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North Carolina Marriage Laws

North Carolina Marriage Laws and North Carolina Marriage License Requirements

Whether you are planning a destination wedding on the outer banks of North Carolina, an intimate wedding in Charlotte, or planning to elope in the Smokey Mountain there are marriage requirements which will have to be met in order to satisfy the marriage laws and other North Carolina Marriage License Requirements. We recommend that you read through the high level North Carolina marriage laws provided below, and then follow that up with a phone call to the county clerks office to make sure everything needed to obtain your license is in order.

Valid US ID

Much like New York State Marriage Laws in North Carolina you must show proof of age in order for a county clerk to give you a marriage license. To validate your age in North Carolina you will need one of the following: Driver’s License, Military ID, State ID, Passport, or a certified United States birth certificate. On top of validating your age and identity you will also need a Social Security Number. To validate your SSN in NC you will need to either have the sate issues SSN card or any official document containing your SSN. A payroll stub or your W-2 can also be used to validate your SSN.

Note: It was noted in a comment left by an employee of New Hanover County that a Birth Certificate is now required in most North Carolina Counties.


You neither have to be a North Carolina resident or a US resident to receive a North Carolina Marriage license.

Waiting Period

For those planning either to elope or to have a destination wedding in North Carolina you will be glad to know that there is no waiting period from the time the license is received from the county clerk’s office and when your wedding ceremony can take place.

Length Marriage License is Valid

The law in North Carolina provides for a 60 day window from the time your marriage license is issued. After 60 days you will have to re-file and re-pay all applicable fees associated with getting a North Carolina Marriage License.

Medical and Other Tests

There are no physical exams or blood tests required in the state of North Carolina.

Age Requirements

Age 20 Years and Younger
All applicants age 20 or less will be required to show proof of their age.

Age 18 Years and Older
Once the bride and groom are 18 there is no parental consent needed to receive your marriage license.

Age 16 or 17
Parental consent is needed is the bride or groom are ages 16 or 17.

Age 14 or 15
The law does provide for a 14 or 15 year old to marry. Both parental consent and a court order is needed for marrying at such a young age.

Under Age 14
No one under the age of 14 can marry in the state of North Carolina.

Marriages by Proxy

There are no proxy marriages in NC, but you may still receive a North Carolina marriage license if only the bride or groom is present at the county clerk’s office. The county clerk will need a notarized affidavit from absent partner.

Previously Married

If your previous marriage ended in divorce within the last 60 days then you will need to present the divorce decree to the county clerk. If your previous marriage ended in either death or divorce and more than 60 has elapsed, then you will just need to be able to supply the dates to the clerk.

Fees and Taxes

There is a $60 fee for marrying in North Carolina. The county clerk will only accept cash. Make sure you call the county clerks office before going to request your marriage license. Fees could very well change without notice.

Marrying a Cousin

You are allowed to marry a first cousin, but you may not marry a sibling or anyone closer than a first cousin .

Common Law

North Carolina marriage laws do not provide for a common law marriage.

Same Sex Marriages

North Carolina has a Defense of Marriage Act – DOMA which strictly prohibits same sex marriage.

Wedding Officiants

A licensed clergymen, ordained minister, or magistrate may officiate a wedding in North Carolina.


Please remember that marriage laws very from county to county, so make sure you contact the particular county you wish to marry in for exact details. Also make sure you ask if you have any questions because chances are the county clerk will only give you the very basics as far as requirements go. If you have any questions or concerns then you will have to ask some very direct question.

Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate

To obtain a copy of your North Carolina marriage license you will need to contact the North Carolina Vital Records department at:
NC Vital Records
P.O. Box 29537
Raleigh, NC 27626-0537
Phone: (919) 733-3526

Premarital Counseling

Premarital Counseling is not required by law in North Carolina, but every bride and groom should still attend marriage counseling with a minister or clergy member.

Topics: North Carolina | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “North Carolina Marriage Laws”

  1. Fred E. Lehmkuhl Says:
    January 30th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    While I am the worship leader, I am not an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, but as a Certified Deacon, I have been authorized to execute the Office of the Keys for our congregation, including Word and Sacraments. In Tennessee, I am authorized to perform wedding ceremonies.

  2. Gary Prichard Says:
    March 14th, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Honoring all spiritual paths with respect, support and caring, I am an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and I live in Hendersonville NC. Visit my site: http://www.garyprichard.wordpress.com for more information.

  3. Jennifer H MacNeish Says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Please note that info on this site is incorrect. Fees are now $60 and many counties require a birth certificate.

  4. Carmen Caro Says:
    July 23rd, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    What are the requirements in NC for aliens from Mexico to obtain a marriage license.

  5. Joanna Lucero Says:
    September 10th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    do i need to get my marriage license in the same county im getting married in