Making it Official 2019

Kimberly ArmstrongMaking It Official1 Comment

Not to detract from the romantic element of your wedding, but the fact that marriage is a legal contract cannot be ignored. And with the many overwhelming details that must be attended to, the necessity of applying for a marriage license may easily fall through the cracks. To ensure that your joyful union is an official one, attend to the required paperwork to obtain a marriage license and check this important item off your to-do list before you say, “I do.”

There are 100 counties in the state of North Carolina. A marriage license can be obtained in any one of those counties, and that license can be used to get married anywhere in the state. However, be aware that each county office may differ in regard to required documents for application. You may check county websites to determine specific requirements. 

All Three Counties

The three counties on the Outer Banks are Currituck, Dare, and Hyde. These counties share the following marriage license requirements: 

  • Both parties must personally appear at the Register of Deeds Office to apply for a wedding license. 
  • There is no waiting period for the license. The license may be used from the moment it is issued. However, marriage licenses are valid for only 60 days after they are issued. The application will be invalid if you apply after your ceremony has taken place. 
  • No appointment is necessary. 
  • A blood test is not required. 
  • The fee is $60. 
  • There must be two witnesses to the ceremony – whether it is civil or religious.

Photo Sara D’Ambra Photography

For specific requirements regarding each of the three Outer Banks counties, read below: 

Dare County 

A dedicated page on Dare County’s website allows couples to complete and submit their marriage application before they visit the county office. Expect to spend about 30 minutes for the online process. Completing the application online will help speed things up when you arrive in person. 

Documents to bring with you: 

  • A valid government picture ID that includes your dates of birth. 
  • Social security card or any other official paperwork with your social security number listed, such as a W2 form or pay stub. 
  • Divorce decree with judge’s signature if your divorce was less than a year ago. If your divorce was more than a year ago, you just need to be able to list the date of the divorce on your application. 
  • If either of you is under 21, certified birth certificate is required. Those under age 18 will need more affidavits and should consult the website or Register of Deeds office directly, prior to going.

The Dare County Register of Deeds office is open weekdays from 8:30am – 5pm, but applicants should arrive no later than 4:30pm. Although Monday is their busiest day, other days between noon and 2pm are fairly busy as well. Payment methods: Cash, checks, money orders or credit cards (with a 2% surcharge).

Dare County
Dare County Justice Center
962 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Room 165A  • Manteo, NC

Matt Lusk Photography

Currituck County

The Currituck County office is located on the mainland and is approximately 13 miles south of the Virginia state line. Although Currituck County has a satellite office in Corolla, it does not provide marriage license services. There are downloadable forms and worksheets on their website. Couples can complete the paperwork ahead of time and arrive prepared.

Documents to bring with you: 

  • A valid government picture ID that includes your date of birth. 
  • Social security numbers and the dates of previous marriages or divorces, but official documentation is not required of either. 

The Currituck County Register of Deeds Office issues marriage licenses from 8am – 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Payment methods: Cash, money order, or personal check. 

Currituck County
Currituck Judicial Center
2801 Caratoke Hwy., Suite 300 • Currituck, NC

Sarah Keenan Creative

Hyde County

The Hyde County office is located on the mainland and is approximately 68 miles west of the Outer Banks Welcome Center in Manteo. Hyde County also provides downloadable forms and worksheets on their website. Complete the paperwork ahead of time and arrive prepared.

  Documents to bring with you: 

  • A valid government picture ID that includes your dates of birth. 
  • Social security card or any other official paperwork with your social security number listed, such as a W2 form or old pay stub. 
  • If previously married, you must provide the month and year of your last divorce(s). There is no waiting period. 
  • If under age 18, consult the website or Register of Deeds office directly, prior to going. 

The Hyde County Register of Deeds is open weekdays, 8am – 5pm. Marriage license applicants should arrive no later than 4pm. Payment methods: Cash only. 

Hyde County (Ocracoke Island):
Hyde County Government Center
30 Oyster Creek Rd. • Swan Quarter, NC

Once your minister, magistrate, or officiant has announced you and your beloved officially married, it is their responsibility to sign your marriage license and return it to the issuing county office within 10 days after the marriage ceremony. It is important to note that marriage certificates are not automatically mailed out to newly married couples. You must request an official copy of your certificate after the wedding ceremony. To obtain a certified copy, download the request form from the appropriate county’s website and follow the mailing instructions. The charge for each copy is $10.

While you’re perusing the county websites, it is a good time to check on any additional permits or restrictions regarding your wedding festivities, especially if you are planning an on-the-beach ceremony.

The national seashores, public beaches, and lighthouses each have different regulations regarding outdoor ceremonies. Scroll through their websites to see what they have to say about tents, chairs, arbors, etc.

Lori Douglas Photogaphy

You are advised to contact the town in which your ceremony will be held regarding any additional permits or restrictions: 

Town Rules & Regs

When planning your wedding, be sure to do your research when it comes to regulations and required permits within the municipality you plan to tie the knot. Here’s a listing to help you get started on other town-specific regulations. 

Town of • 252-255-1234
There are no public parking lots or public accesses for the beaches in Duck. The Town of Duck requires that any gathering of 50 or more people register with the town’s Department of Community Development at least 30 days before the event. Rehearsal dinners, brunches, and post-wedding parties also fall under this requirement. Registration forms are available on the town’s website. 

Town of Southern • 252-261-2394
It is recommended that the bride and groom shuttle in guests from other locations as there is no public parking available in Southern Shores. Couples can apply for an encroachment parking agreement if they think they may have parking overflow at a rental home. An event permit is required to erect tents or canopies, but there is no fee. Also fires are not allowed on the beach. 

Town of Kitty •  252-261-3552
A $50 outdoor gathering permit is required for groups of 50 or more. If you are planning to set up a tent that is more than 200 square feet, there is an additional fee of $25 for fire inspection.

Town of Kill Devil • 252-449-5300
You may set up chairs and decorations, but no tents or canopies are allowed on the beach. To erect a tent or canopy at your rental home, you must obtain a building permit, but there is no fee. 

Town of Nags • 252-441-5508
The number of chairs allowed on the beach is 40. Tents and canopies are allowed only on private property, and if they exceed 400 square feet, they require an inspection. 

Town of Manteo • 252-473-2133
A downloadable wedding reservation form is on the town of Manteo’s website and is required to confirm the availability of a time slot for your waterfront wedding.  

Currituck County (Corolla) •  252-453-8555
Tents on private property that are more than 400 square feet require a permit and tents or canopies over 200 square feet may require an inspection by the fire marshal. Weddings with more than 100 guests may need a mass gathering permit. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore /Ocracoke • 252-473-2111 (includes Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke lighthouses)
If you are planning to get married on in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore area, you must obtain a permit and pay a $100 fee. While couples are bound to discover solitude and beauty on these beaches, they will need to plan a wedding at a beach access that has enough parking for guests. Also, wedding décor such as flowers, garlands, gazebos, rice, and birdseed are prohibited in the national park. While no formal seating is allowed for a gathering, exceptions are allowed to accommodate elderly or handicapped visitors. ♥

Top feature image Matt Lusk Photography


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