Hey! I'm so glad you're here! Charleston, South Carolina is one of the most popular Wedding Destinations in the US. On average, couples spend between $35,000 to $45,000 based on Wedding.Report.

If you're planning to elope at a courthouse, notary, or have a friend officiate your wedding, get photos around the city, and finally go to dinner, then here's a step-by-step on how to do just that.

Here's how you elope in Charleston:

  1. Get a Marriage License by filling out a Live Online Virtual E-Application(LOVE for short!). See form here.
  2. Make sure you have your Photo ID(Driver's License, Military ID, or Passport) and Social Security Document(Tax Return, W-2, or paystub).
  3. $70 application fee, (you can use your debit or credit card).
  4. Both you and your partner must be present when submitting your form online.
  5. They will issue your Marriage License in 24-48 hours via email.
  6. Once you have your Marriage License, it's time to choose a location to get married in Charleston.
  7. Schedule an appointment with the ministers of the Gospel, accepted Jewish rabbis, or South Carolina notaries to perform a marriage ceremony in South Carolina. Your wedding can be Non-Religious or LGBTQ. If your friend is officiating, see info here.
  8. Complete your ceremony.
  9. Congratulations! you're married!


  • As of April 7, 2024, SC Law states, South Carolina Marriage License does not expire.
  • You'll need to be 18 years old to get married.
  • You can use your friend to officiate your wedding.
  • That 24 hour wait is very strict. You can't pick up your marriage license until AFTER 24 hours within their business hours.
  • Unlike North Carolina and many US states, you do not need two witnesses to get married in South Carolina! Super convenient.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can marry you in Charleston?

There are many options whom you can use to get married in Charleston.

  • Any licensed notary can get you married. You can use a lawyer, a guy from a UPS, a friend from Bank of America can marry you.
  • Jewish Rabbis
  • Any ministers of the Gospel

Is it legal to have same-sex marriage in South Carolina?

Absolutely! Same-Sex marriage has been legal since Nov. 20, 2014.

Do I need a witness to get married in South Carolina?

Nope! You do not need a witness to get married.

What's next?

Eloping in Charleston is a highly personal choice. Here are a few elopement planning ideas for your day. I'll be there to guide you throughout your experience while getting candid photos.


Day 1: Arrival and Exploration

Day 2: Wedding Preparations and Relaxation

  • Morning: Visit your chosen venue/church for a quick walkthrough and meet with me to plan out our shot list.
  • Afternoon: Relax with a couple's spa treatment, soaking in the tranquility and excitement of the upcoming day.
  • Evening: Enjoy a quiet, intimate meal at a local diner, discussing your hopes and dreams for the future.

Day 3: The Big Day

  • Morning: Begin with a light breakfast followed by hair and makeup for the bride and grooming for the groom.
  • Afternoon: Exchange vows in setting, be it a historic church or a sunlit beach.
  • Evening: Celebrate with a reception that honors Charleston's culture, perhaps featuring a live jazz band and local cuisine.

Best for couples who want the classic Charleston experience.

Estimated Cost: $5,000-$11,000


Day 1: Arrival and Adventure

Day 2: Nature and Nurture

  • Morning: Hike or bike the trails of James Island County Park, enjoying the natural beauty and wildlife.
  • Afternoon: Have a picnic lunch in one of Charleston’s scenic parks.
  • Evening: Take a sunset cruise around Charleston Harbor, toasting to your future together.

Day 3: The Wedding Celebration

  • Morning: Prepare for the day in a relaxed setting, enjoying the moment.
  • Afternoon: Hold your ceremony in an outdoor adventure spot, like a plantation garden or beneath the Angel Oak.
  • Evening: Host a lively reception with a barbecue feast and country music, dancing under the stars.

Best for the adventurous and intimate couples who are into the outdoors, budget friendly, not want a whole wedding commitment.

Estimated costs: $3000+


Day 1: Arrival and Timeless Connection

  • Morning: Check into a historic inn that prides itself on welcoming all couples. Begin your adventure with a delightful breakfast that showcases the warmth and hospitality of the South.
  • Afternoon: Explore Charleston's rich history with a visit to landmarks like Fort Sumter or the Charleston Museum, connecting with stories of resilience and unity.
  • Evening: Experience the local arts scene with a performance at the Dock Street Theatre, enjoying a night of culture and community.

Day 2: Culinary Delights and Hauntingly Romantic Evenings

  • Morning: Dive into the flavors of Charleston with a cooking class focused on Lowcountry cuisine, a great way to bond and learn something new together.
  • Afternoon: Meander through the City Market, picking out special keepsakes and supporting local LGBTQ+ artists and craftspeople.
  • Evening: Join a ghost tour through Charleston’s historic streets, a perfect blend of spooky and romantic that showcases the city's diverse tales and legends.

Day 3: A Celebration of Love in Every Hue

  • Morning: Enjoy a serene morning with breakfast in bed, basking in the anticipation of the day ahead.
  • Afternoon: Exchange vows in one of Charleston's stunning historic mansions or lush gardens. Opt for a venue known for its commitment to celebrating love in all its forms, ensuring your ceremony is a heartfelt reflection of your bond.
  • Evening: Host your reception in an elegant ballroom or under the canopy of ancient oaks. Incorporate elements that celebrate your unique love story and the LGBTQ+ community, such as a rainbow-themed cake or decorations, and entertainment that includes drag performers or LGBTQ+ artists. End the night with a dance floor open to all expressions of joy and love.

Estimated costs:

Low End: Approximately $13,800

High End: Could exceed $40,200+

Looking for an Elopement Photographer?

Hi guys! I'm Glenn Guiao, Elopement Planner & Photographer based in Wilmington, NC. I serve the coastal cities and beaches on the East coast including Charleston, South Carolina.

I offer planning and keen guidance on how to elope anywhere in the world. As a photographer whose traveled to 26 countries and 38 states, my whole life revolves in travel driven by my love of architecture, food, and culture.

If you'd like to learn more about me, feel free to fill out the form below.