How to Get Married 101

Around the world and across time, the wedding rite has taken on well-deserved rep for being stressful, beleaguering and even brutal. It seems like there has been no shortage of those who will plan, build and jump all sorts of hurdles, just to sate their desire to be together. Fortunately, in our little neck of the woods, getting hitched is as easy as dropping into the Buncombe County Courthouse (though navigating the construction around Pack Square is no picnic).

The first stop is the Register of Deeds, first floor, room 110. If you are over 21, bring along both (currently single) people, their drivers’ licenses, their social security cards (or a legal document with the social security number) and $50. (Under 21? You’re going to need a birth certificate as well. Under 18? Bring along your parents—they have to sign for you. Under 15? Things just got a bit more complicated. You’re going to have to plead your case in court.)

In room 110, you will fill out forms and enter your information into a computer. The grand result? You’ll be issued a marriage license. If you have been married before, now’s the time to fess up. You need to supply the date of a divorce or a spouse’s death. Easily made shy or woozy? Don’t worry, no physical or blood test is needed; the only thing administered will be an oath.

Those licenses are valid for 60 days, so now it’s time to get cracking on a ceremony. A minister can do that, but fortunately for you, so can a magistrate, and there’s one of those just above your head on the 10th floor.

Take your licenses, two adult witnesses and $20 up to the small-claims-court magistrate, and they can maybe squeeze you in between court cases. They also set aside time to do the deed, if needed.

Once that grand romantic episode is done, you have 60 days to make it back down to the first floor, where for another $10, you and yours will be issued an official wedding certificate. Get extra copies so you can show them to the Social Security Office and DMV in order to make any relevant name changes.

And congratulations.


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