Etiquette

Signing marriage certificate at rehearsal?

So I know you all have strong feelings about being legally wed before the marriage ceremony (and I do too, generally). My priest told me that she prefers that we sign the marriage certificate at the rehearsal (the night before) so that it doesn't get "forgotten in the excitement" of the wedding day. Is this something people do? I know I won't consider us to be married at that point, but would we be legally married? Or are you not married legally until it is "filed" or something? 

Re: Signing marriage certificate at rehearsal?

  • hyechica81hyechica81 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2014
    in my state we had to sign before hand at the town clerks office me and hubby then we had 65 days from pick up to get married we took licences to priest he filled out the rest on the day off and sent it off to town hall 
  • It sounds like she just wants your signatures on it, as you'll both be very preoccupied on the day of, but she won't sign it until after the ceremony. It's not valid until she signs it.

     







    holyguacamole79OliveOilsMom
  • What Jels said.

    I know in our county, we signed the application and were issued the license, which only our priest signed and returned to the registrar after the wedding.  It's not official until the officiant signs it.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    No, just by you and your FI signing it before hand will not make you legally married.  What will make you legally married is when your officiant signs it and returns it to the registrar and it is filed.

  • misshart00misshart00 Oklahoma member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    What everyone else said, but I really like having the photos of us all done up while signing the license.
  • No, that's perfectly fine and won't mean you're married. In our state, we had to sign it when we applied for it - the officiant signed it following the ceremony and that was what made it legal. We have no pictures of us signing it or anything, as it had to be done several days in advance.
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In the UK, the "signing of the registry (marriage certificate)" is part of the ceremony. After the vows and before the "I know pronounce you H and W".  It is a beautiful photo opportunity to have you signing it in your wedding dresses.

    It takes 2 minutes and is usually done on a table next to the altar. The organist usually plays some music during this time. 

    Any chance your priest would be willing to incorporate this?
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Ohio, we sign at the county office up to 30 days in advance of the wedding, then the marriage is valid after the officiant states "by the power vested in me by the state of Ohio, I now pronounce you husband and wife" and signed the certificate. The paper "certificate" we can sign on the wedding day is purely ornamental and is signed by the witnesses, not the B&G. The B&G only sign if there is a church registry or document that requires signing.

    So I don't think it's a issue if you sign it before hand. She must have had someone forget and not be able to file until she could track them down.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Like a PP said, in our state the bride and groom have to sign the marriage license at the courthouse, before the wedding. Then we had to bring the certificate to the wedding, and our officiant and our witnesses signed it after the ceremony was over. You're not married until everyone (b&g, officiant, witness) signs. The officiant and witnesses can't sign until after the ceremony (or else they're perjuring themselves).
    luckysnorkel
  • Thanks for the replies, everyone! I was uncomfortable with the idea but I get it now.
  • nhs226 said:
    So I know you all have strong feelings about being legally wed before the marriage ceremony (and I do too, generally). My priest told me that she prefers that we sign the marriage certificate at the rehearsal (the night before) so that it doesn't get "forgotten in the excitement" of the wedding day. Is this something people do? I know I won't consider us to be married at that point, but would we be legally married? Or are you not married legally until it is "filed" or something? 
    Seriously?  It's her JOB to make sure the legal requirements are met.  Her JOB, her ONLY job, is to make sure that the requirements are met.  I'd be looking for another officiant if my officiant had so little confidence in her abilities to make sure the requirements to be legally wed are met.


    That being said, depending on the state, you actually sign beforehand. In Alaska, where I got married, you sign the license when you apply for it. That doesn't make you married. There has to be a ceremony by an officiant with witnesses and then the witnesses and the officiant have to sign the license and then it has to be filed.  I believe many states are this way where you sign beforehand.

    theartistformerlyknownas

  • nhs226 said:
    So I know you all have strong feelings about being legally wed before the marriage ceremony (and I do too, generally). My priest told me that she prefers that we sign the marriage certificate at the rehearsal (the night before) so that it doesn't get "forgotten in the excitement" of the wedding day. Is this something people do? I know I won't consider us to be married at that point, but would we be legally married? Or are you not married legally until it is "filed" or something? 
    Seriously?  It's her JOB to make sure the legal requirements are met.  Her JOB, her ONLY job, is to make sure that the requirements are met.  I'd be looking for another officiant if my officiant had so little confidence in her abilities to make sure the requirements to be legally wed are met.


    That being said, depending on the state, you actually sign beforehand. In Alaska, where I got married, you sign the license when you apply for it. That doesn't make you married. There has to be a ceremony by an officiant with witnesses and then the witnesses and the officiant have to sign the license and then it has to be filed.  I believe many states are this way where you sign beforehand.

    Oh lord, this wouldn't (and didn't, our officiant did the same thing) bother me at all.  I have NO DOUBT that if we hadn't signed the paperwork at the RD, she would have made sure it was taken care of at the wedding.  It's not a matter of the officiant forgetting his or her duties and having a huge "OOPS!" moment when s/he gets home; I view it more of a nice consideration so that there's one less thing to worry about one such a big, exciting, fun, busy day that is over before you can blink.


    I think it's crazy to suggest dismissing an officiant for trying to be helpful in that way.

    I was being a little bit facetious/sarcastic with that.  Still, I can't imagine an officiant letting someone forget "in the excitement."  It literally takes a minute or two.  How hard is it for the officiant to pull the bride and groom aside for a minute to sign it? Our officiant told us at the rehearsal, "We don't want to forget about signing it, so as soon as you walk out the door, we're going to pause at xyz table and do it."

  • nhs226 said:
    So I know you all have strong feelings about being legally wed before the marriage ceremony (and I do too, generally). My priest told me that she prefers that we sign the marriage certificate at the rehearsal (the night before) so that it doesn't get "forgotten in the excitement" of the wedding day. Is this something people do? I know I won't consider us to be married at that point, but would we be legally married? Or are you not married legally until it is "filed" or something? 
    Seriously?  It's her JOB to make sure the legal requirements are met.  Her JOB, her ONLY job, is to make sure that the requirements are met.  I'd be looking for another officiant if my officiant had so little confidence in her abilities to make sure the requirements to be legally wed are met.


    That being said, depending on the state, you actually sign beforehand. In Alaska, where I got married, you sign the license when you apply for it. That doesn't make you married. There has to be a ceremony by an officiant with witnesses and then the witnesses and the officiant have to sign the license and then it has to be filed.  I believe many states are this way where you sign beforehand.
    Lol, wow. She is the pastor of the church we belong to. She is not some "vendor" with a "job" to do. Also, who knows what her reasoning is--it's possible some couple was immediately whisked away by a photographer after a ceremony. She can't control everything that happens at the ceremony.  
  • It is possible that the certificate doesn't get signed right away.  I think it happened to one of the ladies on these boards.  I know it happened to my sister.  They had to sign it when they got back from their HM.
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Every state has different requirement, some the B&G sign at the ceremony, others you sign when you get your license. Some states require witnesses, others don't.

     My husband and I signed the application to get the marriage license but only our officiant signed the actual marriage license. 

    What your priest is asking is perfectly acceptable.
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  • OP, at this point this decision comes down to a photo op. If in your jurisdiction the officiant's signature being added to the license subsequent to the B&G's being added is what makes the marriage legal all you need to decide is if adding your John Hancock is something you'd like pictures of in your wedding finery and/or in your venue. 

    If it is, decline the offer to do it ahead of time and make sure you make a point of discussing this with both your officiant and your photographer. If everyone is onboard you all will find a way to make a priority of it.

    If you don't care much about having the moment recorded for posterity in your wedding album, perhaps sign it at the RD so you can walk back up the aisle together and get on with whatever comes next. 

    Lowell14
  • I do think it's pretty silly to think that one of the main parts of a wedding could just get forgotten. It shouldn't be that difficult for you all to remember to sign your license, especially if your photographer will be helping guide the timeline and they're accustomed to photographing the couple signing the license. We signed ours just after the receiving line and before group pictures.

    But at the end of the day, it's your call. I loved having that moment with H, MOH and BM, signing the license. I love the pictures from it, including me trying really hard not to screw my new name up while H looks on. :-p

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  • We signed the certificate as part of our ceremony- nothing to forget in the excitement of it all. 
  • My priest did the same thing. It's just a precaution. No we did not bat an eye over it. Calm your balls everyone.
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I do think it's pretty silly to think that one of the main parts of a wedding could just get forgotten. It shouldn't be that difficult for you all to remember to sign your license, especially if your photographer will be helping guide the timeline and they're accustomed to photographing the couple signing the license. We signed ours just after the receiving line and before group pictures. But at the end of the day, it's your call. I loved having that moment with H, MOH and BM, signing the license. I love the pictures from it, including me trying really hard not to screw my new name up while H looks on. :-p
    But it's not the main part of a wedding in many states. 
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  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2014
    nhs226 said:
    nhs226 said:
    So I know you all have strong feelings about being legally wed before the marriage ceremony (and I do too, generally). My priest told me that she prefers that we sign the marriage certificate at the rehearsal (the night before) so that it doesn't get "forgotten in the excitement" of the wedding day. Is this something people do? I know I won't consider us to be married at that point, but would we be legally married? Or are you not married legally until it is "filed" or something? 
    Seriously?  It's her JOB to make sure the legal requirements are met.  Her JOB, her ONLY job, is to make sure that the requirements are met.  I'd be looking for another officiant if my officiant had so little confidence in her abilities to make sure the requirements to be legally wed are met.


    That being said, depending on the state, you actually sign beforehand. In Alaska, where I got married, you sign the license when you apply for it. That doesn't make you married. There has to be a ceremony by an officiant with witnesses and then the witnesses and the officiant have to sign the license and then it has to be filed.  I believe many states are this way where you sign beforehand.
    Lol, wow. She is the pastor of the church we belong to. She is not some "vendor" with a "job" to do. Also, who knows what her reasoning is--it's possible some couple was immediately whisked away by a photographer after a ceremony. She can't control everything that happens at the ceremony.  
    I'm sorry, that did not come across as sarcastic as I meant it too.  Our pastor officiated our wedding.  He was not a "vendor" per se.  However, once you ask someone to officiate, I do believe it is their "job" to make sure you the technical requirements are met - making sure they say the right things/ask the right questions during the ceremony, etc.

    No, she can't control everything. However, as I said above, during the rehearsal, our pastor specifically told us, "We don't want to forget this.  As soon as you come out, we'll meet at this table here and we'll sign the papers."  And that's what we did. I think he may have even reminded us about half an hour before the ceremony started as well, if I recall correctly. I would think your priest would do the necessary things to make sure those papers get signed after the ceremony.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    It is possible that the certificate doesn't get signed right away.  I think it happened to one of the ladies on these boards.  I know it happened to my sister.  They had to sign it when they got back from their HM.
    This was me.  H and I didn't have to sign it but our officiant (who was our friend) did.  I completely forgot the license the day of the wedding and really didn't give it two thoughts (neither did H or our friend) that day or while we were on our HM.  When we got back I saw it sitting on my kitchen island and was like 'oh crap!'  Our friend stopped over, signed it really quickly, and then I attached a post it note to it to let the clerk know about the oops mistake (since it needed to be returned within 3-5 days after the wedding was held.  To my knowledge us being late turning it in wasn't an issue.  Unless H and I are not really married and were never informed that the copy of our marriage license wasn't accepted.

  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz mod
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    We signed it at the rehearsal dinner, the officiant as well.  We just dated it for the next day, which was our wedding day.  So we still weren't technically married until our official wedding day.
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