending out all documents promptly post-ceremony (usually 1 day) ensuring they arrive in plenty enough time before expiration date!


You did it! You’ve dropped the mic and taken your vows with that special someone, sealing the deal in confetti-filled glory. Now’s your chance to solidify this commitment by getting an official document of marriage – a testament to all those pledges made for a bigger life adventure ahead. Let’s get ready for some serious fun together!

Documentary Wedding Photographer in North Carolina

When you’re planning your wedding, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is who to hire as your photographer.

If you’re looking for someone who can capture the spirit of your day, then a documentary photographer (hey, that’s me!) is there to capture the entire feeling of the wedding day.

While of course there are some posed photos (because there’s no way I’m not doing some killer portraits with that view) the focus is on you and your family and all the love and emotion of the day.

Asheville Wedding Photographer: 

If you’re planning a wedding at in Asheville, North Carolina or the Western North Carolina Mountains, then let’s talk!

I’d love to hear about your day and what you are looking for in a wedding photographer.

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