June 19, 2014

Ask Ashley: Your Ceremony

Welcome to another week of Ask Ashley!  

This week, I am answering your common questions about the wedding ceremony!  From when to get your marriage license, to how much to tip your officiant, I’ve got the answers for you here!

When do I apply for a marriage licence and what do I need to bring with me?  

Each state and even county can vary, so you’ll want to check with your local office.  I recommend applying for your marriage license 2-1 month out from your wedding date.  You will definitely need a photo ID, but it’s not a bad idea to have your Social Security card or your birth certificate as well.  If you have been previously married, make sure to bring am offical copy of any divorce papers.  In Arizona it will cost approximately $72 to obtain a marriage license and there is no waiting period.  Don’t forget to bring your marriage license on the wedding day so you can sign it immediately following your ceremony.  Your marriage licenses expires one year after the date it is obtained. 

My fiance and I both have big families, but we also want to include some of our friends in the wedding ceremony.  Are there additional roles for people in the wedding outside of being in my bridal party?

Absolutely!  There are plenty of roles that can make the special people in your life feel like a bigger part of your wedding day!  If you are having a church wedding, you can ask friends to be candle lighters, if you are having a candlabrum.  For a Catholic or Episcopalian wedding, you can also ask close friends or family to carry gifts to the alter.  In a Jewish wedding you can ask someone special to carry the glass that will be shattered at the end of the ceremony or hold the poles of the huppah.  An option for any wedding, religious or not, is to ask a special guest to do a reading during your ceremony. You can also ask a few people to be ushers.  These people don’t just have to stand at the front telling your guests which side to sit on, but they can also direct them to the gifts tables and the guestbook.  You can even ask them to escort elderly relatives included in your processional.  Finally, you can ask someone outside of your bridal party to witness to your marriage license signing.  If you really trust someone, they could even serve as your officiant!

Is there something I can do in lieu of a unity candle?

Absolutely! The most common thing we see is a sand ceremony where the bride and groom combine two different containers of sand into one. You can also have both the bride and grooms mothers carry a bouquet of flowers to be placed at the front of the ceremony and then pick one from each and combine them in a vase.  I would encourage you to get creative though.  Here are just a few ideas:

1. Sand Ceremony 2. God’s knot  3. Tree Planting 4. Hand Binding Ceremony 5. Padlock Ceremony  6. Abstract Unity Painting  7. Heart Unity Painting

Should I tip my officiant?

If you are getting married in a religious facility it is usually expected that  donation be made to the institution.  Depending on the fees for using the facility, I generally recommend the donation be between $300-500.  You can also call the church office and ask what they usually receive.  If you have a nondenominational officiant and/or your wedding is held outside of a religious building, tipping is optional.  Usually $50-100 is appreciated.  

Do you have questions about your upcoming wedding or event?  Ask me! Either leave a comment below or email Ashley at ashley@yourjubilee.com

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  1. Bryan and I are eloping in Ireland.our parents know, so it's not a secret but they obviously won't be there. What are some ways we can honor our parents or make them feel special… Even though they aren't there? Or something we could do after to make them feel loved? We have a videographer and all of our family will get a video but I want to do something more sentimental.

    Also: Bryan has sister's who like to be very involved and controlling. They are the reason we are eloping in Ireland. They don't know yet and we are very nervous about telling them. His parents know not to say a word to his sisters. So…. At what point do we tell them? A month before, right before, or after?

    Thank you!

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