Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Is a licensed officiant necessary for ceremony if already had a court ceremony?

Hello all,

This may be an odd question.... but to back up first, my fiance and I are getting a civil ceremony this friday (for financial and insurance reasons).  Our official wedding ceremony/reception will be in August 2011.  So the question is, do we need an actual licensed officiant to perform the ceremony even though we're already going to be legally married by then?

I was looking into just getting a judge to perform the ceremony anyway (we're not religious).  Would it be odd to have a friend (who's not licensed) perform it?  You pretty much just need a licensed person to sign the marriage license itself, right?  Just wondering if anyone else went through this....  Thanks.

Re: Is a licensed officiant necessary for ceremony if already had a court ceremony?

  • you don't need an officient if you are tecnically already married because you will have already signed all the paper work, and done everything a licensed officiant needs to do

  • You'll already be married and the marriage license will already be signed so no you don't need a licensed officiant. In no way will the second "ceremony" change anything about your marriage. You could not have the second ceremony at all and still be just as married. Another ceremony will be purely for aesthetics so anyone can do it.
  • What happens on Friday is your wedding.  So if you do another ceremony for show later, there will be no license or anything to sign.  So no, the person "performing" the later ceremony would not need to be officially licensed in any way.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • Your official wedding *IS* Friday.

    What you do in August 2011 will not be your wedding.  It can be a blessing, a vow renewal, a committment ceremony, but it won't be your wedding. 

    And I know it goes without saying but PLEASE be honest with everyone you involve and let them know that you will be married when you have the large event in August.  Otherwise, you would be lying to your guests.
  • Thanks everyone for your responses!

     I thought it would be fun to have a friend perform the ceremony for us, since we don't need an officiant.  As for letting guests know... I think the important thing is that they all know the Aug. 2011 ceremony is what my fiance and I will consider to be our official wedding (I don't plan on changing my name until after that ceremony too).  Our close friends and family know of this upcoming friday's ceremony (my mom's the one that suggested it!) and they're all totally supportive.  There's a lot of things in the mix here for why we're doing it now, and even if word got out later to our other guests, I know that they won't get offended.  I'd just find it odd to put it on the invitation themselves, something to the effect of "hey we're already married, but we're still doing the wedding ceremony!"  If we could afford to have everyone here and now, that would be great, but it's a bit difficult (since we're in San Diego, and over 70% of our friends and family live in Hawai'i).

    I have other friends who also got married months before their celebratory wedding, and the majority of their guests didn't know about that detail.  What was important to them was considering the later celebration as their official wedding.  In the end, it's more important as to what the bride and groom consider to be their wedding day... because its their marriage!  Just my two cents...  Everyone has their own interpretation and I think its cool to hear from all of you.  Thanks.
    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
  • Actually, it's important to be honest with your guests otherwise you'd be lying to them.

    Consider your anniversary date to be whatever date you'd like - just don't tell some people and not all guests what you're doing.
  • Can you be certain that no one would be offended?  If I went to someone's wedding, especially if I'd spent money on travel, attire, time off work, a gift, etc, and then found out at the party or after the fact that they were actually already married and had just pretended that they weren't, I'd be really hurt and probably wouldn't want to associate with the couple anymore.  I think it's a massive gamble, and the odds aren't in your favor.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • I guess I'm pretty grateful for knowing my family and friends pretty well then.  Like I said before, over 70% of the guests are in Hawai'i (which is where we're getting married) and it's during Sunday morning/afternoon (from 9:30am - 2:30pm). 

    For out of state friends and family, they're excited about having a trip to Hawai'i.  One of them (who knows of our friday wedding) was wondering why we weren't getting married in the court sooner!  We're going to try host multiple events for them: my dad's going to give a circle island tour, fiance and I will rent out a huge booth for a karaoke pre-wedding party for all our friends.  If people ask about gifts, I'm really going to stress that they don't need to get anything since them attending is in itself a real gift (and I TRULY TRULY mean that).  I know some older family friends will want to give cash anyway (Japanese tradition).  I'm not doing a later wedding just to be gift grabby, I really want to have a wedding/reception where my fiance and I can host and celebrate our love with everyone.  We've been together for over 9 years... so seriously, it wasn't a surprise to anyone when we told them, hey we're engaged! 
    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
  • Runour, those all sound great.

    But the bottom line is that what you're doing in Hawaii will be something you two do as a married couple.  The important thing is that you're honest with your guests about it.

    You may know your friends and family pretty well.  But those who you're not telling about Friday will think that they're witnessing your actual wedding.  And finding out AT the vow renewal isn't a great time to find out that your friends and family don't know YOU all that well.  It isn't about presents - just be honest with them.
  • I'm not at all comfortable with someone having their wedding, pretending for 10 months that they're NOT married, and then having a fake ceremony and lying to guests about what they're really seeing.  Sorry.

    You are making the choice to get married on Friday.  You're doing it because you believe that it's in your best interest financially, and that's just fine.  I admire you for making a prudent choice,

    But I don't admire that you're not accepting the consequence of your decision to get married on Friday.  The consequence is that you don't get the PPD wedding.

    Get married Friday.  And in August, have a celebration of your wedding.  Personally, I would think that wearing the dress, veil, and having a ceremony is way over the top, but at least tell your guests that you're having a do-over.

    To answer your question though:  you don't need any officiant.  Because you're already married.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • You could seriously drag a homeless person off of the street the morning of your pretend wedding next August to do the ceremony and have him do nothing but slur drunkenly about his days as a circus clown and you will be no less married than you will be after the real ceremony this Friday.

    If you fire a WP member, you're against America.
    image

    "Meg cracks me up on the regular. Now she gets to do it in two different forums. Yay!!" ~mkrupar
  • I love your idea of having a ceremony for the friends and family! I truely dont think it matters that you already had the legal ceremony- your friends and family are there to watch your exchange your vows and be there in the true presence of love, and support you guys!!!
    I completly support your idea and think it would be fabulous to have a friend do the ceremony!
    My whole life, i wanted my big brother to marry me (allthough he LEGALLY cant) but when it came down to it, the legal stuff didnt matter, and when we get home, we'll be going ot the court house to make it legal in the eyes of the law.
    I wrote my own ceremony reading for thim to read and it's just the way I wanted it to sound! its perfect! And allthough when the day comes.. we wont be legally married, that is how we will see it in our hearts- with all of our friends and family there to share the special moment with us!
    Best of luck to you!!
    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
  • as a side note: I think the purpose of this sight is to support and help each other in terms of planning a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Lets keep it postive peeps- I dont think she needs your opinion how important her day should be.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_licensed-officiant-necessary-ceremony-already-court-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:08d428d2-f7b6-447c-8d35-75cca0152e78Post:cc54f5f3-d3ab-4794-be09-8edfe73ab462">Re: Is a licensed officiant necessary for ceremony if already had a court ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]as a side note: I think the purpose of this sight is to support and help each other in terms of planning a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Lets keep it postive peeps- I dont think she needs your opinion how important her day should be.
    Posted by dacmahsmiles[/QUOTE]

    dacmah:  when someone posts a question on an open public forum, they get responses that people DO think might help.  I was positive:  I positively think that OPs idea is not a good one.

    dacmah: if you want merely validation of your ideas, may I suggest a local area board or weddingwire?  They tend to spout puppies, unicorns, and rainbows.

    On the other hand, this board validates ideas that are worth validating, and we offer constructive criticism, and sometimes "tough love" when we think it's warranted.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • Thanks for the responses everyone.  I'm not going to intentionally hide that we did the civil ceremony.  If the word gets out, it'll be out (our immediate family and several friends know anyway).  But I'm not going to get caught up in the semantics of what defines a wedding ceremony and blatantly put on the invitations that this is not a real ceremony, because to my fiance and I... it is.  What's important is that we are declaring our love in front of all of our friends and family.  I really was intending on waiting to do the whole thing next year (heck, we waited over 9 years, it wouldn't have hurt to wait a bit longer).  However, because of the situation we are in currently, this is the choice that we have decided to make.  I, alone, am saving up the money for the whole ceremony/reception and I don't have enough to throw a celebration right now.

    Thanks.
    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
  • I personally would not be offended if I went to a wedding as a guest (even if I had to travel) and found out either that day or later that they were already married in a civil ceremony.  I understand that some people may feel deceived but I personally would be fine with it.  My reasoning is this.  The day that they have the big ceremony is the day they chose to celebrate their love and commintment to one another.  Whether they are already married or not, that is what thay day is about.  They would still be celebrating that and I would still feel honored to be a part of it.

    I don't think that OP is intentionally trying to hide the fact that she will already be married.  However she is also not planning on calling or emailing every single person on her guest list to inform them of the situation.  Quite honestly, I don't blame her.  The people who matter most (immediate friends and family) will know. 

    Would it be a good idea to go have a civil ceremony and intentionally keep it a secret? Of course not.  But she isn't doing that. She is informing the people closest to her and that is good enough.  If you don't agree then that is your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it.  However, she didn't actually ask for opinions on the matter.  She just asked if she needed a licensed officiant (which she does not).  If you would like to offer your opinion it is welcome (we are on a public forum after all) but please dont get offended if the OP doesn't agree with it. 

    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
  • I'll answer the question first: No, you do not have to have any type of officiant if you don't want one. If you do want one, you could ask anyone you want.

    What if you included on your invitations that this was just a celebration of your Oct. 2010 marriage. You can still go through the vows and everything but that way everyone knows you were already married. Just have it go through word of mouth that it was a court house wedding. 
  • This is YOUR decision, and is based upone YOUR needs, YOUR agreement between your groom/husband and yourself, and YOUR beliefs, not to mention YOUR budget.  I married my husband in June of this year, and while most people know, some do not.  The BIG ceremony will be next year, in June, for our anniversary and will involve a ceremony, reception, photos, food, cake, music -the whole bit!   I am not making any attempts to alert people to the fact that we got married this year, either they know or they don't - we have elected to not register and to advise guests to make donations to a breast cancer charity and a local children's organization instead.  The wedding is not about lying or telling the truth to the guests - i'm sure that many brides who wear white don't go around telling guests if they are not virgins on the day they will wed, and I know many couples who have had their weddings paid for by donation and sponsorship but didn't tell their guests every intimate detail.  The point of the ceremony is to honor love and to share your special moment with friends and family.

    To answer your original question, as others already have, you don't need an actual officiant.  An eloquent friend, family member or religious advisor can do the job for your wedding.  Hope you enjoy your day - we are very excited about our plans!
    knottie131602dfc6cdb52c
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