Author Topic: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)  (Read 6255 times)

catccc

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Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« on: August 13, 2015, 07:39:58 AM »
I recently learned (or re-learned, it sounded familiar...) that the state of Pennsylvania allows self-uniting marriages. 

This means you can get married without an officiant and associated costs!  Just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone interested in a low cost "wedding."  You need to get a marriage license still.  So it can just be you and your mate, and nobody ancillary needs to be in attendance.  Which I think is lovely and intimate and appropriate for the start of a marriage.

madgeylou

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 07:53:29 AM »
I recently learned (or re-learned, it sounded familiar...) that the state of Pennsylvania allows self-uniting marriages. 

This means you can get married without an officiant and associated costs!  Just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone interested in a low cost "wedding."  You need to get a marriage license still.  So it can just be you and your mate, and nobody ancillary needs to be in attendance.  Which I think is lovely and intimate and appropriate for the start of a marriage.

My husband and I did this! It was great. We did have a friend sort of emcee for us -- he described the self-uniting marriage, and we opened the floor for anyone who felt moved, to speak on our behalf, in the Quaker tradition. Then we joined hands and said the simplest vows to each other, and then we kissed and were done.

It was lovely and sweet and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. :)

iamlittlehedgehog

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2015, 01:39:07 PM »
I wish this was legal in Florida, albeit our officiant was not that expensive so I can't complain too much.

KMMK

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 01:51:36 PM »
That sounds great. I would have done this if I could and if my partner was fine with it, obviously.

Telecaster

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2015, 06:48:46 PM »


Back in the infancy of the Internet, I got ordained as a minister online.  Really funny, haha.  Later on, some friends wanted to get married and I volunteered.  To my great surprise, they accepted.  Holy shit!  Suddenly I was worried that my being a fake minister my cost someone their marriage.  So I called the WA State Dept. of Licensing and asked what credentials you need to perform a marriage in WA state.   They said (and I'm paraphrasing) "You gotta be 18, but other than that, we don't actually give shit about your credentials as long as you pay the money." 

The judge who performed my wife and my wedding related an interesting story.  He had performed a ceremony for  a young couple.  A couple days later, they decided it was off but they had yet to file their paperwork.  Question:  Is the marriage valid?  Good question, right?  The judge didn't know, so he queried his fellow judges online.  He concluded that the answer was yes, they were legally married.  The reason is that the concept of civil marriage goes all the way to back to English common law, and if you say "I do" you are entering into a legal contract.   Verbal agreements are legally binding, and therefore those two idiot kids were legally married.   Filing the paperwork means there is a record of the contract, but the contract starts when you say "I do." 

So to me it makes sense you don't legally need an officiant, depending on the state of course.  I know in Alaska _anybody_ can be an officiant.  No requirements at all.  In WA State you have to a judge or an "ordained" minister, but they don't ask for documentation.  Which, IMO, they shouldn't. 



MoonShadow

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2015, 06:53:58 PM »
Is this significantly different than just "eloping"?

madgeylou

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2015, 10:27:10 PM »
Is this significantly different than just "eloping"?

Well, in PA, two people can fill out the paperwork, then go under a tree somewhere and hold hands and say private vows and be done with the whole thing.

We chose to have a party around that moment, but yeah. No officiant required. You still gotta fill out the paperwork, though.

catccc

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 07:17:08 AM »
Is this significantly different than just "eloping"?

Yes, in most states, you need an officiant.

Someone cited an example noting that nearly anyone can be the officiant.  Which is true, but I think the better part of a self-uniting marriage, aside from the small convenience of not having to find or pay for an officiant, is that it can just be the couple- nobody else needs to be there, no officiant, no witness, etc.  IDK, I just like that as an option.  I wanted to have my family there, but I can also see wanting to make it a completely private affair.

Roboturner

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2015, 02:46:02 PM »
Turns out you can do this in Colorado too, gotta file that paperwork with the 'gubmnt' first though

what a sorry, outdated, silly thing this whole marraige/wedding thing is

grantmeaname

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2015, 09:21:44 AM »
Luckily for you it's not mandatory.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2015, 09:31:45 AM »
Turns out you can do this in Colorado too, gotta file that paperwork with the 'gubmnt' first though

what a sorry, outdated, silly thing this whole marraige/wedding thing is
Considering the metric fuckton of benefits that the state (and other states, and the federal government, and other countries) bestow upon you when entering into a marriage contract, it's reasonable for them to demand that you follow the few easy rules they insist on.

Roboturner

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 05:11:17 PM »
Considering the metric fuckton of benefits that the state (and other states, and the federal government, and other countries) bestow upon you when entering into a marriage contract, it's reasonable for them to demand that you follow the few easy rules they insist on.

Ah yes, requiring that a clergy man or "justice of the peace", you know, experts on the subject, - inspect and sign off on your marriage as "real" is totally reasonable and not silly or outdated at all. I respectfully resend my previous thoughts on the matter :)

Cathy

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2015, 05:37:29 PM »
Not all US states require the government to be notified or involved in a marriage in any way. For example, Texas law provides for "marriage without formalities", which as the name suggests, does not require any registration with the state or any other state intervention. There is no need to obtain a marriage licence or any other state documentation. Texas Family Code 2.401 et seq. The main disadvantage to this kind of regime is that disputes can arise over whether two people are in fact married. Mandatory state officiation or registration does help remove doubt about whether a marriage has occurred.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 05:43:41 PM by Cathy »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Self-Uniting Marriages (Skip the officiant!)
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2015, 05:41:44 PM »
Considering the metric fuckton of benefits that the state (and other states, and the federal government, and other countries) bestow upon you when entering into a marriage contract, it's reasonable for them to demand that you follow the few easy rules they insist on.

Ah yes, requiring that a clergy man or "justice of the peace", you know, experts on the subject, - inspect and sign off on your marriage as "real" is totally reasonable and not silly or outdated at all. I respectfully resend my previous thoughts on the matter :)
They don't inspect your relationship, they just make sure that the two persons on the contract are who they say they are and have a few basic questions to make sure you're not marrying your sister or someone against their will. Don't the societal benefits of doing such things outweigh the "cost" of spending 15 minutes in front of a government official?