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Your Wedding Ceremony, Your Way... Legally!

 Photo by Clane Gessel. 

Photo by Clane Gessel. 

We’re sure you’ve heard from friends and family that marriage is a blessing but can also be a challenge sometimes (just like anything that is worth doing in life!). But has anyone told you that just making your way down the aisle might be a difficult journey? Having your wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania has some nuances in regards to legality. While you can definitely create the ceremony of your dreams, having an expert on your side can definitely help!

So... you're getting married in the Commonwealth. Here is what you need to know:

In order for your marriage to be recognized in Pennsylvania, ensure you hire the proper person (such as an officiant) or make sure you file the proper paperwork.

Who can perform your wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania?

 Caitlin and Bryan used one of our favorite officiants – Reverend Reenie Panzini – to marry them! Photo by Sarah Brookhart. 

Caitlin and Bryan used one of our favorite officiants – Reverend Reenie Panzini – to marry them! Photo by Sarah Brookhart. 

  1. A justice, judge or district justice of the Commonwealth
  2. A former or retired justice, judge or district judge of the Commonwealth who is serving as senior judge or senior district justice as prescribed by the law
  3. An active mayor or former mayor
  4. Traditional clergyman or woman

Please note that in Pennsylvania you cannot have someone ordained online to marry just you. Pennsylvania requires officiants to have a congregation they minister to. If you want a friend or family member to marry you then read on...

The Big Question: We really would like our friend/relative to marry us. Do they need to be ordained?

Answer: NO!

But the reason why might not be what you think.

Pennsylvania is home to a large Quaker population, and one of the Quaker traditions is the self-uniting marriage. You don’t have to be a member of a Quaker congregation in order to apply for a self-uniting marriage license.

 Erika and Matt decided to do a self uniting marriage ceremony. Here they are signing their marriage license with their two witnesses. Photo by A Reflection by Sherry

Erika and Matt decided to do a self uniting marriage ceremony. Here they are signing their marriage license with their two witnesses. Photo by A Reflection by Sherry

With a self-uniting marriage, you can have anyone you’d like perform the ceremony as long as you sign your marriage license in front of two witnesses. With the self-uniting marriage, anyone is able to perform the ceremony, so no ordination is needed. Usually, all you have to do is ask for a self-uniting license when you apply for your marriage license; the fee usually is the same as a regular marriage license.

We work with quite a few couples who opt for the self-uniting marriage each year. It allows the ceremony to be even more personal by allowing them to perform the ceremony themselves or to have a close friend or relative act as the officiant.

Want more info on the wonders of the self-uniting marriage? Check out this great read that we were quoted in! They even interviewed one of our couples that opted for the self-uniting marriage! Or contact us and we will walk you through it.

The StylishO team has worked with numerous couples to coordinate their dream wedding ceremony. Whether you’d like a self-uniting marriage or if you’d prefer a seasoned officiant, we can help you find the right fit for your ceremony!

WeddingsMelissa Martin