There is no getting around the law if you want to marry in a state that requires witnesses to be present at the wedding ceremony. Therefore, opt to get married in one of the many states that no longer has that requirement.
- Skill level:
Apply for a marriage license in a state such as Florida or Texas that does not require witnesses at the ceremony. Remember that some states require that a witness be present at the application process, even if they do not need to be at the marriage ceremony. If this condition is imposed in your state, take a witness over the age of 18 with you to the courthouse. Additionally, do not forget your government-issued identification and enough cash to cover the application fee.
Book a wedding venue in accordance with the type of wedding you intend to have, whether that is in a secular or religious setting.
Hire an officiant. If you want to get married in a chapel or your local courthouse, an officiant will be provided for you, but other venues will ask you to take on the responsibility. If you have troubles finding an officiant, contact your County Recorder for a list of justices of the peace in your area.
Meet with your chosen officiant to go over your wedding plans. If you feel uneasy, hold a wedding rehearsal the day before your wedding.
Hold your wedding ceremony and sign your marriage license. Your officiant will also sign your license and then return it to the clerk of the circuit court within a prescribed number of days in order to ratify your marriage.
Tips and warnings
- Many states have eschewed the need for witnesses at marriage ceremonies, including Arkansas, California (confidential marriages only), Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Vermont.
- All information is current as of May, 2011. However, state laws change, so ensure that your chosen location holds the same requirements before you go to marry.
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