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The Legalities: A Step-By-Step Guide to Obtaining Your Marriage License

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Whoo-hoo! Your wedding day is coming up and everything is falling into place. Florals, catering, entertainment, the dress, the rings…but aren’t you forgetting one tiny detail?

That’s right, your marriage license!

If you’re from out of state, it’s important to consider that you’ll have to get your license from the state you’ll be getting married in- even if that’s not the state you currently reside in.

Fortunately for you, South Dakota has recently changed its laws, making it even more convenient for brides who are traveling in!

outdoor ceremony with our barn door arbor
Photo by Kelsey Spratt Photo


Plan to make a trip to a Register of Deeds Office in South Dakota (unlike some states, it doesn’t have to be the exact county your ceremony is taking place in.) If you’re getting married at the Barn, that means the closest Register is located at 839 5th Ave. in Belle Fourche, SD. They’re open Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm, and you can also call the office at (605)892-2912 with any questions!

Other nearby options include the Register’s offices in: Sturgis- 1300 Sherman St. Ste. 138; Rapid City- 315 St. Joseph St.; Deadwood- 90 Sherman St.; Custer- 420 Mount Rushmore Rd.; or Hot Springs- 906 N. River.

As of July 1, 2020, South Dakota marriage licenses are now valid for up to 90 days (previously only 20), so brides from out of town are able to obtain theirs earlier. With wedding planning up in the air due to the pandemic, this is extension is so timely!

cake and macaroons
Photo by Kelsey Spratt Photo

When you visit the Register, make sure you bring a valid photo ID (like your driver’s license, passport, or a certified copy of your birth certificate), as well as $40 to pay for the license. At the Belle Fourche office, this can be in the form of cash, check or card; but if you’re applying elsewhere, they may only accept cash or check. You’ll also need to fill out a Marriage License Application Worksheet either beforehand or at the office. For this, you’ll have to know your parents’ birth names, birth dates, and birth states; so be sure to ask if you have to!

Whether you’re hosting a large ceremony or an intimate elopement, you’ll need your officiant and at least two different witnesses to sign your marriage before you (or your officiant) turn it back in- no more than 10 days after your ceremony. After that, it’s official- congratulations! In the next few weeks, you should be mailed a certified copy of your marriage license (you might have to pay a small fee for this; around $5-15), or you can visit the Register’s office in person to request one. These are given out in a limited basis, and will be important if you need to change your name or marital status for insurance, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. File it in a safe place!


Getting married can be a blur of love and celebration- so don’t forget to take care of these few legal details! After the ceremony, we recommend using a service like HitchSwitch to make your name-change process quick and fluid (if you choose to do so).

Hopefully these tips offer you some guidance as you finish up your prep for the big day. One less thing to worry about, right?

Can’t wait to celebrate with you, Barn Brides!


The Barn at Aspen Acres

table setting
Photo by Kelsey Spratt Photo


Featured Vendors:

Photographer - Kelsey Spratt Photo | IG: @kelseysprattphoto | FB: @kelseysprattphoto | Website:

Venue - The Barn at Aspen Acres | IG: @blackhillsbarn | FB: @blackhillsbarn | Pinterest: @blackhillsbarn | Website:

Florist - Blevior Design | IG: @bleviordeisgn | FB: @Blevior | Website:

Cake - SME’s Treats | IG: @smestreats | FB: @smestreats | Website:

Brides Dress: ASOS | Website:

Bridesmaids Dresses: Baltic Born | Website:

Suspenders: London Jae Apparel Website: |

Men’s outfits: JCPenny | Website:

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