Post # 1
I was wondering whose done it, how did it go and did you have sand or candles or anything besides exchange of vows?
Were planning to do this but we also have the sand for a sand ceremony and I’m not sure if we should just have someone up there to ‘fill in’ as an officiant would or what… My friend just recently had her self uniting ceremony and they cut everything extra out to make it short, sweet and easy. I still want it to be special while we stand on stage and all, our wedding is a pretty elegant style now and I want to make sure the ceremony doesn’t fall flat.
Post # 3
@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
- 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
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
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:
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.
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 # 7
A self-uniting marriage is one in which the couple are married without the presence of a third-party officiant. Although non-denominational, this method of getting married is sometimes referred to as a “Quaker Marriage”.
Although most states do not offer self-uniting marriage as an official option, Pennsylvania has recognized such marriages for centuries (due to its Quaker origins and history of religious tolerance) and has offered licenses for these marriages for decades. These marriages only require the signatures of two witnesses in place of an officiant.
The issuance of self-uniting marriage licenses is controversial, however. Some Pennsylvania counties do not offer this form of license at all. Others only allowed such marriages when license applicants could prove they were members of a recognized religion without clergy, such as Quakers, the Amish, and the Bahá’í faith; however, in 2007, a Federal judge ruled that a Pennsylvania couple which was denied a self-uniting marriage on the basis of their secular beliefs must be allowed such a license.
@lovekiss: we already checked to make sure our district allows this kind of marriage. the one we live in does not but luckily the one were getting married in does… yay for us! lol it’s still Quaker it’s just we’d like to add a few of our own things in at the end.
@Soon2BeMrsPea: This was another thing we’d talked about! We may just get married in April on our 2 year anniversary of dating and have the wedding/honeymoon in June.
Post # 8
@Kant: OMG Thank you so so much! My grandfather actually said if we decided to do it this way he’d like to be up there for our vow exchange and to introduce us… perfect!
Post # 9
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
@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 # 11
@Jinxstar: wow I feel bad for that bride and groom! I’d be so upset! I don’t want just any officiant either and neither of us belong to a church so self uniting seemed like a perfect fit and we had so many people suggest it! We found out we can get the SUL in that district we just have to tell them we don’t belong to a church, seems easy enough.
Post # 12
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.
Post # 13
@Kant: I looked up the information online actually and then to be sure I called the county district judges office to follow up with the 2009 web page I was reading. I think I searched for self uniting license PA and there was an actual list made of counties that allow it.
Post # 14
Check out this blog! http://abackyardwedding.blogspot.com/search/label/ceremony
They had a Quaker-esque ceremony and she does several posts that go into detail about how everything was laid out.
Post # 15
Self-Uniting Marriage License:
Yes. If you want this type of license, you need to inform the clerk before you begin the application process.
Looks like your safe in Somerset! =) I’m safe in Franklin too! =)
Post # 16
@Kant: thanks for the link =)
@gcwest: that’s really awesome! thank you!