Wedding Mondays!

This is the first of many more Wedding Mondays!!

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How do we get a marriage license?

If one or both of the couple live any where in Georgia and have a valid Georgia ID then they can get their marriage license from any county probate court.  If however, neither of the couple live in Georgia then they will need to get their license in this county, which is Chatham County.  The phone number to the court house here is: 912.652.7267.  If you are getting married in South Carolina, the phone number to the court house on Hilton Head Island is 843.341.8413.  Both bride and groom need to be present when obtaining their license.

If you get a marriage license in South Carolina it can only be signed in South Carolina. Likewise, if you get a marriage license in Georgia, then the ceremony must take place in Georgia. 

Once the license is signed, it can either be taken in by you the next business day, unless you get married during business hours, or it can be mailed in.  If you mail it in, you will need to provide them with a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can mail you the certified copy.

Georgia has no waiting period.  South Carolina has a 24 hour waiting period once you apply for a license.  In Georgia and South Carolina there are no blood tests required.

If either or both persons have ever been divorced, they must bring final divorce decrees. 

South Carolina marriage license expire within a certain time of obtaining them, whereas a Georgia license has no expiration date.

Divorce Decrees now REQUIRED in GA if you’ve been divorced and want to get married.

Yup, that’s right!

Now Georgia requires you to bring divorce decrees. Not just from six months ago, but from forever ago.

This is important, but who knows why?! You can marry your first cousin in GA but you can’t marry your same gendered partner. HOWEVER you have to bring up your past that you’re trying to forget! If you’ve EVER been married you HAVE to bring the divorce decrees.

Call the probate court and complain… or ask why: (912) 652-7395

What is a “Non-Denominational Officiant?”

Simple answer: someone who went online and got ordained just to be able to marry people. Not necessarily a pastor of a church.

In the State of Georgia, there are only two types of people who can marry a couple: Judges and Clergy. We do not have “Justice of the Peace” here in the State of Georgia.  If someone claims to be a Justice of the Peace, they are not legally able to marry a couple in the State of Georgia.

Just a silly picture of me standing next to a carriage.  I just love the arrow pointing to me!  Oh wait, it's pointing to the crosswalk!

Just a silly picture of me
standing next to a carriage.
I just love the arrow pointing to me!
Oh wait, it’s pointing to the crosswalk!

“Clergy” can be any religious figure: pastor, chaplain, rabbi, preacher, imam, sangha, priest, bishop, maybe even prophet.  Nearly all the time, a clergy person has had religious training and schooling.  For example, in order to be a Lutheran Pastor, I had to have a Bachelors Degree prior to entering seminary (which is an additional 4 year program).  Making it a total 8 years of educational instruction after high school.

In order to be a “non-denominational officiant” it takes about 20 minutes and some money,  then in the eyes of the State of Georgia it qualifies them to be a person who is considered “clergy.”  Those persons often call themselves Reverend, because technically they are.  I too am a Reverend, yet it took me more than 20 minutes.

I’ve heard of many people going online to get ordained to marry couples, celebrities often do that in order to marry a celebrity couple.  Am I opposed to these non-demoninational wedding officiants?  Only when they pretend to be a pastor or religious leader, maybe wearing clergy collar and attire, or when they don’t even believe in God and only do this for the money (I doubt they go to worship services anywhere).

How do you know if your wedding officiant has a religious educational background, such as myself, or went online?  Simple: ask them.

Share your thoughts!

Marriage Licenses!

Who would have thought 18 years ago that Savannah would become one of the top 3 places in the country to get married?  Not me, but that’s what we have become, IMO!

One question I get asked is “what do we do with the marriage license?”  Here’s a recent photo I took of the piece of paper that is stapled to the marriage license that is given by the Chatham County Probate Court.

Chatham County Probate Court License Info.

As a bit of a reminder: if you live out of state, you must get your marriage license in this county; if you live in GA, you can get your marriage license from any county; and, you cannot bring a marriage license from another state and use it here.  Also, you’ll need two forms of gov’t issued ID with at least one of them being a photo ID.

Please call them at 912.652.7395 if you have questions.

Marriage license information

I often get asked about marriage license information. Here’s a link to information about Georgia marriage licenses. Here’s a list of additional information:

  • You cannot bring a marriage license from out of state, in order to get married in Georgia
  • You cannot take a Georgia license out of state
  • There are no blood tests required in Georgia
  • There are no witnesses needed in Georgia
  • Once the couple have the license they do not sign it, only the minister/judge will sign it
  • If you live out of state, you need to get your license in this county (Chatham County)
  • The marriage license in this county: they will give you three carbonless copies, attached at the top. The blue copy is for you to take with you, the other two copies get sent or taken back into the courthouse.
  • If they are sent/mailed in, you need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope in order to get a copy of it back (normally about 3 weeks go get it back)
  • Or you can take it back in to the courthouse and have it recorded on the spot.
  • If you live in state, you can get your license from any county.
  • I think you’ll need to know where you parents were born (along with other questions)
  • One of those other questions is really strange: Are you related?
  • In Georgia you can’t marry your same gendered partner but you can marry your first cousin!