“Pushed back to October,” pandemic causing wedding backlog in the Carolinas

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(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – So, you’re in love. And now, after surviving lockdown and a global pandemic, you and your betrothed are running to the courthouse to get hitched. 

Well, not so fast. 

James Richardson and Shardasia Mickens say it’s easy to get the marriage certificate but not easy to get married. They’ve been together for two years after meeting at the post office where they both worked.  

She had a crush on him. He – had no clue. But since the day she told him they’ve been “inseparable.” 

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After getting engaged, Shardasia got pregnant. And while they planned on getting married after their baby was born, the resurgence of COVID made them rethink their timeline. 

She said to James, “Let’s just go for it, we’re about to have a child and we love each other.” James said it was “Very important to me to be married before I have my son, it means a lot to me.” 

In the beginning of August, before getting a marriage license, Shardasia checked how soon a judge could marry them. “I had already emailed prior to getting certificate and they were pushed back to October 5.” 

That was approximately two months away. And marriage licenses are only good for 60 days. 


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She felt “under pressure,” because she was due in September and was unsure how the delivery process would be. Fortunately for James and Shardasia, a court clerk gave them a local pastor’s name, who also happens to be FOX 46 Meteorologist, Jim Lytle.

Jim says his side hustle “has been wild beyond belief.” He would normally get 25 weddings from courthouse spillover a year, but now he sometimes gets ten in one week. 

Jim added, “this year it’s been very few planned out weddings, everything has been backlog, people calling can you help us out, courthouse backed up until October.” 

Although when FOX 46 stopped by the marriage license bureau in mid-August, we were told September wedding dates were available. However, the marriage ceremony scheduler has yet to return my email requests for information or comment on the backlog.

Four additional couples FOX 46 spoke to were also told they would have to wait several weeks to have a courthouse wedding. Like James and Shardasia, one couple specifically got their license in August and was told they could not get married until October. 

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