It is very simple to be Legally married in South Dakota:
  • Visit any South Dakota Courthouse within 20 days of your wedding
  • The bride and groom must present United States issued identification, such as a driver's license or passport.
  • You will have to pay $40 in cash only.
  • There are no required blood tests or waiting period.
  • If you are divorced or widowed/widower, there are no required documentations.  You need NO birth certificate or social security cards
  • Visit the Clerk of Deeds at the Meade County Courthouse at 1300 Sherman Street, or call 605 347-2356.  Remember, you must have a marriage license before we can perform your service.  The courthouses are open Monday - Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Mountain Time.  They are NOT open on weekends.  Please keep this in mind while planning your wedding.
  • When completing your paperwork, please consider how you are going to obtain your certified copy:  you can either pay $15 at the courthouse for THEM to mail you a certified copy, or you can bring your marriage license back to them after the service and they will hand you the certified copy.  If you chose to have them mail your copy, I will return your license within 24 hours.  If you return the license yourself, keep in mind you have 20 days after getting the license to return it to them.  Either way works - I will help you and answer any question, just call me.
This page was last updated: July 30, 2018
Website designed and hosted by Joan Pillen © 2008
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  • Meet with your wedding Officiant to 'plan' the wedding on site
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  • Have a very special and touching custom ceremony with vows and readings - religious, spiritual, civil, or your own words
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Commemerate in Style in a gorgeous ceremony room right in Downtown Sturgis.
I'm a sucker for weddings. I mean, I love weddings and I always cry. I cried when Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki on TV in 1969, and I've blubbered at every ceremony since.

So when I found out that dozens of couples get married at the rally each year, I couldn't wait to crash, ahem, attend one. I quickly learned from one of Sturgis' non-denominational ministers, Joan Pillen, that those 50+ are more likely to tie the knot than kids during the rally. The town has no waiting period; same-day marriages are legal.

Of this year's 42 marriage licenses (down from 79 last year), the gals at the Meade County Register of Deeds found us two age 50+ couples. I hung around Joan's Hitchin' Post long enough to serve as a witness for a third. And yes, I cried through all three. 

Royce Pyles, 61, and Robin Murphy, 60, from Beaver, Utah, tied the knot on Thursday, Aug. 7, a date that looked to be lucky for them since this was his fifth and her second wedding. They summed up their attitude about marrying this way: "It's not nececssary, but why not?" On this, their fourth trip to Sturgis, they spontaneously decided to go for it.

"Love's just like it was when we were young," Robin said. "I've had a good life almost all the time." The secret, she said (her first marriage lasted 35 years), is to "talk a lot, let them know what's going on."

"A lot of couples don't listen," said Joan, who's officiated for about 150 couples at the Rally over the last three years. "It's just, 'yeah, yeah, let's get this over with,'" she observed. "The second time around, couples take it more seriously."

While the date 08/08/08 is pretty memorable, Rick Bell, 54, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, announced that he'd always remember his anniversary because it's bike week. His bride Peggy, 57, meanwhile, got herself a wedding bouquet--a tattoo of flowers on her back. "They don't die and you don't have to water them," she said.

This is a couple who came down in a car ("cage" in biker lingo), because he's currently on disability from his job as a transit operator and can't ride a bike. But Sturgis it had to be.

Is love as good in your 50s? "Love is better at our age," said Peggy emphatically.

Between ceremonies, Joan related her most memorable ceremony. A man came into the optical store that the Hitchin' Post is the rest of the year. His bike had slid out from under him, he ended up with road rash to the bone and worse (you don't want to know), and he needed to replace his glasses. He happened to mention that the accident had put the kibosh on his and his girlfriend's plans to wed. "You've walked into the right place," Joan told him, and married them, bandaged bride, cake, and all (and small-town South Dakota at its best, didn't dream of charging him).

Some people find marrying nerve-wracking, while some find getting on a motorcycle a lot scarier. That latter would be me. But I had to do it at least once this week. So when my cousin Dave, a stand-up guy who teaches motorcycle design at an automotive college, hauled into town, I climbed on.

Now I'm a person who spent most of my twenties hitchhiking around the country, more often than not by myself. I've climbed the cable of the Brooklyn Bridge, and I like to drive (cars!) very, very fast. I moved to New York City by myself with a hundred bucks in my pocket.

So I'm not exactly a scaredy-cat. (Or was I just a little crazier then?)

I sat on Dave's Harley-Davidson Fatboy pondering why some of us love biking, and a lot more of us stare at the pavement so near to our tender, delicate skin and bones and imagine skidding and scraping and...suddenly I realize I can see the speedometer, and we're going 80 miles an hour. 

And then we're there, and it wasn't so bad. I even had a second or two when I didn't think about crashing and crunching and...

My cousin's girlfriend, Jackie, said she'd been nervous, too, until she learned more about bikes. For instance, they don't simply fall over, and it's less scary when you're the one in control.

So maybe it's driving skills, understanding the physics, or those fraternal twins--fear and excitement--that draw some of us to biking. Or is risk-taking at our age--in part a willingness to be vulnerable--something like marriage in midlife?

Will I ride again? I'm on my first marriage and expect it to be my last. I suspect I'll say the same thing about biking. But I'm in Sturgis for two more days...
READ ABOUT OUR STORY! in the Rapid City Journal.  Click here!
 Iron Chariots Coach Company 
a unique and romantic way to celebrate your wedding with a cinderella carriage.
(605) 568-0176

Ceremonies from just
call Joan at 605 561-1111
2120 Lazelle Street
in with J&J Optical
(across from Shopko)
downtown Sturgis
CALL or email now to discuss 
your Wedding or Renewal

Call Joan at 605 561-1111
or just walk into J&J Optical
2120 Lazelle Street  ~ Sturgis (take exit 30)

Choose from one of our specials, 
or create your own:
The LOVELY 'Sturgis Quicky' here in our office: $100
The AMAZING 'Au Naturale' at Woodle Park: $200
The GORGEOUS 'Happy Camper' at your campground: $300
The DAZZLING 'Sacred Waterfall' at Roughlock Falls: $400

Congrats! to our
2012 Sturgis Rally Couples!!!
Call or just walk in if you would like to be married.
2012 Brides and Grooms
A happy moment from one of our many "Sturgis Quicky" weddings
Another GREAT 
Sturgis Quicky wedding.  
A memorable kiss at one of our "Sacred Waterfall" weddings.
A gorgeous evening for this 
"Happy Camper" wedding couple!