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Advice about having a family member or friend officiate your wedding in Maryland

Hey brides,

Does anyone have experience with having a friend or family member officiate your wedding in the state of Maryland?  If so, what website did they use to become ordained?  Did you have any trouble having your marriage recognized by the state?  Are there any specific things I need to do with the state or local government to make sure it all goes through? Do you have any advice or other recommendations about the process?

My fiance and I would love to have my uncle officiate. Before we ask him, I wanted to figure out how it works in Maryland and avoid any major complications. I also want to make sure we find a legit website.

Thanks for your help!

Re: Advice about having a family member or friend officiate your wedding in Maryland

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    Oh - and one more question -- do you have websites or books that you recommend that has sample wedding ceremonies in it?  We'll certainly want to personalize the ceremony, but we don't even know where to start to figure out the order of things, what my uncle should say, etc.

    Thanks again!
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    My friend married two of his friends.  He will have to get ordained at the courthouse (we think) or take his ordainship to the courthouse.  I think your best bet would be to call the courthouse of whichever county you are planning the wedding in, then asking their policies.  According to our friend, there is like a seven day time-limit on the marriage if it isn't done right (meaning you would only be officially married for seven days). 
    Good luck!!
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    LoveKissLoveKiss member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited January 2012
    Call the county courthouse for their specific requirements. Our friend got ordained through the Church of the Latter Day Dude (online) for free, and Talbot County actually called him to confirm the name of the "church". LOL After confirmation, all was well and we are legal. :)

    Fpr writing our ceremony, I used the internet and a wedding ceremony planner book that I purchased at Barnes and Noble. Here is where I posted the full text of ours: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/our-ceremony-full-text
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    Thank you everyone!! Your advice is so helpful, and I really appreciate lovekiss and lovethebeach posting the text of their ceremonies. I'll be calling the local clerks office next week to get some more details. I'm also glad some others have had good luck with having friends and family officiate. Thanks all! :)
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_maryland_advice-having-family-member-friend-officiate-wedding-maryland?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:627Discussion:4f23519a-9e15-4411-9310-e764ac9cc604Post:ccca0e55-dd4b-4252-98fd-2fcfa22c130e">Re: Advice about having a family member or friend officiate your wedding in Maryland</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would personally go with someone who has experience. While it is a wonderful thing to have a friend or family member to perform the ceremony, it’s also the biggest day of your life.   That way your friend or family member doesn’t have to worry about nerves, making a mistake, and they can truly enjoy your wedding day.   As the officiant we use would say, your ceremony is the biggest part of your wedding. The officiant we use was Rev. Rebecca Skidmore of Heartfelt Memories.   Give her a call as she can help you either way. She can help with your vows, provide information or perform your wedding depending on what you decide. Her email is heartfeltmemories@me.com . She was by far our best vendor and truly made our day forever memorable, plus her rates are really affordable.
    Posted by MayerWedding09[/QUOTE]

    I disagree with this.  We had a close friend marry my husband and I and he did an amazing job.  We asked him about a year out so he had a long time to work on what he was going to say.  He provided a personal touch that a hired officiant would not be able to give.  He included stories of the both of us from the 10 plus years that he has known us.  Many of our guests could not stop praising him on what a wonderful job he did and that they loved how personal it was.

    I feel that if you would like a family or friend to officiate your wedding then do it.  Make sure you give them enough time to prepare and also make sure that they are comfortable with the honor you have asked them to preform...there are some people who are just not comfortable talking in front of a lot of people.

    As for our friend, he was ordained online.  We did not have any issues when it came to our wedding being recognized by the county/state, but I would check with the county that you are going to be married in to see what restrictions they may have.

    Good luck!

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    I went through a similiar process -- I am getting married in Anne Arundel County in Maryland. According to the courthouse, as long as there is some sort of certification or organization involved, it should be fine.  Apparently, until two years ago, as long as the bride and groom agree that the officiant is legitimate, it was okay!  Anyway, my friend was ordained through the Universal Life Church, which was free and only took a few minutes. 

    As for books, I bought The Wedding Ceremony Planner by Judith Johnson and A Wedding Ceremony to Remember by Marty Younkin. Those seem to go a pretty good job of outlining the ceremony and giving suggestions. 

    Hope that helps!
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    Thank you mcgriffin and maggie!  Yes, we really do believe that having a family member or friend marry is much more personal than having a stranger do it, and I think it will mean a lot more to us.

    Maggie, thanks for the book suggestions. I'll have to order them from Amazon so we can help write the ceremony.

    Anyway, thanks again everyone!

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