Gay Weddings

Officiant in a state where NOT legally recognised

Hello all!

My gorgeous fiancée and I are moving (errr, in about two weeks which is CRAZY) to Seattle where it will be legal for us to get married. We're having the actual ceremony here in Virginia, however, next May or June. 

My question is, since it isn't a legal wedding in VA, who should we have officiate? It seems kind of silly to have an official officiant when nothing they say matters? We'll have the ceremony here and then sign all the paperwork when we return to WA. 

Has anyone else run into this? Any advice?

Thanks, and congrats to all you other engaged folks out there.

Re: Officiant in a state where NOT legally recognised

  • we are having one of our very good friends, who is very spiritual, do it for us.  We saw no reason to pay a stranger to perform a ceremony with no legal standing when we could have someone who knows and loves us officiate.
  • Same here, we're in Texas and having a friend of the family act more as an MC to signal the start of the festivities and then we're going to say the vows that we're each writing separately before we go right into our first dance.  

    Granted, we are holding the ceremony and reception in the same location and the ceremony is just on a raised platform next to the dance floor.  All of our friends and family will be standing around the platform and there won't be an aisle to walk down.  We're both going to enter the platform from opposite sides with our escorts and leave together.

    Then we're going to New York for our legal wedding and honeymoon.
  • In Response to Officiant in a state where NOT legally recognised:
    I am an officiant in a state where marriage equality is not recognized.  And I must say - NO ONE CAN DECLARE YOU MARRIED...except for yourselves. In other words, the officiant is the person who hears your pledge and promise.  And they guide you to speak your hearts.  Do not confuse the spiritual aspects with the legal aspects.  You could be legally allowed to marry (Brtiney Spears) but not have the wherewithal to sustain a true union of the heart.  If this ceremony is one that will be remembered by you as the day you made your committement of love forever in front of your family and friends.  Then I would rethink the value of your officiant.  The legal aspect is important for all the right reasons, but it is after all just a piece of paper.  Reverend Lisa
  • sggeigersggeiger member
    First Comment
    edited July 2012
    My partner is a minister in the United Church of Christ, which is an affirming denomination (obviously). Having witnessed her prepare for and officiate at many weddings, I now appreciate that there's a lot that goes into doing it well and there's something to be said for having someone who has had training and experience. Not only will a professional help with smoothness of timing and logistics for the ceremony, but if he or she is good then they will talk to you and your partner beforehand and get a sense of your personalities, your unique connection and your spiritual connection, whatever form thay may take. Then they can craft the ceremony to truly honor you both and your love to make it feel like it should, a truly momentous and sacred event in your lives together.

    If you are not spiritual at all, then the second part of that might not be of much value to you, but still everyone could use some help with the logistical aspects and ceremony planning. There are affirming denominations and ministers who will be happy to officiate if you ask them. Like I said, the United Church of Christ is good if you are at all Christian, as is the Episcopal Church. If not, I'd try the Unitarian-Universalists or a Unity Church. I can personally say that I know Presbyterian and Methodist ministers who would personally be glad to do it, but they're not supposed to according to the national bodies. Some will do it but ask you not to put their name on the program or something like that.

    Of course, this is ultimatley up to you. It can be meaningful to have a friend do it too, but I just wanted to share an inside look at what a professional minister might have to offer!

    Good luck!

  • My partner and I live in Nebraska, where gay marriage is not recognized, but we are getting married 5 minutes away in Iowa, where it is. But the acutal getting married part is just going to be a courthouse thing, and we're having a ceremony/reception in Nebraska, because there are more venues, plus it's easier for our guests.

    While my father is Unitarian, I'm an atheist, and my partner is not religious, so having any sort of minister felt awkward. So we're having my partner's sister in law as our "officiant" because she has a great, outgoing personality. Her role is really just to lead the ceremony and festivities along.

    Since you're doing something similar, you can have anyone you want be your officiant. If you don't have any close friends who are comfortable with the task, you can ask a wedding planner, since they often know a lot of officiants and can recommend someone who is comfortable doing a ceremony for a gay couple. We had a few people in Nebraska recommend people, so even though it's not legal, there were officiants out there who were willing to do the ceremony. But since it's not legal, they just won't be filing any paperwork for you.

    Good luck!
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