Your wedding day is without a doubt the happiest, most romantic day of your life. However, it is also a legal proceeding. We realize this isn’t the “fun” part of wedding planning, but there are certain things you need to do to ensure yours goes off without hitch.
There are 100 counties in North Carolina, and a marriage license can be obtained in any one of them. That license can be used to get married anywhere in the state. In other words, you can pick up your marriage license in Cherokee County, which is as far west as can be in the state, and use that license to get married anywhere on the Outer Banks. Just be aware that each county office may differ in regard to required documents for application. Provided below are the various county websites to determine the specific requirements needed for your wedding location.
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.
- A marriage license is valid as soon as it is issued and is good for 60 days only. The application will be invalid if you apply after your ceremony has taken place.
- You won’t need an appointment to get your license.
- A blood test or medical test is not required for a license.
- The fee is $60, to be paid most often in cash. There are some exceptions. See below as to what is required in each county.
- There must be two witnesses to the ceremony – whether it is civil or religious.
- You will be required to give your social security number. If for some reason a social security number has not been issued – an example, one of the partners is not a US citizen – a notarized statement that the applicant is not eligible for a social security number will be needed. The Register of Deeds will likely also ask for confirming identification.
- Neither partner can be currently married. In some cases a copy of the divorce decree may be required.
- All Outer Banks Register of Deeds require photo ID with date of birth.
- To save time, marriage applications can be filled out and submitted online to the Currituck or Dare County Register of Deeds. Hyde County provides an online marriage application worksheet, but does not provide an online link for applicants.
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.
Currituck County Judicial Center – co.currituck.nc.us/marriage-information/
2801 Caratoke Highway, Suite 300, Currituck • 252.232.3297
- Bring a valid government picture ID that includes your date of birth.
- Bring social security numbers and the dates of previous marriages or divorces, but official documentation are not required of either.
- Licenses are issued Monday through Friday from 8am-4:30pm.
- Accepts cash, checks, or money orders, made payable to the Currituck County Register of Deeds.
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.
Dare County Justice Center – darenc.com/departments/register-of-deeds/marriages
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo • 252.475.5000
- Bring a valid government picture ID that includes your dates of birth.
- Bring 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; a 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.
- Licenses are issued Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm. but the office asks applicants to please come no later than 4:30pm to allow for processing.
- Accepts credit and debit cards, cash, checks, or money orders, made payable to the Dare County Register of Deeds. There is a 2% surcharge on credit cards.
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.
Hyde County Courthouse – hyderod.net
30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter • 252.926.4182
- Bring a valid government picture ID that includes your dates of birth.
- Bring 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.
- Licenses are issued Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm, but applicants are asked to please come no later than 4pm to allow for processing.
- Accepts cash only.
If you’re planning an on-the-beach ceremony, be sure to check out the different regulations while you’re on the various county websites. Make sure you know what you need to know regarding tents and arbors and chairs.
The national seashores, public beaches, and lighthouses each have different regulations regarding their outdoor ceremonies. Scroll through their websites to also see what they have to say about tents, etc.
One final note about what is required: It is the responsibility of your officiant to sign your marriage license and return it to the issuing county office within 10 days following the marriage ceremony. Keep in mind you won’t automatically receive a copy of your marriage license. You must request an official copy 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.
That’s it! Now get back to the fun part of wedding planning!
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. You are advised to contact the town in which your ceremony will be held regarding any additional permits or restrictions:
Town of Duck • townofduck.com • 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 Shores • southernshores-nc.gov • 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 Hawk • kittyhawknc.gov • 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 Hills • kdhnc.com • 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 Head • nagsheadnc.gov • 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 • townofmanteo.com • 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) • co.currituck.nc.us • 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 Island • nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit • 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. ♥