Post # 17
We’re having a friend ‘officiate’ our wedding, but my dad (ordained minister) will sign the paperwork, which is what makes it legal in my state. You could easily do the courthouse in the morning (that was our back up in case dad said no – not that we anticipated that, haha) and have someone else stand up to sort of facilitate so you don’t have to turn around and be like, “Okay ya’ll, now we’re gonna read our vows”, you know?
Post # 18
Close friends of mine made the decision to get married at the court house on a day just prior to their wedding. The day of their “ceremony” and reception, a family member was the “officiant”, had friends do “readings” (non-religious excerpts from favored books) and they exchanged their vows, etc. It was a wonderful celebration.
Post # 19
Ahhh, thank you ALL – you’re right, as far as I can tell, it’s $50 and not allowed to charge more for civil celebrant.
Thank you all sooooo much! Fiance will be happy too, because most are older, because they’re retired. NO idea why he is insistant that we have an older minister…but alright! 😛
Post # 20
Hey, just thought I’d throw this in….
I did what you’re thinking- my first marriage, we had less than 20 people there, in a park, we wrote our own vows, and got married earlier in the day privately.
It was soooooooo very very awkward!!!!! People were just standing around, and then we walked up, stood at our designated spots, and said our vows, kissed, hugged, and then turned around and everyone was like “…. was that it? What are we supposed to do NOW?”. Someone actually said “Oh, is that IT?” (I don’t think she realized I could hear her, lol). Then they realized that we were apparently DONE, and so a couple brave souls came up to hug us, then everyone joined in.
I would recommend having SOMEONE up there, at least for the comfort of your guests, not to mention YOUR comfort. Even if they just say some variation of “hey everyone, thanks so much for being here to celebrate and support (your names here)’s marriage! They’ve written their own vows, which they will now read.”. Then when you’re done, they could just step forward, hug you both and say “Congratulations!” which would signal to the others that it’s now socializing time.
Or, I had a friend who gave everyone little bubble containers, and the person who was standing up in front of everyone urged the guests to join him in blowing bubbles as the bride and groom kissed. It was a nice way to signal the end of the ceremony!
Hope this helps… good luck with your planning! 🙂
Post # 21
Aww, thank you! I appreciate your sharing from personal experience, sooo helpful. I just finished talking with Fiance about it and we decided that hiring a civil officiant is the perfect option, it’s costing us an extra $50 beyond what it would be if we went to the courthouse, which we can definitely do. Much better than the $500 we were being quoted!
You guys were super super helpful in helping us come to a decision, and find information that, despite my searching, I was not able to find before!
Love this site.
Post # 22
@elusivephoto, which civil officiant did you end up going with? I’m getting married in Leesburg as well and was hoping to find some insight as to who on the Loudoun County list is a good choice!
Post # 23
In Vrginia, an officiant is required for all ceremonies!
Getting married at the courthouse prior to your ceremony is generally not going to happen, since most Virginia courthouses (Including Loudoun County) don’t perform marriage ceremonies.
Getting a civil marriage celebrant is a bad idea because they many times show up late, or not at all because they schedule too many other weddings. Also, many of them cancel on you at the last minute because they take weddings in Maryland, West Virginia, or North Carolina as ministers for a much higher fee. Finally, most civil marriage celebrants are not trained wedding officiants.
Don’t try online ordination, since no Virginia Courts accept it.
You can get a trained wedding minister for less than $300.
Finally, get someone you know to perform your ceremony. HLAM Ministries utilizes cooperating churches to issue ordinations that are accepted by Virginia Courts.
Once your minister is authorized by a Virginia Circuit Court, you can utilize he/she to perform all of your other weddings for family and friends.
Post # 24
Have a close family or friend officiate 🙂 Ship captains and judges can also officiate ceremonies!
Post # 25
Virginia is the worst about getting legally married–so difficult. Wish I had known about HLAM Ministries. But in the end, we had my best friend officicat the non-legal wedding (with friends and family) in VA. Then on our Honeymoon in Las Vegas, we got legally married by Elvis under the Las Vegas sign. More expensive, but so much fun!!