FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many of our ministers become ministers to perform a wedding. Below are a few questions that may address some of your concerns and may help you on your road to being an excellent minister. As always, if you need any help, please ask. I'm always available to answer your questions.
WEDDING CEREMONY FAQs
1. Is my ordination legal?
This is the most common question received by the Seminary. Rest-assured, your ordination is legal in all 50 states. As for performing marriages: yes, you are legal to perform marriages. In some states, registration beforehand is required. You can call your local County Clerk to see whether or not you need to register. There are some states that choose to take issue with registering ULC ministers. This is their ignorance, not the law. It is acceptable, when filling out your registration and the actual wedding license, to put the phrase, ‘non-denom’ under the section ‘denomination’. If this is unacceptable to the Clerk’s office, they will let you know. This may help avoid any conflict with people who doubt the validity of your license.
2. Who buys the license, the minister or the couple?
The couple buys the license ahead of time, generally at the County Court House. I suggest making an appointment ahead of time and you have to go down together. The license is generally good for 90 days, but I would suggest getting it a month or so beforehand. At the time of the wedding, the officiant (minister) signs it and usually mails it in.
3. Which sides do the bride and groom, stand on?
When coming down the aisle, the bride moves to the left and the groom to the right. When facing the guests, the groom will be waiting on the minister's left side.
4. How do you suggest including children into the ceremony?
In the Ultimate Wedding and Ceremony Workbook for the 'Planning-Impaired' book, there are two ceremonies for including children. The first is the 'family promises' where the new parent agrees to accept the children, the children agree to accept the new parent and the established parent agrees to support the relationships. Also included is a segment for the children of each agree to accept each other. A ring or necklace ceremony can be incorporated here. The other ceremony is called the 'ribbon ceremony'; it's done just before the pronouncement. Each child of the bride or groom approaches the couple and loosely binds their clasped hands together at the wrist to symbolize their support of the union.
5. What suggestions do you have for incorporating something unusual into the ceremony?
In the above-referenced book, I've listed over sixty ceremony samples. There are three wine ceremonies to choose from, two dove release ceremonies, a butterfly release ceremony and two breaking the glass ceremonies. The ceremonies for including children are unusual and there is a ceremony to include the guests in the saying of the vows. Each ceremony section has explanations for how each part is conducted and how it fits into the ceremony.
You can find the answers to more of these questions about weddings in the book, Weddings, Funerals and Rites of Passage and the ceremonies themselves in either that or The Ultimate Wedding & Ceremony Workbook for the 'Planning-Impaired'.