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Asked to Officiate a Secret Wedding? Keep These 3 Things in Mind…

Published Monday, Apr. 3rd, 2023

Here's what you need to know to officiate a secret wedding ceremony...


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AMM Audio Articles · Asked to Officiate a Secret Wedding? Keep These 3 Things in Mind…




Although weddings are usually public events, some couples want to keep their commitment to each other private. 


Couples choose to marry in secret for many different reasons. Some couples, for example, want to avoid disapproving families, friends, or coworkers. Other couples want to marry privately now, but celebrate publicly later, without upsetting loved ones who weren’t invited to the formal ceremony.


If you’ve been asked to officiate a secret wedding ceremony, there’s no reason to suspect anything scandalous is going on. But there are a few important things to keep in mind…


Related: Asked to Perform a Wedding Ceremony? Here’s Why You Should Say “Yes!”



First, always verify the age and identity of each party to the marriage by asking to see a Photo ID Card or Driver’s License. Compare this information to the details on their marriage license before conducting the ceremony. This is a good practice for any wedding officiant and any ceremony, but it’s especially important when performing a secret ceremony without witnesses.


Next, suggest a private location where you can lead the couple through their ‘declaration of intent,’ pronounce them married, and sign their license without being seen or overheard. This might be the couple’s home, a quiet park or campground, or another out of the way venue.


And last, don’t take photos or share identifying details about the ceremony on social media! This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement when conducting a wedding, especially if you’re used to promoting your officiant services online to attract new couples. It’s always a good idea to ask for a couple’s permission before sharing details about their marriage with others – whether a ceremony is held in secret or not. 





Read Next: 


Are Marriage Licenses Public Records? 
(And Where Can You Marry in Secret?)

Marriage licenses are almost always made public, but there are two states where these records can be kept confidential if certain conditions are met: California and Michigan. 


Read the full article here. 


Close up photo of a bride signing the marriage license



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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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