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I am in search for anyone who was married or plans to marry in Pennsylvania with a "self-uniting marriage license". My understanding is that this option allows two people to essentially act as officiants of their own wedding, with vows and witnesses making the marriage official. This is based on the Quaker faith, although a recent lawsuit ruled in favor of a couple who sought the option for a non-religious ceremony (and were not Quakers themselves). The case was argued for by the ACLU.

Can anyone tell me more about this? I'm interested in knowing what hassles people encounter when attempting this option. Also, would it be possible for a bride and groom to self-unite but still have a friend/family member act as sort of an emcee for the ceremony?

Any information is appreciated!


( 2 raised glasses — toast the couple )
Feb. 2nd, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
We did this. Though we had an an officate at our wedding, he had been ordained by the universal life church and there have been some unions called into question done by the ULC in Pennsylvania recently. So we went with the self uniting license! There was no hassle at all with it (at least not so far, we've only been married since May) I do know that the self uniting license is more expensive if you obtain it in Philadelphia County, but we went through Montgomery county, and it was the same price as the regular license (and still cheaper than Philadelphia Co.)

If you do this, please tell the person helping you at the marriage license office that you want the self-uniting license first thing before you give them any of your info. We gave all our info first and then told her, and she had to type the whole thing over again(poor lady!)

Good luck!
Feb. 2nd, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
I know things vary depending on state. I was hoping I could figure out how to go the self-uniting route in Michigan, but I think I've found a better way--that may be possible in other states, too:

"No particular form or oath is required. The parties merely solemnly declare that they take each other as husband and wife before at least two witnesses and the person officiating. MCL 551.9; MSA 25.9. A special law allows "the people called Friends or Quakers" and "people of any other particular denomination, having, as such, any peculiar mode of solemnizing marriages" to solemnize their marriages in their own manner. "

Using this wording, you would simply need to find a legal officiant who would pretty much allow the option of them simply guiding the ceremony (I imagine Unitarian clergy, or legal clergy of a more New Age/pagan type of faith, or something like that)--acting as a legally ordained emcee who can sign your certificate, really.

Also, many states allow the option of bestowing the honor on a friend or family member for only the day of your ceremony...though that's typically a little pricey, I think.
( 2 raised glasses — toast the couple )


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