Can You Marry Yourself? How to Self-Solemnize in the US
Published June 28, 2021
Non-traditional weddings are adorable. It’s always interesting to witness couples charting their own course and breaking any traditions they believe are no longer beneficial. However, it is understandable that it can be challenging to gather information and educate yourself on the various ways in which you can deviate from the norm and create your own unique wedding path.
Suppose you want to do things differently but are unsure of your options other than eloping or having a traditional wedding. In that case, this is the right article for you because we will answer your question, “can you marry yourself?” right about now.
What Is Self-Solemnizing?
Self-solemnizing is the act of two people agreeing to become legally married without the assistance or supervision of a third-party officiant, celebrant, or judge.
In effect, it eliminates the hassle of hiring an officiant on the day of your elopement to perform your marriage ceremony. While we believe the government’s opinion on the legality of your marriage is largely irrelevant in comparison to your own commitment, let’s admit there are numerous reasons to ensure your state and country legally recognize your wedding ceremony. Immigration, health care, children, and taxes, among other factors, may influence your desire not only to marry but to be legally recognized as a married couple. Whatever your motivation, if legality is a concern for you, you must ensure that everything is done correctly.
Self-solemnizing marriages performed in states that permit them are legally recognized in other US states. The United States of America as a country recognizes marriages between states, despite the fact that each state has its own set of laws. Your US marriage license is frequently recognized by other countries as well, which is an issue that may arise if you travel. However, let us emphasize that not all other countries are amenable to marriages legal in the United States.
In some parts of the world, for instance, same-sex marriages are not recognized. This discrimination serves as another reason to emphasize that you, and not a piece of paper, define your relationship status. Until all relationships between consenting adults are recognized as valid – regardless of sex, gender, race, or any other factor – legal marriage will always have unequal effects. While we cannot change the world on our own, we will do everything possible to ensure that our elopement experience is everything we want it to be – with the type of ceremony that is perfect for us.
Things to Know About Eloping and Self-Solemnization
Self-uniting weddings make a lot of sense for couples who are eloping outdoors. If you self-solemnize, you will not be required to find an officiant who is willing and able to participate in any activities you wish on your wedding day! For example, if you choose to marry on a mountaintop that requires hours of hiking to reach, it may be challenging to find an officiant whose abilities and schedule coincide with yours. While officiants are frequently extraordinary people, they do not play a significant role outside of the ceremony.
Having another person officiate your marriage has been a tradition
It is a historical tradition to have a third party convene and facilitate marriages, and officiants continue to play a vital role in that tradition. Moreover, many couples do not see the need for a separate entity to validate their commitment. Traditionally, officiants have been government officials, religious leaders, or others who have a role in regulating the behavior of a group of people.
Government officials began officiating marriages to maintain a better understanding of their citizens and create a paper trail to ensure population order. Religious leaders presided over marriage ceremonies as intermediaries between couples and their gods to elevate their human commitment to a spiritual level. In the ocean, boat captains act as leaders for their crew, and the list continues. Essentially, the role of an officiant or celebrant is rooted in the belief that marriage is about “more” than just the two individuals and that their choice is influenced by forces greater than themselves and has ramifications for the community in which they live.
It is your marriage, so just have it your way
No one else’s opinion of your marriage is more important than your own. Of course, we are not naive enough to believe there are no benefits to community support. Still, we are confident that you should be able to determine the weight of other people’s opinions in your relationship. If you do not feel supported by the community you were born, raised, or currently reside, you are not obligated to perform marriage rites for their benefit.
Elopement entails planning a wedding celebration that is consistent with your vision and values. Self-solemnizing marriage ceremonies allow eloping couples to truly do things their way when marrying themselves. This is by using the words and language most meaningful to them and surrounding themselves with people who support them in these choices.
States Where You Can Officiate Your Own Marriage
- California – They have a separate marriage license application for couples who identify as “non-clergy,” but still require the signatures of two witnesses.
- Colorado and Washington D.C. – Self-solemnizing marriages are permitted here without any additional application or conditions.
- Illinois – They permit self-solemnization following religious or indigenous rituals.
- Nevada, Kansas, and Maine – The three allow self-solemnization for individuals who identify as ‘Friends’ or ‘Quakers’ and marry according to the customs of those organizations.
- Pennsylvania – Self-solemnization is allowed here, with two witnesses signing in lieu of an officiant.
- Wisconsin – Similarly, self-union is permitted without restriction here. However, they require signing a form acknowledging that the government cannot guarantee that a self-uniting marriage will be recognized in all circumstances.
If you want to marry in a state or country where self-solemnization is not permitted but still want a private ceremony, it is possible. In that situation, you have two choices:
Firstly, you can marry legally at a courthouse prior to your elopement and then have a commitment ceremony on the day of your wedding.
Or, on the day of your elopement, you can have a self marriage ceremony, and one of your wedding photographers may act as an officiant. Then, on the hike back from your elopement (or at any other time during the day), you can gather witnesses to sign.
Helpful Tips When Planning A Self-Solemnizing Wedding Ceremony
Now that you’ve decided to self-solemnize on your wedding day, all that remains is to plan your elopement. There are a few things that couples often do differently for self-solemnizing ceremonies, and we’d like to share those insights with you to assist you in deciding on the look and feel of your ceremony.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that there is no script to follow. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: your wedding imagination is valid, and you deserve a marriage celebration that you want and is aligned with your goals and values!
1. Write Your Own Vows
Couples who self-solemnize frequently write their own vows. Since they are not following a “repeat after me” script, they are free to say whatever is meaningful to them. You can exchange letters and/or read letters from loved ones who are unable to attend.
2. The Ceremony Can Happen During An Activity
You can stand on a mountaintop and hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes, or you can do something else. Your ceremony can take any form you wish – whether it involves a couple standing before a physical altar, jumping out of an airplane holding hands, sitting next to each other in a canoe, or communicating solely through sign language.
3. It Can Be Long or Short
You are not required to write novels for your vows, but you may if you wish! You can plan an elopement in which the ceremony lasts only a few minutes, or you can make the wedding ceremony the focal point of the day. Your elopement day is yours to spend however you wish – there is no right amount of time to use language to communicate your commitment. You can demonstrate it by taking action and spending your elopement day doing whatever you and your partner enjoy.
4. Your Guests Can Sign As Witnesses
One of the advantages of self-solemnizing is that it does not require the signature of an officiant or witness – anyone can sign. Small children can sign the paperwork if you have them. If you bring your dog, they can sign with their muddy paw print. While you are self-solemnizing, you are not required to do solo weddings. You can further personalize the experience by inviting loved ones without bringing a government-approved official.
5. Plan How and When You Will File Paperwork
Familiarize yourself with the local laws in the area where you will marry. Determine whether a waiting period applies, whether witnesses are required, and the procedure for ensuring your paperwork is filed correctly. When an officiant performs the ceremony, he or she will frequently sign and submit the completed marriage license following the ceremony. Often, there is a time limit – between ten and thirty days – during which your license is valid, and you must file it within that time frame. Due to the fact that you will be performing everything yourself during a self-solemnizing ceremony, ensure that you and your partner have a plan in place for completing the paperwork.
6. Your Imagination Is The Limit
Self-solemnization enables you to truly tailor your wedding to your ideals, goals, and vision. Nobody else can tell you what is ideal for you; only you and your partner know that. Each unique celebration strengthens our belief that all of us deserve the openness and freedom inherent in elopements rather than traditional weddings. Through self-solemnizing, you can further personalize your dream wedding, making it better than you ever imagined!
If a self-solemnizing ceremony sounds like your ideal wedding day, you can make it a reality! Can you marry yourself? Yes! If you want a completely private and just-for-us ceremony on the day of your wedding, you deserve it. There are countless ways to customize a ceremony that does not adhere to the structure of a traditional wedding – you can pretty much do whatever you want.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is a professional writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage others to share their voices as well.