Post # 1
My fiance and I are BOTH having a tough time coming up with the right paperwork our particular state needs to get a marriage license, so we were talking about going to a neighboring state and getting our license and certificate there. My question is, if we get both our license AND certificate prior to our wedding ceremony, do we need a legally certificated/qualified/whatever the word is officiant for the ceremony or can it just be a friend or family member? All of our internet searches have predominantly turned up officiant vendor pages which isn’t the goal.
Post # 2
So you would be legally married in the other state and then have a ceremony afterward in the state you live in? Then it doesn’t matter who does your ceremony because you aren’t getting married in that ceremony because you are already legally married.
Post # 3
Alysa : The license allows you to marry. The certificate says you are married. Sometimes the same piece of paper does double-duty — you get the license, then after the ceremony your officient signs it and that is then filed as your certificate. In either case, in order to get a marriage certificate, you have to have gone through whatever ceremony that state requires. Anything you do after that is not “official” or legally binding, so you would not need a registered officiant although you could certainly ask a registered officiant if they would be willing to do a symbolic ceremony. Or you could have a friend or family member do it.
Post # 4
hikingbride : Gotcha. I guess I didn’t realize states required ceremonies in the legal aspect. I thought it was all a bunch of red tape, more or less, and just a stamp on a piece of paper or something. Shows what I know! I’ll tell my fiance though. He and I still might have to go that route because NEITHER of us (or our parents…) can find our birth certificates which are needed here, but not in the state directly south of us.
Post # 5
Check the requirements for the state in question. I don’t know where you live, but depending on the state or even country where you get your marriage license, requirements may differ a bit. For example, you might be required to get married in the country that issues the license, rather than anywhere in the state.
Rules on how long a marriage license is good for before it expires will also vary. I live in California, and you have to get married within 90 days of the marriage license. Other places, the marriage license may expire after a shorter time period, such as 30 days. And some states have a waiting period between when you apply for the license and when it can be used, generalll 3 days.
Laws about your officiant will also vary by state. In California, we were able to have a dear friend serve as our officiant through a process (deputy marriage comissioner for a day) where anyone can pay a registration fee, do some paperwork, and get permission to perform a specific wedding on a specific day. Other states may have specific requirements for officiants.
That said, I’d go ahead and get copies of your birth certificates. Chances are you’ll need them in the future!
Post # 6
I did exactly this last month. My friends had already gotten legally married, signed the paperwork and the whole shebang, so they didn’t need a “legit” officiant–so they asked me! I created the ceremony as though it were the real deal, though, so that no one knew they’d already been legally married.
So, no, you do not need a real officiant if the paperwork is already signed and filed away. Also, you can just sign the paperwork IN YOUR OWN STATE and then have anyone be the officiant; it doesn’t need to be in another state.
Edit: Everything I’m saying presupposes that you legally file marriage paperwork before the ceremony.
Post # 7
Is there a reason you are unable to order a copy of your birth certificates from the records department in your birth state(s)? I mean it’s a handy thing to have filed away no matter what.