Can you get married without marriage license?
The simple answer is “No”. Yet this happens around us more often than desired.
There are times when the couples have the license but they may forget it at home. Sometimes people forget to obtain the same due to negligence.
On our part, we always emphasize the couples to get the marriage license beforehand, but very few people actually pay heed.
A marriage is not considered legal if the couple marries without a license. Even the Officiant is considered to be untruthful to his duties if he performs a marriage without a legal license.
There are times when the venue is decorated, the guests have come, the mood is jubilant….. what is the option for the Officiant in absence of valid marriage license?
The valid alternative for wedding ceremony without valid marriage license case is to conduct commitment ceremony instead. Most of the guests who come to attend the party will not even know the difference. We make the couples sign forms which clearly explain that in absence of marriage license, they cannot get legally married. Instead, we will be performing commitment ceremony which will not use words like marriage, husband or wife. At the end we pronounce them partners for life!
In absence of the said forms and documents at the venue, we record the video of the couples acknowledging that they fully understand and agree to the commitment ceremony performed thereon. The actual signing of forms and documents has to be done at future appointed date but unfortunately, it cannot be backdated.
If you ask us the question that is it possible for me to get married without marriage license, our answer will be unequivocal “No”. And that is the reason we are sticking to the law. Marriage license is statutory partnership document between two people which is live and vibrant in the eyes of law. It should be adhered to at all circumstances to avoid any future complications. We emphasize its compliance for the protection of the couples as well as ours.
Skeptics may argue that nothing happens when an officiant goes ahead to perform marriage without the license presented before him?
You may agree that the marriage license police will not arrest the officiant or the couple for getting married without a license. But, if any of the officiants go ahead with the ceremony without compliance it leads to their position loss. So, it is not worthy to risk the loss of their position and jeopardize the legal status of the married couple just in order to have it on certain date.
If the commitment ceremony is already performed, then we tell the couple that they now have two wedding dates and not just one. They can buy two gifts each year now!
In case you are officiant or coordinator or venue manager for any wedding, please ensure to remind the couples in advance about the need for marriage license on the wedding day. This is essential to avoid any future complications.
It feels terrible to deny marriage ceremony to the couple if they are getting married without a license but I have the clear conscience since I have reminded them many times in advance. The best I can do in the circumstances is all done to salvage the situation.