Lake Tahoe Wedding Officiant Showing Rings

You Need These Things to Get Legally Married

So you’re planning a wedding in Tahoe. You’ve got the venue, the planner, all your vendors. invites have gone out, you’re buttoning up design details with your florist. But now the question arises, how do I actually get married? Well, we’re glad you asked! We asked our friend (and professional officiant!), Carol Criddle of Your Memorable Day, and she took us through exactly what is needed to get married. Read below to learn what it takes to legally get married in Tahoe (and anywhere, really!). Read below to learn the things legally needed to get married.

To get married, there are several things that you need, and this may seem like a simple list, but it really isn’t. You really won’t believe how often steps are missed or someone tries to bypass one of them.

First, you need a valid marriage license. The license cannot be expired, and it must be issued for the state you are getting married in.

And that license needs to be on the premises where you are getting married. It cannot be back at the hotel, your home, or anywhere else. It must be there, at the wedding site, and the officiant needs to see it and make sure it’s valid before the ceremony begins. If it isn’t there, or you forgot to purchase one, it actually changes the wording of the ceremony from a ‘wedding’ to a ‘commitment’ ceremony. We are not allowed to tell you and your guests that you are married or at any time during the ceremony, imply that it is a legal wedding ceremony.

Second, you need someone to marry you. This varies by state, and most states have very relaxed laws for officiants. However, know the laws. In Nevada and New York, for example, you need a licensed officiant. Look them up and make sure they are able to perform your ceremony prior to hiring them. Fines can be steep depending on the county the license was issued from. I do recommend hiring a professional no matter what state you are in, however, as they are familiar with the logistics of a wedding, writing a ceremony, keeping you calm, and making your day special, which are all priceless services.

The third requirement is the ‘Declaration of Intent’. sounds logical but actually is one of those things that is often requested to be skipped. It’s the legal part of the ceremony, It’s the only part that is required by law. You must agree to marry the other party. It has to happen, and the answer must be able to be acknowledged so a witness can sign a license after the ceremony. It can be fun, traditional, long, or short, but you must agree to marry each other!

Here’s a Hot Piece of Advice

This brings me to a service I hear people ask for and talk about a lot: ‘Signing the paperwork.’ This is not an actual service. It doesn’t exist. If you need to get married and have a license filled out by an officiant, you need to get married. This requires you to agree to marry each other! At minimum, that’s two questions, asked by the officiant, answered by each of the parties. If this doesn’t happen, and paperwork is filled out and a witness signs, you have multiple parties committing a fraud on a government document. The officiant didn’t actually marry anyone, and the witness didn’t actually see anyone get married. Why is this important? If down the road a divorce lawyer finds out about this not happening the proper way, the validity of the marriage can be called into question. You don’t want to be caught up in that mess.

After the ceremony, the license will be completed by the officiant, and witness information will be collected/signed. This cannot be done prior to the ceremony. Obviously, a witness cannot sign a document saying they saw something happen that hasn’t happened yet! Then the officiant will record the license within the allotted time which is usually 10 days.