Getting married without the crowd?

There are so many great reasons to get married without having a big blowout shindig! For one, it's much kinder on the wallet. Some people just aren't interested in the big wedding, and that's absolutely OK! Elopements are on the rise, and I, for one, am here for it.

Elopements are about the bride and groom whereas weddings tend to be for the guests. Elopements are deeply personal, and it's a moment that the bride and groom get to have all to themselves (and the few select people they might ask to join them).

So how do you elope in the state of South Carolina?

It's a pretty simple process, actually.

South Carolina Elopement


You start by obtaining a marriage license from your local probate court. To do so, you will need a copy of both ID's and a document stating your social security numbers.

There is a fee for the license. Here in Charleston County, it's $70.

Forms of ID

Identification can be in the form of a driver's license, passport, military ID, or birth certificate. And documents for your social security number can be your social security card, tax return, or W-2 form.

Check your email!

About two days after you apply for the marriage license, you should receive and email copy of your marriage license.

Hire an official Officiant

Next you'll need an ordained minister, a Jewish Rabbi, officers authorized to administer oaths in South Carolina or a South Carolina Notary to perform your ceremony.

If there is someone who is close to you, they can be ordained online here. If you were prefer a more official officiant, there are plenty to be found! You can start by searching websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire.

South Carolina Elopement
South Carolina Elopement

The marriage license

You will need three copies of your marriage license: two to mail in and one to keep for your records. The two copies will be mailed to the probate court and labeled PROBATE JUDGE and PROBATE JUDGE/DHEC COPY.

Signing your license

If you do plan to change your name, know that you need to sign your marriage license with your original name, not the new one (because your name hasn't changed yet!).

South Carolina Elopement

Choose a location

Now we get to the fun part! Choosing the details. Let's start with the location. Choose a location that is meaningful to you and if a meaningful location isn't suitable, choose a location that is beautiful. South Carolina is home to some absolutely stunning locations that are all perfect for a quick elopement. Just remember to do the research and check to see if there are any fines or permits required!

Some great locations in Charleston are:

Folly Beach

White Point Gardens

Riverfront Park in North Charleston

Laurel County Park

Hampton Park

Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant (where the elopement pictured was captured)

Wannamaker Park

James Island County Park

Choose an outfit

You absolutely don't have to choose a traditional outfit. Some people want to wear the white dress and some people want to wear sweat pants! This moment is absolutely for you, so do what makes you happy!

South Carolina Elopement
South Carolina Elopement

Tie the knot

Tie the knot