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My sister and her fiance were raised Catholic, but have not been
actively practicing for many years. Nontheless, they are wanting
a ''spiritual'' wedding and have been searching to find an
open-minded priest/minister (CURRENTLY affiliated with a church)
who would be willing to officiate at their outdoor wedding. Any
recommendations? They're aware that the vast majority of
Catholic priests will not agree to do the wedding, but they
would also be open to recommendations for Episcopalian
priests/Protestant ministers who fit the bill. Thanks!
Perhaps this is not what your sister has in mind but keep in
mind that a ''spiritual'' friend of the family can be deputized
by the county to officiate the ceremony. They just have to
obtain a one-time license from the county where the wedding
will be performed.
We had a double wedding with dear friends - they hired someone
to marry them and that person didn't know anything about them
and it wasn't the best experience. We, on the other hand,
a family friend (who I had known for 30+ years) to officiate
our wedding, and wrote our own vows. I thought it was much
more meaningful to have a loved one, rather than a stranger,
perform the marriage - it was one of the best decisions we
Still married after 11 years!
my husband & I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary
this summer (!) & want to renew our vows. we would love a
woman, perhaps a Universalist Unitarian (that's who we had the
first time around, though neither of us is UU)... basically
someone very open/accepting who will incorporate those values
into the ceremony.
We chose interfaith minister Heron Freed Toor as our marriage
celebrant, and she's wonderful. She lives in SF and travels
My mom commented that Heron approached our wedding utterly fresh,
as though she herself were hearing the words of the ceremony for
the first time, and as if the event were the most important she'd
ever been part of. After our wedding, not one but THREE other
couples who are friends of ours asked for Heron's contact info
and were subsequently married by her.
Here's how Heron descibes her work: ''For fifteen years, I have
officiated at weddings and presided over baby blessings, renewal
of vows, memorials and other ceremonies. I honour the passages in
people's lives and the commitments of all people ~ regardless of
race, religion or sexual orientation.''
I am getting married in a couple of months and am
looking for someone who could come to our house and
perform the task of making it all legal.
We are not planning a ceremony, but mainly want to
have someone legally marry us prior to our planned
reception. I am assuming that a judge could do this,
but don't know where to even start looking.
I believe that after you actually get your license in the state of
California, you're married.
For your ceremony, you can have anyone perform your vows- a relative,
There's no need to hire an "official", you can craft your own ceremony.
Just to correct an earlier post -- getting a marriage license does NOT make
you legally married. An appropriate official (judge, clergyman, deputized
person) MUST sign the license and it must then be recorded with the county
recorder in the county where the marriage took place.
You are absolutely NOT married just because you get your license. You do
need an official to marry you legally. This can be a judge, legallly
ordained minister, or, in the state of California, anyone who is deputized
to perform a one-time ceremony. The exact procedures and fees vary by
county. You can call up the county recorder's office and they will give
you the information. In Alameda County, at least at the Oakland office,
they are extremely helpful and will send you all the necessary information
in writing ahead of time. Basically your "deputy" will set up an
appointment to get "deputized" for performing the ceremony. You can go
too, and I thought it was very interesting, and wish I'd brought my camera.
There is a fee (which varies slightly by county, but expect about $70 in
Alameda county). Your deputy fills out the paperwork, is informed of the
procedures (including several things that must be stated during the
ceremony, which are not intrusive at all), and is sworn in for the official
duties. Your deputy is required to send the completed and signed (by the
deputy and the couple) marriage certificate back to the County within a
certain amount of time. Alameda County also gives you a ceremonial
marriage certificate for everybody to sign. The official, legal marriage
certificate willbe sent to you after the paperwork is sent in to the
The deputization is good for a specific ceremony (i.e., a specific couple)
for a specific date and location, and must be done ahead of time--possibly
no more than 3 months ahead.
You must have your marriage license before the ceremony. I can't remember
exactly, but you probably need to have the license prior to the
deputization. (The license is also good only for a certain period of
time--possibly 3 months)
Alternatively, you can just go to the county office and make an
appointment for a civil ceremony. They are actually very nice there, and
you gotta figure that the wedding ceremonies and deputizations are the
easiest part of their jobs since everybody is usualy pretty excited and
For an intimate, low key wedding, I can tell you that it's SO worthwhile to
have a trusted, reliable friend perform the ceremony. Enjoy!
Try the Secular Humanists -- East Bay chapter is 486-0553.
It is possible for anyone, pretty much, to be deputized to perform a legally
binding civil ceremony. I haven't done it, but two different friends had
good friends of theirs deputized to perform their ceremonies. You could
call the county clerk in your county to ask about the procedure -- I imagine
it's not too onerous. Also, any judge can perform marriages. It helps to
know them, esp. if you want them to come to your house (which they'd have to
do on their own time and might not be willing to do for strangers), but you
can be legally married at the courthouse without much difficulty. Again,
I'd call the county clerk's office.
One of the things my husband and I do is what we call "intentional
weddings." We help couples craft a personal wedding ceremony,
incorporating the things most meaningful to each person, and to the
relationship as a whole. This usually involves several sessions, and a
certain amount of pre-marital/relationship "coaching." For a full wedding
ceremony, we usually meet about 5 times, for 2 to 3 hours each time. This
sounds like more than you were actually looking for, but we might be able
to negotiate a reduced number of visits (and cost) if you were interested.
Both my husband and I are ordained through the Universal Life Church, and
therefore empowered to sign all of the legal paperwork necessary, though
usually my husband is the one who performs the ceremony and signs the
paperwork. More information, as well as scripts from a couple of the
weddings we have done, can be found on our website at
http://www.weirdness.org/Coaching/Weddings/index.html. Feel free to write
us (coaching at weirdness.org) or to call (510-562-6417) if you want to talk
further about this work.
Dawn and Akien
When we got married, I was surprised to learn that at least in Alameda
County, just about ANYONE can be certified to perform a legal marriage, just
by filling out some (as I recall) fairly simply paperwork. So, we filled
out the required paperwork and a friend of ours "married" us. This was in
1995. Don't know if you're in Alameda County, and don't know if it's the
same in all counties, but contact your county courthouse to see what the
official procedure is. Colleen
Try the Unitarian ministers. We had one come and marry us in the hills.
They'll do whatever sort of ceremony you want. The one we used was in
Berkeley, Paul someone. Great guy. Linda
It sounds as though you are mostly seeking some one who can help you
formalize your relationship in a legal way.
A Justice of the Peace wedding is speedy and gets the deed done and (I
think) you just do it by going down to the city hall, getting a marriage
certificate, and taking it in to the J.P.If you prefer something a little more
personal, I would be happy to talk to you. I officiate for 3-4 couples a
really enjoy helping to create a meaningful and personalized ceremony.
It is possible to make it very brief and private
if that is what you want.
Best wishes to you. Elizabeth
I cannot recommend Hank Basayne more highly. Call or
email him at the following...............
415-567-7044 415-346-7099 Enfp at aol.com
...and congratulations! LRH
Actually, ANYONE can perform the ceremony; all you need to do is have the
(not the right term, but it's been a few years since we looked into this)
with the county.
They can only perform the ceremony on one day (you have to pick a date). Go
County Courthouse, and they will give you the details. It's really easy!!!
In CA, all you need to do is to go to the county
offices and get a marriage license, and have that
signed by an appropriate person. Anyone in CA can
officiate at (and sign marriage licenses for)
marriages, as long as they fill out an application
(also at the county, I believe). If you don't have
someone in mind for that, you can make an appt. to be
married by a judge at city hall.
My husband and I were legally married by a friend of ours in Alameda county.
The county allows for a person to be deputized for a day to perform weddings
and all that needs to be done is fill out a couple of forms and pay a fee (I
think it was $50). The person deputized to perform the wedding has a few
standard phrases they must say to make it all legal and the rest is up to
you. Having a good friend perform our wedding made it very special and unique
and it allows for quite a bit a flexibility. Good luck and congratulations!
Pretty much anybody can marry you, but they might have to be ordained first?
We wrote our own ceremony and then had a friend preform it, and it turned
be very beautiful. She was ordained first through the internet at Universal
Church Online( http://www.ulc.net ) where you can become an ordained minister
instantly and for free.
Don and Anna
this page was last updated: May 25, 2008
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