(Closed) Self uniting aka no officiant…

posted 7 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
11384 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

@HappilyEverAfter54: Is this legal? lol Sorry I have just never heard of it before! I can’t wait to see everyone elses experience with it though! Sounds sweet!

Post # 4
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I’ve heard of an officiant-free ceremony in terms of a Quaker wedding, and I know that some states seem to have issues with recognizing such marriages. From what I read, it often takes a few calls to get the county registrar of marriages to understand what went down and get everything filed properly in an area that does not have a significant number of Quaker weddings. But you seem to be describing something a bit different??? 

Post # 5
310 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I know that if you are already legally married, you dont need an officiant for your ceremony. We will be already married by the time the wedding comes andcim actually trying to find an ‘alternative’ to having an officiant.

Post # 6
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We are doing a self-uniting ceremony too, and my aunt is acting as “host”, where she’ll basically fill in the traditional role of an officiant, to keep things moving etc. She just won’t be ordained, and we’ll say our vows to each other, etc.

Our ceremony will look something like this:

I. Processional
II. Welcome – my aunt welcomes everyone and shares some thoughts on marriage
III. Readings – special family/friends will cycle through and do readings
IV. Vows and rings – first my aunt will explain the symbolism behind the vows/rings, then Fiance and I will say our vows and exchange rings to each other
V. Closing thoughts – my aunt will launch right into the “Apache Wedding Blessing”:

“Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth for the other.

Now there is no more loneliness.

Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.

May your days together be good and long
upon the earth.”

Tell us we can kiss, and then introduce us as Mr. and Mrs. Lastname.
VI. Processional

So it will look and flow like a pretty traditional wedding, but we won’t be having an ordained officiant, so the only difference is in the vows and the fact that no one will “pronounce” us married. It’s just the legalese that is different, with a self-uniting ceremony you can make it anything you want it to be, as long as you meet the legal requirements, which is literally that you say “I take you as my husband/wife” to each other in front of two witnesses. Your entire ceremony could be just that if you wanted it to be, or you could have a weeklong wedding if you wanted to, just so long as you say those words in front of two witnesses to make it legal.

Post # 9
196 posts
Blushing bee

It is indeed legal, but only in certain states.  For ours, we are having his mother be the mistress of ceremonies, so she’ll say a few words at the beginning and the end.  My father will do a reading, and my mother and her husband are doing a song.  We are just starting to design our ceremony, so I’m not sure yet what else there will be other than the vows and ring exchange, but we are figuring 15 – 20 minutes.

The self-uniting was very important to us.  We will not be married because some other person declares us married, but because WE are making the choice.  We don’t belong to a church and don’t want some random officiant.  At the last wedding I attended, the officiant kept getting the groom’s name wrong – not just a mispronunciation, but a totally different name.

Post # 10
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@HappilyEverAfter54: How do you check whether the district you’re getting married in allows it? I thought it was legal/recognized/allowed all through PA >_> We live in Allegheny Co. which I know allows it because this is where that 2007 court case was, but the wedding is in Somerset Co. What office of their county should I call to find out? I don’t want to do the wedding only to find out after the fact that it wasn’t legally valid!

Post # 12
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Btw here’s a video I found on Youtube way back when we were deciding whether to go self-uniting or not…this helped me picture the ceremony better. The audio is a bit low at times but you get the gist 🙂 there’s a Part 2 as well, it should come up in the related videos.


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