Many people these days are opting for civil weddings. Due to the increasing number of interfaith marriages, as well as marriages involving people who are not particularly religious, the demand for civil weddings has increased. Another reason that civil weddings are desirable is that they are quite flexible. Religious elements and other traditions can still be included if the couple wishes to add them, but there are no set requirements. And it is possible to have a wedding completely devoid of religious language and other trappings if one wishes.
Civil weddings can be performed anywhere as long as an official with the proper credentials performs the ceremony. This can be at a registrar’s or lawyer’s office, in a judge’s chambers, or anywhere else that you decide upon. Many people have civil weddings in reception halls or parks for a nice setting, but without the requirements that holding a wedding in a place of worship often imposes.
Each state has different laws governing marriage, so it is important to find out the laws of the state in which you will marry ahead of time so that everything is in place on your wedding day. You can visit the City Hall of the town you will marry in to get most of the information you need, as well as a list of credentialed officiators. For the most part, here are some standard things that you will need in most states to get the marriage license:
Ã¢Â?Â¢Picture ID (usually a birth certificate and/or passport, some states require two forms of ID)
Ã¢Â?Â¢Parental permission if you are under 18 (although some states allow marriage without permission at younger ages)
Ã¢Â?Â¢A document (such as a utility bill) that provides your current address
Ã¢Â?Â¢Copies of marriage certificates from previous marriages, and the copies of divorce certificates to prove that you are no longer married
Ã¢Â?Â¢If you have legally changed your name, you need to provide a name change deed
While some states have done away with the requirement for blood tests, some states still require them. Make sure you understand well ahead of time so that you can arrange for the proper tests and to have the results back before you need to get your license. Realize that there will be fees for just about every step in the process. You will have to buy the license, pay the officiator, and sometimes pay for facilities (depending upon where you have the marriage performed).
Civil ceremonies offer the flexibility many church ceremonies do not. You can create a ceremony that fits your needs, say your own specific vows without having to say ritual vows first, or listen to speeches that many clergy give before religious ceremonies. The officiant in a civil ceremony says only what is required by law and what you ask him or her to say. No matter how you marry, the important thing to remember is that it is your day, and you should do whatever you as a couple feel most comfortable with.