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Published: Thursday, Feb. 4th, 2021

Let’s Talk Self-Solemnizing Weddings!

Illustrations by Jessica Levey

A self solemnizing ceremony is one in which the couple are married without a third party officiant. This means that one of the partners must meet the legal requirements in their state to perform marriage, such as being an ordained minister through AMM. 

 

There are many reasons couples might be drawn to a self-uniting ceremony. A truly private elopement, special rituals, full ceremony control, romance and spontaneity… Any of these are good reasons to consider self-uniting. 

 

But lovebirds should know that as of this writing, only a few states recognize these ceremonies. Eight, in fact. And in most of these eight states, couples will need witnesses present at their ceremony to sign the license, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to elope as a solitary duo. 

 

image of "I do" speech bubble and "I do too" speech bubble to symbolize self-uniting wedding ceremony
 

At present, these states allow self-uniting ceremonies: 

 

The District of Columbia
Colorado
Illinois
Kansas
Maine
Nevada
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin

 

If you're interested in performing a self-solemnizing ceremony, we recommend reading and understanding your state’s policies very carefully.

 

Start with our state directory, and then contact someone in your state directly for the most up to date information. You'll also need to call or visit the local county clerk or marriage bureau where you plan to apply for a marriage license to verify your information. (Our list will get you started, but it’s not legal advice!)

 

 

When speaking to your local marriage authorities, ask them,
I am a Minister; can I perform my own marriage?”

 

 

We’ve talked about this before! Read: Can I Get A Witness? Small Ceremonies, Witness Requirements, and Self-Solemnizing Marriages Revisited for more information on adapting self-solemnizing ceremonies to the times, including witness requirements, microweddings, and Zoom or other virtual wedding options.

 

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