google-site-verification=RRp1SZYDLKh7benIRsN8jDaugwqt79YEh4dmE8qcEfE Get married at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! (or anyother time of the year)
sturgis hitchin post
sturgis weddings
sturgis rally weddings
rally weddings
motorcycle weddings
sturgis wedding renewals

Check out what the Sioux Falls Examiner had to say about us back in 2009!
 For just $100 
get Married or Renew your Vows in Style !

  • Your wedding will be performed under in our ceremony arch under twinkly lights.
  • We have bathrooms and dressing room.
  • We will create for you a Custom Biker Wedding Certificate
  • We can perform your wedding with any readings or words you like.  I'm always here to plan your ceremony.
  • We help you celebrate with flowers, candles, beautiful music
  • Have a very special and touching custom ceremony with vows and readings - religious, spiritual, civil, or your own words

Or - we can perform your wedding at the beautiful Sturgis City Park, your campground or at Roughlock Falls.  Is there some other location you prefer?  Just call me to discuss the countless options in the gorgeous Black Hills area.​

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...

Just ​Three Simple Steps and You're Married!
1. Visit the Register of Deeds in ANY South Dakota Courthouse to obtain your marriage license.  Remember -  they are only open Mon thu Fri from 8 AM to 5 PM.  Plan ahead for weekend weddings.  We can not marry you without a license!

2.  Present your Driver's Licenses or other government issued IDs, such as a Passport, and pay $40.  You do NOT need your social security card, birth certificate, or any documents from a prior marriage (such as divorce or death certificates).  There are NO waiting periods or blood tests.

3.  Bring your marriage license to us and we will perform your wedding.  Then, just return the license to ANY SD Courthouse to get your certified copy for $15, or fill out the short form to have it mailed to you.  We file all licenses daily.

The official 'rules' from the Court House states:
  • Both Bride & Groom must be present.
  • A valid photo ID, such as a driver's license, state ID or passport is required.
  • The fee is $40.00, and we do require cash - no checks.
  • There is no blood test or waiting period required.
  • The license may be used the same day, but must be used within 20 days from issue.
  • The license may be used anywhere within the State of South Dakota.

Here's a few Black Hills Register of Deeds:
Sturgis (Meade County):  
1300 Sherman Street, Suite 138 ~ Sturgis, SD 57785
605.347.2356 ~ Fax: 605.720.6619 ~

Rapid City (Pennington County)
315 Saint Joseph Street ~ Suite 104 ~ Rapid City, SD 57701
605.394.2177 ~ 

Deadwood and Spearfish (Lawrence County)
90 Sherman Street ~ Deadwood, SD 57732
605.578.3930 ~ Fax: 605.722.6212 ~

Custer (Custer County)
420 Mt Rushmore Rd ~ Custer, SD 57730
605.673.8171 Fax: 605.673.8148
It is very simple to be legally married in South Dakota
You already have EVERYTHING you need ~ a lucky bride or groom, your DLs and 40 bucks.  That's it!
Rally weddings are short and sweet
August 4, 2013 ~ Rapid City Journal

STURGIS | Tamra Truax searched months for the perfect wedding attire and finally found it — a white spandex halter vest — just a day before her nuptials in Sturgis.  "It's slutty, but refined," her bridegroom, Glenn Kirkland, said of the white ensemble, which also included cotton shorts embellished with lace and white garters on the thigh.

Why get married in Sturgis during the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally?  "Why not?" replied the 50-somethings from Tennessee, who tied the knot Friday afternoon at the Sturgis Hitchin' Post, then paraded down Main Street on their 2004 Harley-Davidson Road King.

Interestingly, Truax and Kirkland, who have dated for four years, have never been to the rally. They had heard stories last year, during a visit to Truax's sister in Iowa, from rallygoers returning from Sturgis.  "We like to do unusual things and after going to some rallies, we thought it would be fun to come here and get married," said Kirkland, who wore a black Harley-Davidson vest and a white tie.

Truax concurred.  "We both love to bike, so this seemed the natural place," she said.  Kirkland proposed during a cycle trip the two took to Florida in May.  "We had dinner and drinks, then took a walk on the beach. That's when he proposed," Truax said.

This is the second marriage for both who each have two daughters. Truax and Kirkland found each other on the Internet, then met in person about a week later. They've been together since.  "I love everything about her," Kirkland said. "She's easy to get along with. She's not high-maintenance. She's flexible and very helpful."

Joan Pillen, the proprietor of The Hitchin' Post, became a non-demoninational minister through the Internet in 2003. She operates the wedding chapel in the storefront of J and J Optical, which she owns with her husband, Jubal.  So, on Friday, Pillen was having the bride and groom recite their vows over the constant hum of Jubal grinding a new lens in the back room.

"Our eye-exam room doubles as a bride's changing area, too," Pillen said.  She has 47 weddings scheduled in the coming week, not to mention the slew of walk-ins she usually receives.

South Dakota's marriage laws are pretty simple: Within 20 days of a wedding, a bride and groom have to present identification and pay $40 cash to receive a marriage license at any South Dakota courthouse, Pillen said.  There are no required blood tests, waiting periods or documentation for those who are widowed or divorced. The Meade County Register of Deeds is at 1425 Sherman St.

For Pillen, it only makes sense that cycle enthusiasts would want to get married in Sturgis.  "To them, biking is a religion. It's the thing they have done religiously for years and years," she said.  Most brides and grooms present themselves for marriage in good ol' rally T-shirts. But Pillen also has officiated at a Viking-themed wedding and one where everyone wore kilts and the groom arranged for a bag-piper.  "The people who didn't have kilts made them out of bath towels," she said.

And then there was the couple who only wore body paint from head to toe.  "We've now invoked 'The Tarzan Rule': You have to have on a loin cloth," she said.

Though she has seen many interesting people get married in the past seven years, one of the most memorable moments was the wedding she presided over for a couple that was involved in a motorcycle accident and still wearing hospital scrubs and gauze wrapped around their wounds. Pillen said she thought they had just gotten several tattoos.  "We threw them a wedding that was on the house," she said. "Sixty people came for the wedding, and the groom was just there to get his glasses fixed."

As the rally begins to draw in bikers from throughout the country, Pillen knows it's a great opportunity for couples of all ages to get married or to renew their marriage vows.  "It's wacky, but it's fun. I can't imagine life without it," she said.
Joan Pillen helped about 50 couples tie the knot at the Sturgis motorcycle rally in 2009, which isn't unusual. Many bikers get hitched or renew their vows during the annual event.  The unusual part was they could order a pair of prescription glasses at the wedding chapel.

Pillen is a nondenominational minister who co-owns J and J Optical in Sturgis with her husband, Jubal, who has been operating a small wedding room inside the optical store known as The Hitchin' Post for the past five years, providing Sturgis riders a place to say "I do" during the weeklong bike rally.

"It just seemed like a fun thing to do, so we tried it," Joan Pillen said. "During the rally, we make prescription sunglasses over night for bikers, and on the other side, we have brides and grooms coming and going."

Pillen was ordained in 2003 and began officiating weddings for her friends. She soon started Hitched in the Hills as a year-round business officiating weddings throughout the Black Hills.

In 2005, she began to preside over wedding ceremonies during the motorcycle rally, which she said is easy to do with South Dakota's less restrictive marriage laws.

Within 20 days of a wedding, a bride and groom have to present identification and pay $40 cash to receive a marriage license at any South Dakota courthouse, she said. There are no required blood tests, waiting periods or documentation for those that are widowed or divorced. The Sturgis Register of Deeds is at 1425 Sherman St.

Pillen's does have one additional rule: she won't marry anybody who has just met.  "We have a little conversation before I go ahead with anything," Pillen said.

The fee to have Pillen preside over a wedding is $100, which includes a custom ceremony, flowers and a bridal veil.  "They get to leave with a ceremony I created, and I do a lot of special things," Pillen said.

So far, the Hitchin' Post has 20 reservations for this year. Pillen said the most she has ever had was about 60 in 2007.  New for the 70th anniversary of the rally is the Sturgis Quicky ceremony, which Pillen said will take five minutes outside in front of the stain glass window on the side of the building.

Though she has seen many interesting people get married in the past five years, one of the most memorable moments was the wedding she presided over for a couple that was involved in a motorcycle accident and still wearing hospital scrubs and gauze wrapped around their wounds. Pillen said she thought they just got several tattoos.

"We threw them a wedding that was on the house," she said. "Sixty people came for the wedding, and the groom was just there to get his glasses fixed."

As the rally begins to draw in bikers from throughout the country, Pillen knows it's a great time and opportunity for couples of all ages to get married or renew their marriage vows.

"There are so many relationships formed during the bike rally, it's kind of like a coming together," Pillen said. "People become nostalgic and do their renewal of vows because it's a place they want to make promises."
Goin' to the chapel? You don't have to go far
August 6, 2010 ~ The Rapid City Journal
Done it all in Sturgis? Get married.
August 3, 2009 ~ The Sioux Falls Examiner

If you get bored with drinking, carousing, celebrities, custom bikes, and barely dressed women, here's another popular Sturgis tradition: weddings. Yes, you and your beloved can tie the knot with braided leather while you swap your wedding bed for a road bed.

The business community in Sturgis stands ready to help you with weddings of all varieties: elaborate, impulsive, or shotgun.  The legalities are easy. Here's all that's required to launch lifetime of matrimonial bliss in the Black Hills:
  • A $40 license, available at the courthouse in Sturgis. No blood test, breathalyzer test, or waiting period require
  • Both bride and groom must present, and presumably conscious, for the ceremony.
  • Each individual must have some kind of identification.
  • Participants must be 18 or older, or taller than Yosemite Sam's mustache.

There are several Sturgis businesses that will help you plan -- or throw together -- the wedding of a lifetime.

Sturgis Hitching Post offers weddings right on Main Street, complete with air conditioned dressing rooms, biker or traditional wedding certificate, ceremony with flowers and stained glass, plus your choice of vows, for just $100 (easy payment plans available). Some openings are still available at the 2009 rally.

You must provide your own leather wedding dress or fringed tux.

Black Hills Wedding Chapel ups the ante (and the cost) with antiqued wedding photos, a dozen butterflies, and venue choices including a casino, church, restaurant, or campground.

So grab your fiancee, or that pole dancer you just met at the Full Throttle Saloon, and get started on a lifetime of happiness.

Or, engage in another popular Sturgis tradition, and skip to the honeymoon part.
Goin' to the Hitchin' Post 
August 7, 2013 ~ Black Hills Fox News
see video here:

While some like to commemorate their trip to Sturgis with a souvenir or a tattoo, others want to remember the big event by tying the knot. The Sturgis Hitchin Post, located on the corner of Junction and Main Street, marries about 60 couples a week during Rally Week. The wedding officiant says getting hitched in Sturgis allows bikers to say "I do" then get back on the crazy streets for rally.

Wedding Officiant Joan Pillen says, "The Black Hills is a fun place for people to ride motorcycles and Sturgis has become kind of the gathering of the clan, so like hearted people come together and there's a lot of excitement and hoops and hollers and it's a great place to start your new adventure."

Pillen says they also do vow renewals, and they have a couple that comes back every year to do just that.
The ancient wisdom of Tarot Cards and Rune Stones, supplemented with essential oils and fresh juices, help a ranching family survive loss and grief. Colorful characters in breathtaking scenery experience laughter and tears in this tale of adventure and victory. Will Floridian Victor Garcia find love and vitality when he stumbles upon the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in a South Dakota January? Will the wisdom and fortitude of octogenarian Tokada Good Elk be strong enough to see his best friend’s family recover? Will an award winning dream, which was left to die on the highway in a terrible tragedy, be brought back to life? Read The Adventure Seekers and experience thrills, spill, chills and, ultimately, success.
Excited about visiting the Black Hills?
Read Prairie Magic, 
thrilling story set in western South Dakota  
We can tint any color you like and offer polarized or light changing lenses. We are happy to help you decide whether you want bifocals (or not) in riding glasses. Our service is fast, and our prices are very reasonable.

Whether your lenses need an Rx, or were blessed with perfect vision, we can help keep the wind and dust out of your eyes so you can enjoy the ride! Even if other optical shops have told you your Rx won't 'work' in a wrap frame, give us a try. Please give us a chance if you think biker eyewear has to be expensive. Rx in Wiley X starts at around $200, and you can even get 2 for $100 in some wrap frames. No kidding! 

Call us at (605) 561-2020 or come in to discuss your options! We have same-day service, and can mail your glasses home.

Remember ~ We have a lab, and we're not afraid to use it!
We offer a zillion options, including: 
and even great wrap sunwear in our 2 for $100 selections.
Website designed and hosted by Joan Pillen © 2014
As featured on National TV, 
such as the Travel Channel and Smithsonian Channel.
Are ready to tie the knot? 
Or do just want to make a firm commitment? 
Are you celebrating years of marriage?
Would you like to honor your relationship by renewing your vows?

Call Joan - (605) 561-1111 
or email
Weddings & Commitment Ceremonies
Anniversary Celebrations & Vow Renewals 

Choose from one of our specials (or create your own):
The LOVELY 'Sturgis Quicky' (indoor or outdoors): $100
The AMAZING 'Au Naturale' at Woodle Park: $200
The GORGEOUS 'Happy Camper' at your campground: $300
The MAGICAL 'Sacred Waterfall' at Roughlock Falls: $400
Ceremonies performed year round!!
Call Joan at 605 561-1111 or email
or just walk into J&J Optical
2120 Lazelle Street ~ Sturgis (take exit 30)
REMEMBER - we're in the J&J Optical bldg.
Get Hitched.  Right here. Right now!
at the 2021 Rally!