Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Signing the marriage license during ceremony?

I'd like to sign the marriage license during our ceremony.  We're having his stepmom sing so I figured this would be an ideal time for her to do that, since we are not doing any kind of "unity" ceremony (sand, candle, etc.).  And, I feel like I won't feel *officially* married until we've signed the thing, and I'd like to feel officially married before we leave the alter!

Is anyone else planning on doing this?  I'm not sure where to insert it.  Should it go after the vows but before the rings?  Or after both the rings and the vows?  The problem with putting it at the end of everything, though, is that it seems a little anti-climatic to end the ceremony with the signing of a paper and then declaring us husband and wife.  

Help?

Re: Signing the marriage license during ceremony?

  • I haven't ever heard of this but I must admit while it is different, I kinda like the idea and I do agree with the reasoning behind it.

    I would probally put it where the unity candle time would have been. Hope this helps some.
  • I like after the vows and before the rings, because it just seems more organic to go directly from rings to pronouncement.
  • I think you could do it just before the pronouncement, since it's not really anticlimactic IMO (you'll still do the 'you may now kiss the bride' part AFTER this).  Either seems fine, as long as it's after the vows.

    You may want to check what your marriage license actually involves - in MD, the bride and groom don't actually sign it.  So I think it would have been weird to have it in the ceremony, when only the officiant signs it.
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  • Definitely double check if you actually need to sign it.  We planned to sign it as part of the ceremony, but we didn't actually need to.
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  • The Marriage License in NC requires the application that the Bride and Groom sign, then the license is issued, where the officiant and witness sign it, and then you return it to the courthouse to complete the process.  We won't bother with signing anything during the wedding, as it just doesn't make sense for how our state does licenses.

    BUT... if we did need to sign it, I would have it at the moment that we do the unity candle with the  special song we've selected.  
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  • I've never heard of signing it during the ceremony; it must be a state thing. We are signing it AFTER the ceremony with our honor attendants as witnesses. But I guess if you have to include it in the ceremony, right after the vows might be a good time.


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  • In Ontario you typically sign it during the ceremony.
  • ditto, definitely check to see if you sign it.

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  • I'm located in GA and have seen it done several times. It's really up to the couple to decide whether or not they want to do it.

    I personally will not be doing that because our ceremony (~1 hour) is long enough.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_signing-marriage-license-during-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:d38dbe4e-6ccc-4db1-b5f5-8e6cb5132a3cPost:b567fcd1-0a39-489d-994c-7e06694571dd">Re: Signing the marriage license during ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Definitely double check if you actually need to sign it.  We planned to sign it as part of the ceremony, but we didn't actually need to.
    Posted by aerinpegadrak[/QUOTE]

    Agreed.  When I married in 1992 in DC, the couple didn't sign the license, only the priest and a witness.  I'm still trying to find out who signs the license where we're getting married next year.
  • like PP, check to see if you actually sign it the day of your wedding...

    we had to sign at the registers office when we obtained the license then on the wedding day only the offiant and 2 witnesses signed (nothing we had to do the day of)
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  • Yep, in Ontario we sign it during the ceremony.  I've always seen it done that way. 

    Usually the order of things is: welcome, readings, words from the officiant, vows, rings, then "you may now kiss the bride", then the song or space-filling music while the paperwork is signed, then the officiant says "I now present to you Mr. & Mrs. John Smith" and you recess out of the hall.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_signing-marriage-license-during-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:d38dbe4e-6ccc-4db1-b5f5-8e6cb5132a3cPost:66dd6901-2bc4-4b26-86a5-09724e0431c1">Re: Signing the marriage license during ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think you could do it just before the pronouncement, since it's not really anticlimactic IMO (you'll still do the 'you may now kiss the bride' part AFTER this).  Either seems fine, as long as it's after the vows. You may want to check what your marriage license actually involves - in MD, the bride and groom don't actually sign it.  So I think it would have been weird to have it in the ceremony, when only the officiant signs it.
    Posted by LauraT25[/QUOTE]Ditto this.  In Massachusetts, only the rabbi signed ours.
  • My brother and his wife did this during their ceremony.  They exchanged rings, lit the unity candles, signed the license, and were pronounced.  IF you find out that you can or have to sign the license, this seemed to flow naturally. 

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  • In VA, the officiant signs it and sends it in after the ceremony. However, we're signing a Marriage Covenant to place in our home with our attendants and pastors between the rings and the kiss. 
  • Signing the marriage license during the ceremony is normal at our location. They are the only location that I know of in our area that does it that way. Unfortunately, I don't know they work it into the ceremony yet. I agree with you though. It will feel more official to sign it in front of everyone instead of after with only the officiant and witnesses. Best of luck!
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