God’s Knot, The Cord of Three Strands

God’s Knot-Cord of Three Strands

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

gods knot three strand cord The Cord of Three Strands symbolizes the joining of one man and one woman by God into a marriage relationship. Marriage takes three; you, your soon to be spouse, and God. It was God who taught us to love. By keeping Him at the center of your marriage, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage.

Usually there is a reading while the strands are woven together. A sample reading …

Today, [name of groom]and [name of bride]have chosen to braid three strands together into a single cord. Each strand has a significant meaning.The gold strand represents God and His majesty.The purple strand represents the groom and his life.The white strand represents the bride and her life.In braiding these three strands together,[name of groom]and [name of bride]have demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. They have chosen to allow God to be at the center of their marriage,woven into every aspect of it. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-12reads,“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Excerpt from The Art of Marriage

Below is an excerpt from the Art of Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson. I was asked to include it in a marriage ceremony recently and it read really well.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.

Unity Plant Ceremony

Unity Plant Ceremony

unity plant ceremony

Yesterday I performed a really neat ceremony for a couple. It is the Unity Plant Ceremony. This would be a great alternative to the Unity Candle Ceremony particularly if your ceremony is being held out of doors. Candles blow out. And like the sand ceremony, you have a physical token that represents your union through the years. What makes it even more special is that your token is alive!

Sample Unity Plant Ceremony

The Bride and Groom and their families are now going to participate in the Unity Plant Ceremony.  The ceremony symbolizes the roots of their relationship and the continued growth of their love.

Long before ______ and _______had the pleasure of knowing each other, their families provided them with a foundation of love and support which has made them into the people we see before us today.  To honor their families, _____ and __________ will each start by adding dirt from their parent’s home.  Just as their families have been the foundation of who they have become, this dirt will be the foundation of their new family.

(Add Dirt)

The love of their families has allowed ______ and _______to grow into the wonderful and unique people they are.  This plant is a symbol of their new life, and how they will grow for years to come.  _____ and _____ let your relationship and your love for each other be like this plant.  Let it grow tall and strong.  Let it endure the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed.  Remember to nourish each other with words of encouragement, trust, and love.  With constant nourishment this tree, and your marriage, will grow deeper, stronger, and more resilient with each passing year.

South Carolina Justice of the Peace

Justice of the Peace replaced by Notaries

I receive many calls from couples looking for a Justice of the Peace (JOP). That position does not exist anymore in South Carolina.

justice of the peace

If you need your marriage license signed call us at 803-446-3405

After  couples receive their marriage license many of them search for a JOP to marry them. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a JOP in South Carolina anymore. The position has been phased out and the last justice of the peace retired in 2008. Notaries and municipal judges have taken over the roles once provided by justices.

completed south carolina marriage license

If you need to have your marriage license signed, a notary can perform that task. We offer this service and have married many couples with just a simple signing ceremony.

Please give us a call at 803-446-3405 if you need your marriage license completed.

The Wedding Kiss

The First Kiss

At the end of almost every wedding ceremony is “The Kiss”. The wedding officiant makes the pronouncement, the couple is married, and the officiant says “Congratulations, you may kiss your bride” or “Congratulations, you may seal your marriage with a kiss.” This is a very private and profound moment for the couple. Their first kiss as a married couple.

As a wedding officiant, I make every effort to NOT be in that picture. Unlike this gentleman here,

wedding ceremony first kiss

See the little peek a boo by the officiant there in the center of the picture? Awful!

I always step to the side before prompting the kiss. A couple does not need to see my smiling face for the rest of their marriage!

Rather, a first kiss photo should look like this,

first wedding kiss

Just the couple and no wedding officiant in the picture, anywhere!

So be sure to ask your officiant to step aside and stay out of the frame for that first kiss as a married couple. And if I am your wedding officiant I promise I won’t be!

Importance of a Wedding Day of Coordinator

wedding planner

For a small intimate wedding or elopement you really don’t need a wedding planner or coordinator. But…once you start planning on a wedding procession, having a photographer, a DJ, catering, flowers, etc. you absolutely have to have a wedding planner or day of coordinator.

The Wedding Planner

From wikipedia, “a wedding planner is a professional who assists with the design, planning and management of a client’s wedding. Weddings are significant events in people’s lives and as such, couples are often willing to spend considerable amount of money to ensure that their weddings are well-organized. Wedding planners are often used by couples who work long hours and have little spare time available for sourcing and managing wedding venues and wedding suppliers.”

For a very large wedding with a big budget a wedding planner is almost a necessity. They can help with budgeting, hiring the necessary vendors, planning the procession, and ensuring that the 1,000 little details of a big wedding all come together.

The Wedding Coordinator

The Day of Coordinator is just that. You provide them a list of all your vendors and details about how you want your wedding day and ceremony to progress. Many venues provide a day of coordinator as part of their services, either included in the facility fee or as an add on.  Many day of coordinators will attend the rehearsal if you have one, particularly if you are having the rehearsal at the same venue as the wedding. Keep in mind that the coordinator is only going to be as good as the information and resources you provide him or her. You (if you planned your own wedding) are responsible for organizing and paying the vendors, that they arrive on time, and that their performance is as promised. The day of coordinator only coordinates.

Why You Need at least a Day of Coordinator

You really need at least a Day of Coordinator. Not someone that is in the wedding procession, not the photographer, and not the caterer. You need a person to act as a buffer for you, to make sure that everyone is arriving on time and that they know what is expected. Someone who can herd the wedding procession into order, make sure the flowers are arranged properly, the candles are lit, the flower girl has petals, the runner is laid down, the officiant is there and is prepared, etc, etc. You as the bride cannot do this. You are going to be too busy getting ready for your wedding; the dress, hair, makeup, etc. Your stress level as a Bride is already going to be high. Don’t become a bridezilla and ruin your special day.

Wedding Day Essential Photo Shot List

wedding couple

Your wedding day is a special day! You should make sure to get as many photos as possible to remember it by. A great way to insure you get those special photographs is to hire a professional photographer to take them for you. But whether you hire a photographer, or have a family member or guest take your photographs, you need a plan! You need a wedding day essential photo shot list. So many essential photos can get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of a wedding day. Here is a list of the most essential wedding photos you need to take if you can. Remember, this is the bare essentials.

Wedding Day Essential Photo Shot List
Pre-Wedding Ceremony
  • Bride with individual Bridesmaids
  • Bride with all Bridesmaids
  • Bride alone, close-up, waist up, 3/4, full length front and back
  • Groom with individual Groomsmen
  • Groom with all Groomsmen
  • Groom alone, close-up, waist up, ¾,full length front and back
  • Guestbook attendants
  • Program attendants
  • Groomsmen with minister in minutes before
  • Grandparents seated
  • Parent Seated
  • Grooms party enters
  • Bridal party down the aisle
  • Flower girls and ring bearers
  • Bride down the aisle
  • Groom’s reaction to bride (this has become a HUGE ordeal in the past years)
  • Standard Ceremony items: readings, prayers, unity candle/sand, rings, vows
  • Pronouncement of Marriage
  • Recessional
Family Portraits
  • bride and groom with bride’s parents
  • bride and groom with bride’s parents and siblings, in-laws, grandparents
  • bride and groom with both families
  • bride and groom with both sets of parents
  • bride and groom with groom’s parents bride and groom with groom’s parents and siblings, in-laws, grandparents

20+ creative shots of the couple in a variety of poses, smiling, kissing, in action, sexy poses, making sure to get a variety of styles, locations and crops, full length, scenic, close up, 3/4 etc.


Richland County SC Probate Court Online Marriage License Applications Now Available

florence county marriage application

You can now apply for your marriage license online using the Richland County Probate Court portal. Click on the link below to apply.

Richland County Probate Court Marriage Application

To complete your application you will need to;

  1. Upload pictures of your government ID
    1. Picture Identification – Picture Identification may be one of the following:
      • Valid State Issued Driver’s License
      • Valid State Issued Identification Card
      • Valid Military Identification Card showing the name and the date of birth
      • Valid Passport

      *If you are not a United States Citizen, we must receive your Valid Passport and current VISA

  2. Upload proof of SSN
    1. Social Security Number may be one of the following:
      • Social Security Card
      • Tax Return (page 1) showing your name and your Social Security Number
      • W-2 or Tax Form showing your name and your Social Security Number

      *If you are not a United States Citizen, we must receive your Valid Passport and current VISA.

  3. Pay the fee of $45.24 with a debit/credit card
  4. Have a valid email address

You can take pictures of your documents with your smart phone or scan them if you have a scanner to upload the application website. The pictures or scans must be in one of the following formats; .gif, .jpeg, .pjpeg, .png, or .pdf.

You should receive your license (3 copies) within a week after applying in the mail. The marriage license will be mailed to the address of Party A. If the online application is not completed correctly, an email will be sent to Party A, for any additional information/documentation.

If you want to pick your marriage license up in person, AFTER THE 24 HOUR MANDATORY WAITING PERIOD, and not wait for the mail, call the Richland County Probate Court at 803-576-1961 the next business day after you submit your license application to arrange to come pick it up in person. If you do not call them it will be mailed.

For example, you file your application online Monday and it is acknowledged as received by Richland County at 1pm. Richland County will not process the marriage license application until after 1pm on Tuesday. Calling to pick it up does not shortcut the mandatory 24 hour waiting period.

DO NOT sign or fill out any copies of the license in any way once you receive them. You MUST sign in the presence of an officiant or notary public. The court does NOT perform marriages.

If you have any questions give us a call or text and we will try and help you with the process. Call 803-446-3405

Richland County SC Probate Court Now Open for Marriage Licenses at Limited Times

Richland County Marriage License Applications

sample marriage license

The Richland County Probate Court will open beginning Tuesday, April 21 2020, for marriage license applications. The open periods are staggered between morning and afternoon, for only 2 days in the current week.

The applications are being taken in the lobby. You MUST wear a mask!

Visit their website for specific information.

Remember, you can also get your marriage license via mail from Lexington County and via virtual application from Charleston County. Visit our blog post here for specific information.

How Get Your Marriage License in SC While the Probate Courts are Closed

Get Your SC Marriage License During Court Shutdown


Its a terrible time right now isn’t it? Social distancing, virus scares, layoffs, even toilet paper shortages. But even so, some couples still want (or need) to get married! Nothing stands in the way of true love! Problem was you had to apply in person at the probate court, but the courts are closed and if they are closed that means no marriage license. Lucky for everyone though, several South Carolina probate courts have found a way to solve the problem. No matter where you are in SC you can use one of these services to get your marriage license and have it mailed to you. Now, you can apply by mail and the court will mail you a license. And no, you DO NOT have to be a resident of either of these counties or even the state of South Carolina. You can get your license from them and use it anywhere in South Carolina (but only in SC).

Charleston County Probate Court

chalreston county marriage license

Charleston County uses a virtual interview process. Just click on the link above, follow the directions, schedule an appointment, and pay the fee. Give us a call if you have any questions or when you are ready to get married after you have your license.

Lexington County Probate Court

lexington county probate coourt

Lexington County has found a way to solve this problem, at least for the short term during the coronavirus (COVID-19) scare.

How does it work? Go to this link here and download the marriage license application. It is a pdf file. Print it out.

  1.  Complete the application.
  2. Include copies of both applicant’s Social Security cards (if you don’t have a SS card then any official document that has the name and SS number on it).
  3. Include a copy of each applicants government issued picture ID.
  4. Cash, check, or money order for $30.00
  5. Indicate on the application which address you want the marriage license mailed to from the court.
  6. Sign the application in front of a notary.
  7. Mail the completed application, the documents, and the fee to;


And right now, the Marriage Notary is running a special to assist the court. Normally our basic fee for a small, simple ceremony is $90. But during this crisis,

  • We will meet with you and notarize the signatures on the application for you
  • After you receive your marriage license back from the court, we will meet with you again and sign the copies of the license
  • One of the copies you keep as your original certificate of marriage and we will file the other two copies with the court

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 803-446-3405

Good luck!