Post # 1
Are there any of you out there that have gotten married (obtained your marriage license) prior to the actual ceremony & reception?
For instance, you went to be married in a court house then later had a ceremony and reception with your whole family.
The reason I ask is because my fiance really wants his dear friend to preside over our ceremony. His friend is currently studying to be a minister, and will not have his designation by the time he is married. Although we don’t want a religious ceremony, we want to have someone who means something to us up there.
We realize that he can be deputized for a day to legally perform the ceremony, however, since he is working towards being a minister, we feel that he should be able to first be declared by his church. Besides this, I’m not sure if it is acceptable for him to be deputized outside of the church.
I’m a bit torn because to me, I have the little notion that I want the day we are officially married to be the day we stand in front of all our family and friends. However, this is something that is very important to Fiance.
Can you just have any ol’ person standing and presiding over your ceremony, "declaring you husband and wife" so long as you’re already married? (I’m in California, in case this makes a difference)
Any suggestions or stories of your experiences? thoughts?
Post # 3
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 # 4
I should also mention that he would be flying in to California from Minnesota, so this puts an additional hardship if he were to be deputized because you need to do it before hand on a Thursday morning.
In regards to having someone who is allowed to marry people just watch, I don’t think that is allowed…I think that the person with the legal capacity has to actually perform the ceremony to declare you husband and wife.
but I appreciate the idea!!
Post # 5
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 # 6
At least in LA county, you do have to be sworn in (taking place on Thursdays only at 11am) even after you send in your form and payment. Once your paperwork and payment is received, the registrar-recorder/county clerk will contact the person to be deputized to schedule which thursday the would like to come be sworn in.
For anyone else needing this info, it can be found here:
That is definitely an idea to have a second official… though, it does seem a bit chaotic.
Has anyone else done this?
I think I’m okay with doing the whole courthouse marriage before hand….but it’s nice to get the different thoughts and alternative options. so thank you!!
Have any of you taken this route before? How far ahead did you tie the knot? How did you feel doing this?
Post # 7
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 # 8
Salty…thank you, that is a wonderful way of doing it!
question, which day do you celebrate as your anniversary? =)
Post # 9
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
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 # 11
peihan, thank you for your goldfish comment…..my Fiance coincidentally LOVES fish. =P
bonniebelle, thank you for shedding perspective on the emotional vs legal aspect. You have the exact same point of view as my Fiance, and since it had never crossed my frame of reference before, I wasn’t sure what to feel.
Hearing all of your positive experiences have really helped!
Post # 12
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
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!