(Closed) No officiant? Is this okay?

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
Member
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

In Colorado you can marry without an officiant – check if DC does this. You sign the paper and declare your own marriage. In Jewish tradition the couple marries each other. We will officially be married when we have signed our Jewish wedding certificate before the actual wedding. The rabbi supplies blessings and traditions, but doesn’t do the marrying. One thing about having an officiant is they can direct the process. On the other hand if you’re just standing up there and saying your vows and that’s it, there’s not much to direct. I can imagine this would be quite beautiful. Alternatively, how about having a friend get ordained and be your officiant?

Post # 4
Member
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Consider having one of your friends get certified online to officiate. I think it is pretty cheap (like maybe $50) and then they could perform the ceremony for you. Or– if you want to go the morning-courthouse route you could always just have any person stand up there to say the 2 lines. I do think it would be a little weird with no one up there “running the show” but there is no reason you have to use one of the official people. 

Post # 5
Member
188 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Maybe consider having a friend/relative get certified to do it?  Or, they could just do it w/o being certified if you went to the courthouse that morning.

Post # 7
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Well, in Baltimore you can have a friend get an online license to do a one time wedding… because a client of mine did that. I’m not sure in DC though… 

I think you just need to check your marriage laws, you may HAVE to have a Justice of the Peace or minister or something… 

Post # 8
Member
1566 posts
Bumble bee

My opinion is – either have a ceremony or don’t. If you want to get married at the courthouse, just have a reception with your guests. But if you do want some kind of ceremony, I would have an officiant there. I know you just want to exchange vows (and presumably rings). But you’re not just going to start vowing without a quick intro (i.e. Welcome everyone, bride and groom going to do the vows now). And you’ll need a pronouncement to indicate that the ceremony is finished. I think you can’t get around the basic ceremony structure: welcome, vows, rings, pronouncement, and it would be best to have someone doing the welcoming and pronouncement instead of you two. To avoid the costs, just ask a friend (that’s what we are doing). 

Post # 9
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

As a pro officiant myself, I just have to note that there can be a whole lot more to a personal wedding ceremony that simply “Hi there, they’ve chosen to write their own vows… [vows]… OK, you’re married!”  Your officiant can offer suggestions for rituals, readings, etc, that really work for you and your relationship and feel relevant and meaningful.  Even if it’s a super short ceremony, it’s nice to have someone there to make it feel “official” as well as say some nice stuff about you and your family and friends.

I would reccomend meeting with a few officiants (or at least talking to them on the phone) to get an idea of the kind of ceremony you could have with an officiant before you decide to go the no officiant route at all.  Another option would be to get married at the courthouse, then have a friend “lead” your ceremony, too.

Post # 11
Hostess
4663 posts
Honey bee

What about a JP? That way you don’t have to go to the courthouse to do it. The courthouse can come to you? Ok, strange way of putting that, but it’s an idea.

Post # 12
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@ElusivePhoto – Explain your situation to the officiants.  My fees range from $450 to $800, but that’s for my full custom weddings… if you wanted something a bit simpler, plus the legality, I’m often flexible about the price.  Just make it clear what you are looking for, and let them know your budget.

Good luck!!

Post # 13
Member
1765 posts
Buzzing bee

Would your DJ friend become an officiant and do it?  Then your DJ could perform the ceremony for others like yourselves who don’t want a big “ceremony” for a little extra money?  My daughter and SIL had a short ceremony at their venue (Owned by a lawyer who did the ceremony and submitted the paperwork).  He had been asked to be an officiant for another wedding before-and so he had already become an officiant.  Funny, one of my daughter’s new friends and photographer/friend also is an officiant.  So she could have done it too!  It is another service these professionals could add to their services, so they may be very willing to do that for you.  It sounds like it would be a pretty easy thing to do.  It might provide them with more business. so it could be a win-win situation

Post # 14
Member
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I’d still have someone stand up there, even if they’re not an official officiant (if you can swing marrying yourselves legally). Just to act more as an MC… you know, to announce any readings or songs or ceremonies (e.g. candle ceremony), if you’re having anything like that?

Post # 15
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2010

If you are getting married in VA you should be able to hire a a civil celebrant for $50 (state law) – they will come to you!

Post # 16
Member
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@ elusivephoto,
I feel EXACTLY the same way.

Currently I am calling up local town halls for their officiant lists. I’ve called three local town halls thus far and 2 have given me 3 “officiants” to call each, at least. Another one gave me a two page list!
In there are retired judges, mayors, non denominational ministers.

One of the town halls told me specifically that the officiants on their list are not allowed to charge more than $75.  So I’m thinking if that is the fee at town hall only…so say we double that (worst case scenario) for travel fee and tip it’ll still be ~$150. WAY more reasonable than the $500+ I was getting quoted.

We really do not need much. We just want someone legal!

Maybe try that route before completely foregoing getting “married” at your ceremony?

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