How short can a ceremony be?

posted 2 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
601 posts
Busy bee

I’m not sure about your state, but in my province, there are a few things the officiant has to say and ask us. She told us what the bare minimum was, and then had a bunch of add ons that we could choose from. I’d bet your officiant, once you find them, could give you the same kind if details for your area.

Post # 4
5180 posts
Bee Keeper

If you aren’t interested in weddings have you considered eloping?  My elopement ceremony was maybe all of 5 minutes.  The officiant had a set script that we were to follow.

As for papers you will want to get your marriage license in advance of the ceremony.

I’m a little curious as to what your concern is with keeping the ceremony as brief as possible and why you are looking into this 2+ years out?

Post # 5
237 posts
Helper bee

Hello, Darling Husband and I eloped in new york state, and our ceremony took less than five minutes. The woman who officiated for us worked at the courthouse and she had already had a script to read from, so I didn’t have to prepare anything ahead of time. It was basically, “do you, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife” yes, “Do you, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband,” yes, I now pronounce you husband and wife, congrats, you can kiss. So in my experience it seems like it can be pretty darn brief as long as you both agree to be married!

Post # 7
906 posts
Busy bee

My ceremony was 5 minutes long, including all the wedding party walkign down the aisle. It can be as short as you want it to be as long as you include what is all necessary!

Post # 8
3616 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

notinterested :  if youre not getting married until 2020, I’m not sure why you’re stressing over the script for your ceremony right now. 

Post # 9
5180 posts
Bee Keeper

It seems there are some minimal statements that must be made in a ceremony but if you speak to a officiant directly I would imagine you can customize vows to a certain extent, such as if you do not want to seal the ceremony with a kiss.

The following is taken from this source:
What is the minimum requirement for a wedding ceremony?
We are asked this repeatedly, by couples who are eloping, or who just want to have a basic legal wedding ceremony, without any fuss. We’ve answered it in several places, but here is another rundown, just to be helpful.

To be legally married, you don’t need the rings, the music, the bridesmaids, you need just 5 things:

1. The Statement – of the proper names of the persons who have come to be married, so we know we have the right people. (”We are gathered here for the wedding of [name] and [name]”)

2. The Intention – ”Are you, [name] here of your own free will, and do you intend to marry [name]. This is the ”I do” that you answer individually, in front of witnesses, either 2, or 200 of them.

3. The vow: ”I [name] take you [name] to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife”. You are speaking to your intended spouse, not to the minister, and not to the witnesses, as in step. You have turned to face each other, and this is your promise to become each other’s legal partner.You may say this in your own words, and there are many variants.

4. The Signing: The officiant and the witness/es sign the license and date it (sometimes to the second, in a state where you have a waiting period). The Bride and Groom may sign as well, depending upon the license. They have already signed when they applied for the license.

5. The declaration: ”In front of these witnesses, this couple has declared their intention to join their lives in marriage..and we now accept them as husband and wife”.

Post # 10
689 posts
Busy bee

I was married in New York and there are certain things that the officiant has to read, or the marriage is not legally binding. It can be short and sweet, but I know there are certain things that must be said.

Post # 11
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’m in upstate NY and got married a few years ago. My officiant was a local judge – he did it in like 7 minutes lol. Everyone said to me afterward how it was the best because it was so short! I said yup, I didn’t want a long drawn out thing!

Post # 13
2249 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

notinterested :  You can do research on this based on the state. Most places will have the information listed along with the requirements to obtain a marriage license. If you have 2 years to plan, that should be enough time to consider your options. 

In some states where same-sex-marriage was explicitly outlawed, they haven’t updated the “you must say this” part of the rules to be gender neutral or non-specific yet.

All that being said, you can always look around in neighboring states and see if their requirements are a bit more to your liking. 

Post # 14
5180 posts
Bee Keeper

notinterested :  You say the info I posted above is not “the law” but if you know what the legal requirements are then what was the purpose of this thread?  I’m definitely intrigued by your relationship as you want to eliminate gender roles, reduce vows to a bare minimum and seem to find it offensive that an officiant would close a ceremony with “you may now kiss”.

As for eliminating words that dictate gender roles I would think this to be possible considering NY allows same-sex-marriages and therefore may not use the typical husband and wife lingo for officiating such marriages.  If I were you, I’d look into an officiant who conducts same-sex-marriages as they may have a script that is without gender norms that will be more appealing to you.

Anyway, none of this is meant as snark I am just truly intrigued.  I’m glad that the info I’ve posted is helpful, there hasn’t been much that has come up in my Google search.

Post # 15
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

Of course you can change the gendered words to “spouses”! It means the same thing. The law isn’t fussy about what specific language you use, and the offiant will say what you want them to say. Ours pronounced us “married partners.” Honestly I *think* you’d wind up just as legally married if she/he said “I now pronounce you zombie hunters” as long as you signed your paperwork and said “I do agree to marry this person.” “I do” is really the important part.

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