(Closed) Getting married BEFORE the Ceremony & Reception?

posted 10 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
38 posts
  • Wedding: July 2007

Is there someone at his church/school/whatever that could officially be your officiant and just be present at the ceremony when your friend does the vows?  He might ask around because they might let him do it as a friend and just send someone official to watch?

Post # 5
267 posts
Helper bee

First of all, you do not have to be deputized on a Thursday morning in California. As far as I know, you just send in the paperwork with your check, and you’re good to go.

If you don’t want to get him deputized, though, I would suggest that you hire a judge or some other official and have them present at the ceremony. Let your friend do all the fun, flowery stuff, maybe recite your own vows in front of him, let him do the speech about how great marriage is, etc., and do the ring exchange. Then have the official step in and do some perfunctory "I do’s" (that is, if they’re even necessary in a civil ceremony, they probably aren’t so long as you sign the license). That way you get to be married in front of your family and friends, and still have it be official. (though there’s nothing illegal with having your friend perform a non-binding ceremony after you get married at the courthouse)

In short, have the official do the bare minimum and let your friend do the fun parts. You don’t even have to have the official do it publicly, you could slip off and have him do a quickie ceremony right after you walk back down the aisle.

Post # 7
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

We did the exact thing you’re thinking of doing.

My husband and I wanted my uncle to perform our ceremony, but I did not want to ask him to become a minister (the only way he’d be able to legally do it in our state).

So, we had a legal wedding at a courthouse the day before our "real" ceremony. We had just a few people there (parents, wedding party) and it was a really nice, intimate experience. Then we all headed out to rehearse for the wedding day and have our rehearsal dinner. So it was really like we had two weddings, each with a reception!

I am so glad we did it this way, because we got to have my uncle marry us, AND because by the time we actually had our big ceremony, we’d already done it twice, so there were no nerves whatsoever. We just had a lot of fun.

Post # 9
228 posts
Helper bee

We did basically the same thing as saltyveruca, because 1) we wanted a friend to marry us, and 2) we thought it was silly to hire someone to read something to us that we wrote 🙂  We just went on our own to the courthouse though.  This was much easier than worrying about VA’s laws about online ministers or deputization.

It doesn’t matter if someone else presides over your wedding ceremony since legally it doesn’t count anyway.  You could have a goldfish do it =P

 And we celebrate our wedding day as our wedding date, the other was just paperwork.

 Oh, and everyone still needs to get a marriage license beforehand, no matter who’s officiating.  The marriage certificate is what you get when you’re married.

Post # 10
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

I know people get really emotionally charged over this issue and sometimes feel cheated for not being a part of the "real" wedding, but for me, I separate the difference between the *legal* aspects required for getting married and the *emotional/spiritual* aspects of getting married. Being married is what you make of it. I don’t think that going to the court house and doing what is required to be considered legally married in the eyes of the state lessens the commitments you make in front of your friends and family to become emotionally and spiritually married. And if having someone special perform your public decleration of commitment to each other is that important to your Fiance, then I’d have no problems with you doing what was necessary to make that happen. Good luck!

Post # 12
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008


Do you mean marriage certificate before the ceremony and reception in front of friends and family?

Mr. JCM and I did this 2 years earlier to the exact date. We did it at City Hall and then 2 years later (this September) we are having a ceremony and reception, just like we would have done so if we didn’t do the civil ceremony.

We hired an officiant and told him it’ll be the same just without the paperwork. I’m also in California. 

You can consider doing a civil ceremony a day or two before, then having this person officiate your ceremony on the day-of. You won’t have to worry about deputizing or becoming ordained.

Post # 13
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Well, we just got married so we haven’t celebrated it yet, but I fully intend to count the big one. Knowing us, though, we’ll just celebrate both days because we can. Yet another perk of a two-day wedding.

And peihan, I totally agree with you about the weirdness of hiring someone to read the words you wrote yourself! 

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