Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
If you have reached this page, you have searched for a wedding officiant on Thumbtack, and I have responded to you. I would be very honored to perform your wedding. This page gives some important information to help you make the right choice of wedding officiant to enhance your special day. Please read it through to the end as there is sure to be something you will learn that will help you!
Please take as our gift this free PDF of wedding readings. I will talk about the wedding ceremony below – it is in the PDF on page 9.
Your Wedding Is The Most Important One I Will Ever Perform…
You have chosen to take a special step. Whether you are planning a quiet ceremony just for the two of you, or a large event with a couple of hundred people, this will be a big moment in your life – one that you will remember for ever. You should interview your officiant to ensure most importantly that you get a good feel for the person, but also to see what else they can do for you. My number is 818-334-2933. Here are some for you to things to consider:
It does not cost a lot to actually get married. Depending on your county, the license fee is around $100. You can also get married at the County Registrar’s office, on certain days, for fees ranging from $25 (Los Angeles County) to $88 (San Diego County). Alternatively, you can find a wedding officiant to perform your ceremony at your home or other location. The cost is from $100 to $500 or more, depending on the actual services you need. In any event, it’s worth paying to get a ceremony you will always remember.
If the fee I quoted you is more than you want to pay, I will usually bring it down. I provide a $25 discount for couples who allow me to use a photo of the ceremony and their first names on this website.
Your Marriage License
You must obtain a marriage license before you get married. In California, marriage licenses are valid for 90 days – you must have your ceremony performed by then. You will need to visit the County Clerk’s office together during regular business hours to get your license. Google “(your county) marriage licenses” to see where your nearest office is. If you use me as your officiant, I will make sure that you know where to go to get your license.
In California only, under certain circumstances, authorized notaries can come to wherever you are and issue your marriage license. I am authorized to issue licenses in Los Angeles County, for example. There are particular requirements for this so let me know.
Here is the Wedding License Application Form which I use. It is worth looking at even if I do not issue your license because it shows the information you need to provide. If you have been divorced within the last 90 days you must show your divorce papers to receive a marriage license.
After the officiant has performed your ceremony, he/she will sign the marriage license and then it is the officiant’s responsibility to return it to the Clerk’s office for recording within 10 days. You will receive your certified copy within 6 weeks.
When you get your license, you will be asked if you wish to have the first certified copy mailed to you for an additional fee. It is worth getting 2-3 copies at this time. You will eventually need them.
The primary service provided by your wedding officiant is to nake sure you have the cerenoy you want, including vows, readings, and other elements; perform the marriage ceremony and declare you married; return your signed marriage license back to the Clerk’s office within 10 days. Wedding officiants also do other things. They seek remuneration for their time, mostly. They will charge more if they have to drive further, stay longer, spend more time preparing, attend your rehearsal, and so forth. I tell you this as it is well worth paying a little extra to get all the services you need from your wedding officiant.
The Event Itself
If this is a ceremony in your back garden, you and your spouse to be may simply want to walk up to the officiant together. Or, you may want someone to walk the bride “down the aisle” or you may want to do the whole “wedding thing” (see “Rehearsal”). You should decide on this before the event.
It’s always nice to have music at your ceremony. I personally have some nice music, including the “Here comes the Bride” and the “Married” tune, on my cell phone, along with other pleasant tunes. If you want to do music yourself, consider buying a CD or download online: Wedding Music at Amazon.
You should also coordinate your music at the Rehearsal. Your wedding planer or officiant will do that for you.
Many couples exchange rings during the ceremony. If you are already wearing rings, you may want to take them off for the marriage itself. If you do not have rings, you may want to consider getting some low cost ones to use as they make a wonderful part of any ceremony.
There is no legal requirement for the form of the ceremony, except that the authorized officiant must hear you state that you want to be married, and must declare you married. I often perform a simple, elegant ceremony which take about 7 minutes. It can be embellished and personalized to your exact needs. You can find it in the free PDF of wedding readings I mentioned above, at page 9. There are countless readings, bible quotes, Shakespeare passages, song lyrics etc which you can add into such a ceremony so let your mind soar. If you know you want something, but can’t choose, I personally like “Sooner or Later” at page 20, and “Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love”, at page 32.
There are standard vows, such as the ones in our free PDF of wedding readings at page 7. Or, you can write your own. Your wedding officiant should be able to help you write your vows, even if you just give him/her the outline of what is to be included.
You also need to decide if you are going to memorize your vows or have the officiant read them for you to repeat. It’s as well to let the officiant have a copy anyway so you can be prompted if necessary.
You can be married in any language you like – if you can find an officiant who speaks it! In California, English and Spanish are the most popular.
If you are planning a ceremony where the wedding party walks down the aisle, that usually requires a rehearsal. There are several things to cover. Some wedding officiants (like myself) can lead the rehearsal, otherwise you will have to read up about it and do it yourself. This is the best article on wedding rehearsals that I have found. If you have someone playing music, live or recorded, they will know when to play what piece of music. On the day itself, it’s best to have someone trusted, who is not a member of the wedding party, sending people off down the aisle in the right order.
I hope you find this information helpful. I love performing weddings and have done so hundreds of times. My motto is “Your Wedding Is The Most Important One I Will Ever Perform”. I would be delighted to be there for your special day. Please call me at (818) 334-2933 or email MarryMe@Long2Wed.com.