Once you’ve decided to elope, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the task of completing all of the legal paperwork. How do we get our marriage license? How many witnesses do we need? Can we have a friend officiate our ceremony? Who are the best North Carolina officiants? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, you’ll find all of the answers in this blog post!
*This post is written according to the current 2022 marriage laws in North Carolina found on the North Carolina Court Website. Laws and processes vary by state, so be sure to do research according to the state that you will be married in. If you’re eloping in North Carolina, this post is perfect for you!
The first step is to obtain your marriage license. You can do this at any county’s Register of Deeds office in North Carolina. The office that you go to to obtain your marriage license does not have to be in the same county that you plan to get married in. Click here to find the office nearest to you.
In general, both partners must visit the Register of Deeds office. You will need to pay a fee, as well as fill out a form stating your names, ages, marital status, and intention to marry. They may require your social security number, government-issued ID or birth certificate. And you can always call the office beforehand to confirm what you will need to bring!
Keep in mind that marriage licenses expire after 60 days if the wedding has not taken place, so wait until you’re within 60 days of your elopement to obtain your marriage license.
For this post, I’ve broken it down to 3 different options: Hiring an officiant, having a family member or friend officiate, and how to elope without an officiant.
The first, and most popular option is to hire an officiant! There are several officiants in North Carolina that specialize in small weddings & elopements. You can hire an officiant to write a personal ceremony script using details from your relationship, or hire someone to read traditional vows. Whatever you’re looking for, there is an officiant out there for you! A professional officiant can also help you with the paperwork and legalities.
Vanessa at Adventure Officiant – Vanessa is my go-to girl! She’s the best hype girl and will happily climb a mountain to officiate your wedding. If you’re looking for an adventurous officiant that will make you laugh, celebrate with you and create a personal script using your love story, she’s your girl!
Amanda at Happily Ever Asheville – Amanda is a wedding officiant and marriage coach based in Asheville, NC! If you’re looking for an officiant with a calming presence for an intentional and grounded ceremony, she’s the girl for you!
If you would like a family member or friend to officiate your wedding, you can do that if they are ordained. I personally love this option, it is such a special way to include someone you love in your wedding day.
Unfortunately, North Carolina does not allow you to self-solemnize like some other states do. If you want to elope just the two of you, you can take care of the legal stuff at the courthouse another day. In my opinion, it doesn’t make your day any less special. The day that you say your personal vows is the day you’re going to celebrate again every year. A piece of paper doesn’t have to change that!!
Following the ceremony, your officiant and at least two witnesses are required to sign the marriage license. If you have guests, you can pick 2 people you’d like to sign. If you don’t have any guests, anyone who was present during the ceremony can sign – your photographer, a fellow hiker that happened to be there, etc.
Thank you so much for reading!! I hope this blog post was helpful for you and provided all of the answers to your questions about eloping in North Carolina. I’m Erin, I help couples plan a more intentional and meaningful wedding day by providing them with the resources and help they need to bring their dream day to life. If you’re ready to start planning your elopement, click here for more information!!
October 25, 2022