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How to Make a Marriage License Signing Ceremony Feel Special

Published Tuesday, Dec. 7th, 2021

What’s easier than eloping? A marriage license signing ceremony, also called a 'sign & go ceremony.'



Make yours special with these 3 simple tips. 



A marriage license signing is the easiest way to get married, without the hassle or price tag of a typical wedding. In fact, these lightning-fast signature services are even easier than traditional elopements, making them a popular choice for couples and wedding officiants during the current wedding boom.


These bite-size nuptials are a breeze for couples to plan: All a couple needs to do is to choose a wedding officiant (or ask a friend to get ordained online to marry them), and bring their marriage license to the right place at the right time. No arguing with family, no difficult budgeting, no words to remember, no stress! 


They’re convenient for wedding officiants, too. Signature-only ‘ceremonies’ don’t require multiple planning meetings, and because they only take a few minutes to perform, wedding officiants can schedule several of them in a single afternoon.



Below you’ll find 3 tips to make a signing feel just as special as a traditional ceremony, whether you’re officiating one or planning your own. 



  • For a detailed guide on how to complete a marriage license for the first time, head here. 



A young couple sit side by side on a couch to sign their marriage license with the help of a wedding officiant.

Signature-only ceremonies are wonderfully stress free! 

Just don't forget to bring the marriage license.



First things first: 

What are the requirements for a marriage license signing ceremony? 


 A ‘license signing’ is a 2 or 3 minute meeting between a couple and their wedding officiant, in which:

- the couple states their desire / promise to marry

- the officiant pronounces them married 

- the marriage license is completed and signed


That’s it! These 3 ingredients (the Declaration of Intent, the Pronouncement, and the marriage license) are all that’s required to make the marriage legal. There’s no formal ceremony during a license signing, and everything else that’s usually associated with a wedding -- like fancy attire, unity rituals, readings, and guests -- is optional during an afterparty or sequel wedding




Make your license signing ceremony memorable!


1. Take photos


Take photos! Ask your wedding officiant to snap a picture as you sign the license, and then pose for one more after the paperwork’s complete. After the signing, take a few selfies during your first kiss as a married couple. 


You don’t need a professional photographer to capture the sweetness of the moment. Grab some candid shots and frame them. 


If you’re officiating, offer to take a few photos (using the couple’s phone or camera) as they put pen to paper. 




   A young couple pose for a wedding selfie outdoors, wearing wedding clothes

Don't forget to document your signing ceremony with a few fun photos.

Wedding selfies are adorable! 



2. Keep it stylish


Couples, just because you don’t have an audience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate in style. Wear something that makes you feel fantastic. That might be a cute cocktail dress, a three-piece suit, or a pair of matching tracksuits… whatever works for you! 


Officiants, don’t forget how special this day is for your couple when choosing what to wear. Even if you’re meeting them at a local Starbucks on your way to run some errands, your clothing shows the couple that you honor your role as their officiant. We recommend dressing as you would for a traditional ceremony, using tips from our popular fashion guide for wedding officiants. 



3. Include a marriage certificate


While most signing services are ‘all business,’ in order to keep things simple and affordable for a couple, a decorative marriage certificate will add an unexpected personal touch to the day.


These keepsakes don’t cost much, can be included in an officiant’s signing package, and come in beautiful designs to be framed and displayed. Simple and sweet, they give couples a way to remember the exact moment they said ‘I do’ for many years to come. 



Marriage Certificate images

Marriage certificates come in many different styles,

including these examples from the AMM online store.


You might also like: 








Asked to officiate?  


You only get one shot to deliver a perfect wedding ceremony.



There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’--  Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony. 








Give yourself the tools and training you deserve to succeed as a wedding officiant, so that you can stand beside the lucky couple with complete confidence on their big day. 







Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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