Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Does my officiant have to be present, or can she marry us via Skype?

My grandmother is a minister, and my fiancé and I would love to have her marry us. Unfortunately she is not in good health, making travel very difficult for her. Since we are having a very small (under 20 guests) wedding, we had the idea that she could marry us via Skype, but are not sure that it would be legal. We may need to have a civil ceremony to make it official. I've googled this a lot, and found examples of the bride and groom being in different locations and marrying via Skype, but never the officiant being in another state or country. Does anyone know more about this? Thanks!
MairePoppypanchi00

Re: Does my officiant have to be present, or can she marry us via Skype?

  • jenijoykjenijoyk member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    edited September 2014
    Fascinating question! I have no idea. But marriage laws vary by state, so the first place you need to look are the marriage statutes for your state - not a general google search. But given that your state's marriage statutes were written long, long before Skype or cell phones or any other way this could happen even existed, there's a 99% chance they won't say one way or another. 

    But the statutes probably will say specific things about who needs to sign your marriage license, when, and in front of whom else. So that's probably where I'd focus: your state's specific marriage license signing requirements. 
    holyguacamole79MairePoppy
  • It may vary, but in general this isn't permitted. One good option would be having a different officiant marry you, there with all your guests, but asking your grandmother to lead a prayer or give the sermon via Skype.
    MairePoppy
  • dreamlet said:
    My grandmother is a minister, and my fiancé and I would love to have her marry us. Unfortunately she is not in good health, making travel very difficult for her. Since we are having a very small (under 20 guests) wedding, we had the idea that she could marry us via Skype, but are not sure that it would be legal. We may need to have a civil ceremony to make it official. I've googled this a lot, and found examples of the bride and groom being in different locations and marrying via Skype, but never the officiant being in another state or country. Does anyone know more about this? Thanks!
    If it is important to you both to have her officiate, you should travel to her for the wedding. If you were to have a civil ceremony, that would be your wedding. It would not be appropriate to pretend to get married in front of guests if it's not a legal ceremony. I highly doubt she can perform the ceremony long distance, though you can certainly confirm that quickly and easily by calling the clerk of court for the county in which you intend to marry and asking them.
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    holyguacamole79
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its

    You should go to your local city hall for an answer. If your county won't allow your grandmother to officiate via Skype, she could still do the readings or bless the marriage after the officiante has performed the minimal legal requirements.  This is a very interesting question. I hope you'll come back to let us know how you worked this out.

                       
    jenijoyk[Deleted User]
  • Another vote for call your local court to find out if it would be considered legal. I know where I live in Ohio the person who performs the marriage must sign the license. The other thing to take into consideration, since she is in bad health, you may need a back up person in case she is having a really bad day and can't perform the ceremony. If she is in bad health it may be better to have someone local perform the ceremony but have her skyped in to watch the ceremony & maybe she can do a blessing or a reading instead
  • Thanks everyone for your responses! 

    Sorry if I was unclear, but I was not thinking of having 2 ceremonies, and "pretending" get married in front of guests. Rather, as many people suggested, I like the idea of my grandmother leading a prayer or sermon via Skype or other video method if she could not legally marry us. 

    It seems that the person who marries us needs to sign the marriage certificate and return it to city hall within 10 days of the wedding. 

    I think I will ask her to say a prayer, or if she is not up for it, select a prayer to be read at the wedding. 
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