WAIT! You may have asked your uncle to officiate at your Virginia wedding, but there be rules and regulations to consider! Do your research before you ask him, or feelings may get hurt. In this article I review for you some important intricacies of Virginia law.
In our wonderful state, matrimony is taken very seriously. You can not just ask any dear family member to offer some meaningful words, listen to your vows, and then pronounce you and your beloved as married. In Virginia, your officiant must be approved and certified by the courts.
If your uncle is an ordained minister in a court-recognized denomination, and if he has appeared before the courts, if he resides in Virginia, then you are set. Otherwise, probably not.
Again, if your uncle is a judge or a justice of a court of record, or a judge of a district court, or a retired judge ur justice in Virginia, and residing in Virginia, you are probably good to go.
If your uncle is not ordained, not a judge or justice in Virginia and if your uncle does not reside in Virginia, you have one other option. Your uncle can petition the courts and pay a $500 bonded fee.
I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: Virginia courts WILL NOT recognize those “Get ordained online” certificates. Good thing, if you ask me. I realize I am prejudiced here, but really! I spent four years, count them, FOUR years, in seminary. I didn’t spend all four years
learning the ins-and-outs of marriage officiating of course, but I DO take marriages (as also funerals and baptisms—public events of an intimate and personal nature) very seriously—as seriously as, guess what, YOU should, too.
The decision to marry is not made in haste. Neither should your marriage service be just the prelude for one really great party. I’m not talking a 10 minute lecture, here, but a marriage service should be personal, and moving, evoking both laughs and tears. I guess the word I’m looking for is appropriate. The marriage service is more than a recitation of memories, and definitely more than stand up comedy.
So, please, please do your research before asking that beloved uncle to officiate. And if you need an experienced officiant (20 year and going strong) contact me.
Your wedding officiant.
Happy Wedding planning
p.s. The featured photo is compliments of Sera Petras Photography.