- Miss Fish
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: December 2011
This is going to be a long rant, so I’m sorry.
The Novel Version:
Originally, we were going to be married by a friend of my Future Mother-In-Law. He has a small congregation, and offered to do our ceremony for free. She explained to him that we really aren’t religious at all, and weren’t planning on having a religious ceremony. He said he could handle that, so we set up a meeting a few weeks ago. I’ve had my ideal ceremony written out for quite a while, and we went over it. He seemed uneasy, but agreed to do it, with only a few words of protest at our completely secular ceremony. I woke up the next morning in a panic, freaking out that I didn’t want someone marrying us who doesn’t believe that we’ll actually be married at the end of it– in his eyes, only God can marry two people, and obviously he wasn’t invited to our wedding, since we don’t believe he exists. I called Mr. Fish and he gave this minister an out, saying that if he was uncomfortable with it, he didn’t have to do it. He graciously backed out. I felt better that we weren’t going to be married by someone who had totally different beliefs from us, but I sort of freaked out because, with less than two months to go, we had no one to marry us.
We decided to ask my Maid/Matron of Honor, the woman who introduced us, to get ordained to marry us. She was excited, and agreed. She filled out an application online through Universal Life Church, and all was good. We spaced out the readings so that she isnt reading non-stop, and we’ve been working on this for the past few weeks. Everything is running really smoothly, and we’re all happy with the way things have been going. Mr. Fish and I were excited that the person who knows us best is going to join us in marriage, and run the ceremony according to our vision and beliefs.
Then we applied for our marriage license. The woman filing the paperwork asked who was marrying us, and I told her a friend was getting ordained. She asked if she was getting certified by the Ohio Secretary of State. I said she wasn’t planning on it, but if thats a legal provision of course we’ll do it. She gave me a website to go to to finalize all the legal business.
I went to that site today. Apparently, the state of Ohio revised code says the following:
“An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.”
“A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of his being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing him to solemnize marriages in this state so long as he continues as a regular minister in such society or congregation.”
You also must submit “A letter from the religious society to which you are affiliated stating that you are duly ordained or licensed as a minister in good standing, serving the congregation in a ministerial capacity.”
Basically, unless you’re a judge or a practicing religious official, you can’t be certified to perform a legal wedding in the state of Ohio, which means our best friend can’t legally perform the ceremony. And legality is pretty important, considering the Marines need certified documentation that I’m his wife in order for us to receive any of the benefits that we desperately need.
As of right now, it looks like our best option is to go to the courthouse the day before and get legally married, and then have our reception the next day. That’s great and everything, but when we were planning this last-minute wedding, I specifically said that I did NOT want to go to the courthouse and then go home and watch T.V. that night. I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be a celebration, even if it was just something small for whatever we could afford. So now we’ve thrown all this money at doing a small, affordable wedding, and we’re going to have to go to the damn courthouse anyway. Why didn’t we just elope?
And our families would flip if they knew we had to get married at the courthouse, because I think they would see the wedding the same way I am right now– a waste of money. So now we have to decide whether to have a secret courthouse wedding or let our parents know about it and create a bunch of animosity over the whole thing.
And another thing… we’ve been planning on having a big vow renewal/going away party/graduation party after I’m done with school, so that we could actually have the larger, nicer affair with everyone that we wanted to invite originally. But honestly, I feel like THIS wedding is now a vow renewal, and it seems stupid to have two.
I just want to get married like a normal person, but life keeps throwing shit at me. First he joins the Marines, then I hit with a ton of medical issues which mean that I need to get on his medical benefits, then we move the wedding up three years, then we deal with guest list drama and religious arguments and legality issues. I just want to be married to my best friend, and I want that union to be a special reflection of us and our relationship. That’s it.
The Short Version:
The state of Ohio doesn’t care which God you pray to, as long as your wedding includes some mention of a diety, because clearly your love can’t be valid unless a ceremony is conducted within the traditions of an organized religion. If you can’t adhere to that, you’re obviously a heathen who doesn’t deserve a meaningful ceremony, and should resign yourself to signing a piece of paper at the courthouse with a justice of the peace.
Also, we should have just eloped.