Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Is it true?

I was having a discussion with my father and he is upset because according to him my marriage next year won't be legal. 
I've explained to him that it will be because we will be signing a marriage license to get a marriage certificate, but he says that when he got married he had to get married through court first. 

I've researched and it does not say anything about marrying in court first.
So I wanted to ask if I would have to get married through court first? 

Re: Is it true?

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I was having a discussion with my father and he is upset because according to him my marriage next year won't be legal. 
    I've explained to him that it will be because we will be signing a marriage license to get a marriage certificate, but he says that when he got married he had to get married through court first. 

    I've researched and it does not say anything about marrying in court first.
    So I wanted to ask if I would have to get married through court first? 
    Where are you getting married? 

    I've never heard of having to go through the courts. I'm in NY, and I also had to get a certificate. Our officiant had to sign the certificate once the ceremony was performed, and then it was mailed in. We then received our marriage license once the certificate was processed. 

    charlotte989875
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It depends on where you are getting married. In some parts of Europe and South America, you have to be legally married at the courthouse before you have a religious or symbolic marriage elsewhere. 

    In the US and Canada, among other places, the religious/civil officiant is legally authorized to perform the marriage, so it all happens in the ceremony. That's what "by the power vested in me by the state of Nevada" language means that you sometimes hear in movies. (Those aren't magic words that anyone has to say, it's just what they mean.)
    charlotte989875MesmrEwe
  • OP, your father probably married in Europe, where the courthouse ceremony is the only legal ceremony. In the US, you can have your legal ceremony anywhere, as long as you have the license, and your officiant is legally authorized to perform the ceremony.
  • Where are you getting married? In the US, you do not need to have separate legal and religious ceremonies.
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  • I'll be getting married in NJ. He got married in NY but that was in the 1980s. I was telling him that I can legally get married as long as I get a marriage license sign it and give back to get a certificate but he doesn't believe me. He turned the whole thing into an argument so I just dropped the subject. 

    Thank you for replying!! 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'll be getting married in NJ. He got married in NY but that was in the 1980s. I was telling him that I can legally get married as long as I get a marriage license sign it and give back to get a certificate but he doesn't believe me. He turned the whole thing into an argument so I just dropped the subject. 

    Thank you for replying!! 
    He's confused. Marriages have been performed this way in the US since well before the 80's. 

    It seems he's one of those people that you just have to nod and walk away. 
    knottieae6484a98a537902
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Do you mean you and your H just need to have it signed or that an officiant needs to sign it? I'm pretty sure an officiant (civil or religious) needs to sign the license (at least in Indiana and Illinois that is true). Maybe that is what is confusing him.
  • Is he trying to say that if the courts are shut down that your marriage license won't be filed?  

    Maybe there are updates in your area that you can already point him to in order to indicate what is and is not happening due to restrictions in place due to COVID-19. 
  • he's definitely confused hence why I dropped the conversation. My future FIL is the one performing the ceremony since he's a pastor. His wife was walking me through the process and it makes sense. My dad is just set in his ways and is the type to think he knows everything about everything. 


  • As others have mentioned, definitely a where he got married issue as there are parts of the world that the legal and the sacramental marriage are in fact separate.  For example, if a couple wants to have their Sacramental marriage at the Vatican, they MUST first be legally married in their home country even though in most parts of the world the priest would be legally and sacramentally be receiving the vows.  

    Obviously, check your state laws to confirm and as long as your FFIL is properly deputized for performing marriages, all is good for legal and sacramental at the same time!
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