Getting Married at Sturgis

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Last year you proposed at Sturgis and this year you intend to marry there, so pack your best chaps and make sure the hog's chrome is crystal clear. While many folks might imagine an event like this to be out of place at Sturgis, weddings are actually quite common at the rally.

More than 100 take place in any given year, and many are quite normal (in a Sturgis sort of way), minus a hundred or so roaring Harley's and the possibility of a bride clad in skimpy white leather. Other weddings are as wild as you might expect for a biker wedding: lots of chrome, leather, tattoos, body piercing, and rock-n-roll.

Regardless of the level of mayhem involved during the special day, there is no denying the picturesque Black Hills backdrop provides an idyllic setting for exchanging vows.

Basics Before the Ceremony

First off, getting hitched in South Dakota will set you back $40 for the license. You will need to take care of this matter at a Register of Deeds office (i.e. courthouse). Blood tests are not required, but you need to provide some type of official identification, whether a driver's license or birth certificate. Offices near the rally include:

  • Sturgis: 1425 Sherman St. (605) 347-2356
  • Deadwood: 78 Sherman St. (605) 578-3930
  • Custer: 420 Mount Rushmore Road (605) 673-8171
  • Rapid City: 315 St. Joseph St., (605) 394-2177
  • Hot Springs: 906 N. River (605) 745-5139

Once you purchase the license, you have 20 days to do the deed before it's void. Considering the rally only lasts a week, meeting this requirement should not be difficult, unless there are second thoughts after a long night at the Fireside.

Before you head to the courthouse, convince a couple of witnesses to come along, too. You need them. If not, there are wedding service companies in the area that will provide witnesses.

Taking the Plunge

While rumor has it that only brave souls take the plunge at Sturgis, the rise of couples getting hitched at the rally (as well as other times during the year) has employed many wedding planners available to make sure the event goes off as smoothly as possible.

The Black Hills provide numerous scenic locations to make for a memorable ceremony. Then again, you may want to skip scenery and have a true Sturgis wedding (think in a saloon, not a church). Campgrounds even get in on the act, some offering portable platforms to get married right next to your camp site.

Traditionalists will find all the usual wedding services from cake makers and preachers to florists and DJs. Plus, the world famous Chapel in the Hills is available for weddings if you can manage to book it far enough in advance.

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