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South Dakota Wedding Laws

South Dakota can be the setting for a monumental wedding — literally. While you cannot get married on top of Mount Rushmore, you can have the wedding on the grounds of the national monument. With the proper permissions, you can also get married on top of the Crazy Horse Memorial, another stone monument that is still under construction. South Dakota also offers other unique wedding venues, such as in the middle of a lake or deep underground in a cave. Whether you are planning a ceremony that is traditional or a little out of the ordinary, you still need to comply with the state's requirements for a legally binding ceremony.

Getting Married in South Dakota

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
2
Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

While South Dakota weddings can be unique, there are certain requirements that must be met for the marriage to be legally binding. Apart from the minister, the ceremony must take place in front of two witnesses. The minister must confirm the names and addresses of the couple and witnesses alike, and all parties must be physically present at the ceremony for the marriage to be valid.

Otherwise, the marriage requirements are very basic. The minister must make a pronouncement that the couple are married after they each express consent to the marriage by saying "I do," or an equivalent.

South Dakota Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

South Dakota is a hospitable state, happy to welcome visitors from other placed inside and outside of the US. There are no residency requirements and no restrictions on marriages for LGBT+ couples.

There are age restrictions that you must meet for your South Dakota wedding to be valid. Both you and your spouse-to-be must be at least 18 years old to consent to the marriage. Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 must receive the consent of a parent or legal guardian in the form of a notarized statement. This is then submitted to the register of deeds, and an exception may be made allowing the minors to marry.

There are also restrictions on unions between siblings or cousins of the half and whole blood, parents and children, and ancestors and descendants. The law does not make a distinction between adoptive relationships for the purpose of defining these familial relationships.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in South Dakota

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Register
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

The minister's belief system, gender, or residence does not have any bearing on his or her eligibility to perform a wedding ceremony as long as he or she meets the other legal requirements. The most basic requirement is that an officiant wishing to preside over a wedding in South Dakota must be at least 18 years old. Mayors, judges, magistrates, and justices all have the authority to solemnize marriages in South Dakota, as to people to whom a church has granted the authority.

While you are eligible to perform a wedding in South Dakota as a minister ordained online by the Universal Life Church, the office of the county clerk may ask to see your documentation. If you purchase the Classic Wedding Package from ULC, it includes legal proof of ordination that you can produce upon request.

Applying For a Marriage License in South Dakota

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
24 Hours
License Valid For:
20 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

Once you receive your South Dakota marriage license, you have to wait at least 24 hours before the wedding can take place. After the initial waiting period, the license remains valid for 20 days from the date of issuance. Once the ceremony has taken place, the minister must return the original license and completed certificate to the register of deeds that issued it within 10 days.

How to Get a South Dakota Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in South Dakota
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$40.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID or Birth Certificate
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

South Dakota marriage licenses are furnished by the state Department of Health. However, you have to apply for your license at the Register of Deeds of the county of your choice. You will be required to bring proof of your identities and ages in the form of either birth certificates or photo identifications and apply for the license in person.

The fee for obtaining a South Dakota marriage license is $40, of which $30 will go to support the domestic abuse program for the county and $10 will go into the general county fund. Obtaining a South Dakota marriage license with a power of attorney is against the law.

Finalizing the Union

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

The minister has 10 days after the ceremony in which to complete the marriage certificate and return it with the original license to the county register of deeds. If asked for the address of the ministry, the officiant can enter his or her home address and identify "Universal Life Church Ministries" as the name of the church he or she is ordained by.