Have a friend officiate?

Hi ladies! I'm new to this whole board thing and was pretty excited to see a board just for sharing things in Central Pennsylvania. My fiance and I are getting married in October this year in Cumberland County and would like to have a good friend be our officiant. Do any of you have any clue whether or not this is legal in Pa? I've called the County Clerks' office and they're pretty cryptic about whether or not it's allowed. If any of you have some insight about this, it would be much appreciated! Thanks a bunch!

Re: Have a friend officiate?

  • edited December 2011
    i just did this this past september. they will tell you that if your friend is ordained online, it is not legal in the state of pennsylvania. only legally recognized ordainments with active congregations are considered to be pastors, preachers, ministers, etc.

    however, there is a way around it. when you go to apply (you can apply in any county you want), you will need to ask for a self-unitying license. instead of having an ordained officiant sign your license... you and your FI will sign it, as well as two witnesses. its claiming that you are "marrying yourselves" in front of two witnesses. you can then have whoever you want run your ceremony.

    for us, my cousin performed the ceremony which we wrote then we had him and my H's godmother sign the marriage license.

    if you have any other questions you can PM me or email me at steeser03 at yahoo dot com
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  • tenofcups4metenofcups4me member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In 2002, when my ex- and I got married, it was legal and accepted in PA. But there have since been challenges to it and it's really unclear what the status is.

    I think steeser's idea is a great one and a good way to get around any potential issues. FWIW, DH and I got married with a self-uniting license with no problem. We didn't have anyone officiate, but even if we had, I think we would have used the self-uniting license anyway. This way you can have whoever you want "perform" the ceremony, but you and your FH sign the license yourselves (along with some witnesses).
  • caracbearacaracbeara member
    edited December 2011
    We're doing a self-uniting marriage! Some counties are pushy about whether or not you are a Quaker when you ask for the license since it's technically a Quaker marriage. Do a google search on other people's experiences obtaining the license. In Philadelphia county its as easy as asking for it. 
  • edited December 2011

    Thanks for your responses... I really appreciate it! I (obviously) had no idea that this self-uniting license existed. I am definitely going to look into that as our way to go. It's comforting to know that others have looked into and done this same thing and have had succes! Thanks again! :) 

  • edited December 2011
    I wasn't familiar with the self-uniting license! Pretty cool! I'm not fond of the new Pastor at our church, which is making it a challenge, because as much as I'd love to get married in my church, I don't want him officiating. We were thinking of having a friend do this at the ceremony, but before knowing about the self uniting license, we had figured our way to get around it would be have the JOP marry us a few days prior, so we are legally married and then just let the friend to the ceremony.
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