Just wanted to make everyone aware. When you get married, Sumter County Probate Court provides two (2) free certified copies of the marriage certificate for active duty military.
Many couples are looking to save money on their wedding. One way to do that is to not spend a fortune right away on your wedding bands. Fancy, expensive diamonds might need to wait a couple of years, or, you just might not be into expensive.
A good source for inexpensive wedding bands is Etsy. You can order them online and have them shipped right to you. If you don’t know your size, visit a jewelry store and have them size you as you peruse their selections. Then go home and visit the Etsy site. Not only will you know your exact ring size, but after seeing the prices in the jewelry store you will be super happy at having saved so much money!
Last year I had the pleasure to perform the wedding ceremony for Georgia and Nathan. Today I came across a blog post about their wedding on the blog Budget Savvy Bride. A great read if you are thinking about organizing a simple wedding. Visit here to read the blog post and take a look at all the pictures.
An added note. I have officiated several weddings where Northern Red was the photographer and I can tell you she does a great job!
Many couples like to use a traditional hand fasting as part of their ceremony. Here is a sample ceremony…
NAME and NAME have chosen a traditional hand fasting ceremony to symbolize their entering into the bonds of marriage. In the history of some European traditions, weddings were celebrated by a simple ceremony in which two partners would join hands and their wrists would be tied with a cord, symbolizing the binding together of their individual lives. It is from this practice that we get the expression “tying the knot”.
(Couple joins hands.)
NAME and NAME, this cord is a symbol of the connection between your two lives. As your hands are bound together by this cord, so too, will your lives be bound together in marriage.
(The Couple’s wrists are wrapped and tied loosely with ribbon or cord. This can be done by the officiant or by the couple’s best man/maid of honor, parents, or other chosen person.)
These are the hands that will love you.
These are the hands that will hold and comfort you through the years.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement.
These are the hands you will each work with, create with, and use to build a life together.
The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows,
the promises you make in your hearts and uphold each day through your actions.
Remember, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.
Just as your hands are now bound together, so too, are your lives.
Because you cannot always be physically joined together, you will each give to the other a wedding ring to symbolize that connection. It will be worn on your hand as a constant reminder of the bond shared between you as a married couple.
(The Hand Fasting cord is removed, without untying it, and Rings exchanged.)
Completed Marriage License
So, you received your marriage license (probably in the mail because of the pandemic), your wedding ceremony is over if you had one, and you and your officiant have signed your marriage license. What happens next?
South Carolina is different from every other state in the US in how they conduct the marriage license and marriage certificate process. In every other state, the marriage license is signed by the couple and officiant, and then returned to the court. The court records and files the marriage license and then issues a certificate of marriage to the couple. It does not work that way in South Carolina, where your marriage license becomes your Certificate of Marriage once it is signed by the couple and the officiant. There are 3 copies of the license, all of which the couple signs, and then one of them beocmes your Original Certificate of Marriage, which is yours to keep and take with you. It already has the court seal imprinted on it, the judges signature, and the officiants signature and information.
You will not receive anything else from the probate court where you obtained your marriage license.
Your marriage officiant is responsible for returning the other two completed copies to the probate court, not the couple (See SC Code of Laws Section 20-1-330). He or she has 15 days to do so, but in my case I send them in immediately, usually within 1 day.
If you need a certified copy of your marriage certificate (like the one pictured above) for whatever reason, you can get one from the court that issued the license for a small fee.
Here are some links to the various courts to download the form you need to fill out to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
The Unity Candle
One question I often get asked by people planning their marriage ceremony, is how can they “make their wedding ceremony special”?
One way to do that is by having a unity candle ceremony as part of your wedding. The unity candle ceremony is a very simple way to reinforce the meanings of your vows. It can also be away to involve your family members, by having a different family member each light their own small candle and contribute to the group lighting of the larger unity candle. I have seen where its just the groom and bride light the candle, the mothers of the groom and bride light the unity candle, or the parents of the bride and groom light the candle.
If there are children from a previous marriage in by either of both of the bride and groom, then having the children join with the bride and groom in the lighting of the candle is a great way to enhance family unity and show everyone’s love.
The only drawback to the unity candle ceremony is that it can be difficult to perform in an out of doors setting. Often the wind does not cooperate and the candles get blown out.
Here is a sample Unity Candle Ceremony. If it is a secular wedding then the religious references can be removed.
Unity Candle Ceremony
Now we shall celebrate this union as it is symbolized through the lighting of the unity candle.
______and ________ please light the two taper candles. These candles represent your individual spirits, your individual connections with God, all that you are and, all that you have been, and all that you will become.
The center candle represents your relationship. It is the symbol of your marriage, the symbol of the joining of 2 spirits, 2 lives, 2 souls. Now you will take the tapers and light the center candle. As you do so, keep in mind the pledge you made to each other today. It is the pledge of the truth and purity of your every breath. The constant friendship of your hearts. The passion and fire of your spirits and the deepest love your souls have to give. It is the pledge of all that is within you. The only true pledge that one heart can offer to another.
You are now as husband/wife/spouse and husband/wife/spouse offering yourselves, and all that has come to pass unto each other, towards the creation of your future, and to all that is yet to come. The candle of your marriage shall burn brightly, but the 2 tapers of yourselves are not diminished. You do not disappear in marriage. You remain you. But in joining, both lights are brighter, each supports the other and miracles can happen. True Love shines brightly and today is but a beautiful beginning of the miracles to come.
Common law marriage was legal in SC, up until last Wednesday, July 24, 2019 anyway. On that day the SC Supreme Court invalidated any future common law marriages in the state. So from now on, if you want to be married in SC, you need to get a marriage license and have it completed.
For further information see this article here.
So, you have been asked to be in a wedding?
Being asked to participate in a friends or relatives wedding can be a great honor. It can be fun. But it can also be very expensive. Here are some questions to ask BEFORE you agree to participate…
- Do not say yes about the tux or dress until you talk costs
- Do NOT go into debt
- If the costs are getting out of hand, SPEAK UP!
- Don’t agree to be in the wedding if it will be too much for you. Remember, it is also an honor to just be a guest.
The Washington Post has a recent article on this very subject. Go here to check it out.
So you are going to get married
Christmas Day is usually the number one day of the year for couples to get engaged (followed by Valentine’s Day and Christmas Eve) according to Wedding Wire. The next big step after getting engaged is planning the wedding and the first step in that regard is when and how much?
The Knot does an annual wedding-cost survey and last year, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391. And that does NOT include the honeymoon.
How much should YOU spend on your wedding? The Washington Post just today published a great article on just this subject. Their advice? Do what you can afford.
Check out the article at the Washington Post for some great advice on how much to spend on your wedding.
My advice? Do not spend more than $5000. You can have a memorable wedding on that budget and I have officiated many wonderful weddings that cost even less than that.
Should you write your own wedding vows?
Your wedding is coming up. You have to decide on your vows. Should you write your own vows? Or let your wedding officiant use traditional ones? It’s sometimes not an easy question to answer.
While there are a number of variations, the most commonly known traditional vow is: “I, ______, take thee, ______, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” The officiant reads one line at a time, and the soon-to-be-weds repeat said line in order to affirm their commitment to one another. If you choose to recite traditional vows, your officiant can help you select the set that is most appropriate and meaningful to both you and your partner.Some couples opt to write their own vows in order to personalize their ceremony further. Writing personalized vows is a way to proclaim your love for one another in your own words.
Writing Your Own Vows
Thinking of adding your own personal touch? Here are some quick and easy tips:
1. Let your officiant help you
Some religions still require both parties to recite a portion of traditional vows. Speak with your officiant to work out any necessary details so the ceremony goes seamlessly.
2. Research online and see what others have used
Think back to wedding you’ve been to and listen closely at the ones you’re attending this season. And if you haven’t been to many weddings, search online for videos and transcripts. A little inspiration can go a long way!
3. Talk with each other about your relationship
Write down bullet points about your fiancé, the first time you met, when you knew you were in love, and exactly why you are getting married. These notes will help you form complete thoughts as well as large points you want to highlight in your vows.
4. Decide on some promises.
You can combine broad promises along with more specific ones. Mix it up but ensure all your promises are true to you and your partner’s relationship.
5. Be sure to write it out
Writing a rough draft that you edit numerous times will usually produce the best results. Some couples wait until the day of and scrawl their vows out while they are getting ready. Writing beforehand can ensure cohesive thoughts, allow you to edit the areas that are not perfect and to practice.
One aspect couples often overlook is the presentation of their vows. You should write your final copy on a neat piece of paper or some type of stationary that matches your wedding theme. In photos of the vow exchange you will see whatever the vows are written on so having a crumpled piece of paper will appear disheveled.
DO NOT use your phone. Besides all of the mishaps that occur using your cellphone (screen going dark, having to thumb down the page, phone vibrating) it’s just plain tacky and shows a lack of preparation.
6. Keep your vows to one or two minutes at most
If your vows are longer than two minutes, consider editing them down. Focus on the major promises you want to make in front of your nearest and dearest. You can also write your partner a sweet note to read the morning of the wedding, or give a toast during the reception.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Practicing your vows out loud will allow you to catch run on sentences and tongue twisters. If you hear any, rewrite them. The tone you speak with should be heartfelt but conversational. It should not sound as if you are giving a speech. And you’ll be more comfortable speaking towards your significant other and all your guests the day of if you practiced beforehand.
Choosing to write your own vows is part of the day you will remember forever. It is a significant task to write your vows and recite them with family and friends intently watching. Some people become overwhelmed with emotion and are unable to share their vows. Have a back up plan in case this happens. Perhaps, the officiant can even read the vows for you if you can’t. Be calm and remember that everyone in attendance is there to support you and your new beginning!