Published: Monday, May. 23rd, 2022

How to Get Married Without a Wedding Ceremony


You don't have to have a traditional wedding ceremony to get married! 



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AMM Audio Articles · How to Get Married Without a Wedding Ceremony



Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE weddings. (This is the American Weddings blog, after all.) 


But sometimes couples want to get married without a wedding ceremony!


Sometimes a couple wants to get married in secret or they feel spontaneous and want to elope. Sometimes they’re about to be deployed, can’t afford a ceremony, or they just don’t want one. 


Related: Planning a Secret Wedding (Is Easier Than You Think)


Whatever the reason, many couples find themselves asking the same question on the way to get their marriage license… 


“Can we get married without a wedding ceremony?”


The answer is… Yes! Sort of. But there are still some legal requirements.



Let’s explain: 


You definitely don’t have to have a traditional ceremony to get married, or even a non-traditional one! However...


However, you will need to:


  • apply for a marriage license 


  • exchange a declaration of intent to marry in front of an authorized officiant and any required witnesses


  • have the officiant sign your license 


  • return the completed license to the appropriate office



Many wedding officiants call this type of marriage service a 'just make it legal' ceremony, a 'sign & go' ceremony, or 'signing only' ceremony.  


Learn about the Sign & Go Marriage Ceremony 


The only exceptions to these requirements are if you marry in a state that allows couples to perform their own ceremonies (called self solemnizing), or if you marry in Alabama (where you’ll need to find a notary to complete your Marriage Certificate). 





Got it? Great! 


As long as you meet the legal requirements for marriage, how you celebrate getting married and the wording you choose is up to you! 


That means you can skip a traditional ceremony and choose a quick sign-and-go ceremony instead. Just make sure you have a valid and completed marriage license!


Related: Are there legal wording requirements for a wedding ceremony? 




For more inspiration, read


 Our Favorite Ways to Get Married Without a Wedding Ceremony


A young couple embrace outdoors during a casual marriage ceremony


5 ways to get married without a wedding ceremony: Whether you want to elope alone, invite a few guests, or skip straight to signing the marriage license, these ideas offer creative alternatives that feel just right!





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