(Closed) Officiant… necessary?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
5188 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

shehulk80:  The officiant is the one who signs the marriage license, then it becomes a certificate. In the case of a courthouse wedding the JOP would be your officiant. 

Post # 3
114 posts
Blushing bee

shehulk80: It depends on your state, what state do you live in? There is such a thing as a self-uniting marriage license. If your state allows self-uniting marriages then you and your spouse are actually the officiant.

Post # 4
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Yes someone licensed has to sign the marriage certificate

Post # 5
1843 posts
Buzzing bee

Yes, an officiant is necessary. You need someone who is certified to witness and sign off on your marriage license. 

Depending where you are a friend or family member MAY be able to complete an online course to become certified to do this for you, you would have to look it up for your jurisdiction. 

Post # 6
893 posts
Busy bee

Yeah, someone registered with the state in which you live has to sign the license and essentially validate the marriage for you. We found a lawyer friend of a friend who did it for cheap. Even if a family member or friend wants to do it, it might cost them money to file with the state.

Post # 7
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Some states allow you to marry yourselves. I’ve had 2 sets of friends do this in Colorado. 

Most states allow a regular person to get ordained and marry you. That’s what we did – a good friend got ordained online for free through the Universal Life Church (not actually a religious thing if you don’t want it to be).

Post # 8
774 posts
Busy bee

shehulk80:  What state are you in? Colorado has something called a “self-titling” process and no, I don’t believe any officiant is required. We just had a family friend do ours and sign, and he is not a pastor/judge/officiant of any sort and there were no issues. 

Post # 10
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

In general, yes, you do need an officiant to make it legal. But in Colorado, the law allows for “self-solemnization” – so no officiant necessary. It looks like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and D.C. also allow this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-uniting_marriage. Every state (and even some municipalities) has different laws, so Google “[your state] marriage license” and the state website should have clear information about who can perform a marriage. 

Edit to add: sorry, by the time I posted 10 other people jumped on the Colorado thing… we’re a pretty cool state. Haha.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by  MeganRae1230.
Post # 11
6709 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

We dealth with the license, etc beforehand (and technically the wedding too) and then had the person we wanted “officiate” our ceremony, which was far more meaningful to us than the ‘legal’ wedding the day before.  It’s all about perspective and to us, we weren’t actually married until his dad performed our ceremony, even though some random guy had done so the day before.

Post # 12
47252 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


shehulk80:  It’s always funny when you get black and white answers to a grey situation.

Given that we have no idea where you live, there are many possible answers. Check the legislation where you live.

Post # 13
5 posts
  • Wedding: June 2016

I am actually curious to know what you decided on doing because I am in a similar situation. We are eloping to Provence, France where we will have our “real” wedding, eventhough the paperwork – and therefore the “legal” wedding – will be done before (or after) in Madrid where we live. We had to do it this way since it is almost impossible to get married in France if you’re not French which we aren’t. So I am seriously contemplating not having an officiant for the elopement in France since we have written our own vows and having a random stranger there would be awkward and completely unnecessary since we know that the legal wedding was/will be done in Madrid. It’s the Provence wedding that is the most meaningful to us and we want it to be intimate. That’s why we call it the “real” wedding 🙂 Any advice?

Post # 14
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Have a friend get ordained online free through universal life church and let them do it. As long as it is legal in your state. 

Post # 15
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

If I’m following this correctly, it sounds like you’re getting legally married at city hall by just signing the paperwork, then having a sort of “emotional” ceremony later on. If that’s the case, see if you can have a friend “officiate” instead– the legal stuff will all be done, so you don’t need anyone with any sort of power to officiate, just a good friend who will lead you through your ceremony.

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