I’m a Colorado-based elopement and intimate wedding photographer, and I love helping couples turn their vision for their dream day into a reality! Everything you need to know about Colorado Marriage License & Self Solemnization. All these groups get more worthy people asking for help than they can handle, so don’t be surprised if they decide not to take your case. Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. Congratulations to our couple on their marriage! Whether you want an intimate wedding or to save money, both civil weddings and self-uniting weddings can offer you what you want on your special day. This kind of wedding is legal in a handful of states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, and the marriages are legally recognized everywhere. The District of Columbia allows couples to officiate their own wedding. Asheville is a very popular outdoor elopement and wedding location on the east coast due to it’s beautiful scenery and southern charm. For each, we filled out a form on their website, and an intake lawyer called us back 1-2 weeks later to get more information. A couple of months ago, I started talking to a reader in California who wanted to get a “non-clergy” marriage in their state. We filled that out with our two witnesses — at a time and place of our convenience — and brought it back to the clerk’s office. In the District of Columbia and Colorado, any couple can elect to “officiate” their own marriage, without being asked about their religion. How accessible does the location need to be? You will either need to read the law, or ask Quakers in your state. There are lots of public lands in the area such as national forests and state parks to consider for your mountain elopement. Photographers have a personal interest in making sure their clients have the most amazing location that will truly make for epic photos! Simply put, self solemnization is where the couple legally marries themselves, without the need for an officiant or a witness to be present to sign their marriage certificate. But if you absolutely want to sign your legal paperwork on the day you get married, you’ll need to consider the state laws where you are eloping. Femme’s note: It took about a month to hear back from them, but a reader in Pennsylvania who ran into problems with her county clerk managed to get a self-uniting marriage license in Berks County with the help of the ACLU. States have various requirements regarding officiants and/or witnesses, which means that you may need to have an officiant or witness with you. Palmer, Alaska is just one of many amazing mountain elopement locations in Alaska. Over two years ago, I wrote an article about self-uniting marriage. There are several nearby mountain towns to visit, and you can also check out the many wineries, spas, and waterfalls throughout the region. Mammoth Lakes is an area just south of Yosemite National Park. Being the first in your state, county or city will take more work, may take more time and might require you to face publicity and/or postpone your wedding. Here are just a few things that come with having me as your photographer, adventure partner, friend, and guide: To summarize, here are the basic steps to planning a mountain elopement: When looking for the mountain elopement location that will be the perfect fit for you and your partner, my number one recommendation would be to get help from a photographer! Pennsylvania is one of the few states that offers couples the option of a self-uniting marriage license. A public marriage is just that: Anyone can buy a CD for $10 with all the public marriages in The North Cascades National Park is a wilderness area in northwest Washington state is known for its jagged peaks, glaciers, meadows, and other beautiful scenery. In fact this park has more glaciers than any other U.S. park outside of Alaska! Self-solemnization – also known as a “self-uniting marriage”– is the act of getting *legally* married without needing a judge or officiant to sign the papers – you don't even need witnesses! So many congrats! This means that an officiant is not needed to legally get married in the state of Colorado. District of Columbia. We had a second round of even more arcane argument, however, because we wanted our marriage to be “confidential” rather than “public”.  California is unusual (maybe unique among the states) in having two different ways that marriages can be recorded: public or confidential. If you’re looking for privacy and stunning views for your mountain elopement, consider Alaska! There are fun activities to do in every season. Hire any vendors like florists, hair and makeup artists, etc. I’m more than just a photographer. If you’re having trouble deciding between the mountains and the beach for your elopement, then Hawaii should definitely be a place you consider eloping. That’s why I offer help in ways that most photographers don’t! Pennsylvania allows self solemnization with two witnesses to sign in place of an officiant. Religious? Living in Colorado, the summertime is definitely my favorite season! Mount Rainier is the tallest peak in Washington, at 14,110 feet, and is also an active volcano which makes it a great backdrop for your elopement! The first people hanged for heresy in Massachusetts were Quakers. Colorado is one of the few states that recognize self-solemnization as a legal marriage. The case ended with the court ruling that the license could not be denied to anyone. Specialized groups such as FFRF and AU may be more likely to take on a case like this than a group with a wider focus like the ACLU. We were treated politely and pleasantly throughout. Flathead National Forest is just south of Glacier National Park and offers similarly beautiful views, but with far fewer crowds. The reader has been kind enough to share their experiences with us today. In many places, roads close in the winter and some other areas become very difficult to access. Nobody could dispute that atheists don’t have clergy! Witnesses. Crater Lake National Park is a stunning location featuring a lake in a collapsed volcano! The lake is a stunning blue color due to the pristine water that comes from rain and snow, and it’s also the deepest lake in the United States. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Also, the wildflowers are blooming in the high alpine areas. Is privacy and seclusion important to you? The custom is rooted in the Quaker faith and is actually part of a formal wedding ceremony. She's seen many instances of that due to the self-solemnization laws that other states don't recognize. Look no further than the Napali Coast, on the northwest corner of the island of Kauaii. Yes, you heard that right. In some states, such as Pennsylvania, there have already been lawsuits over this. In another state, a notary public may perform the solemnization. Colorado is one state where the couple getting married can sign as both, themselves as the people entering into the marriage and as the people attesting to the marriage. Required fields are marked *. Colorado is the only state that allows self solemnization with no restrictions or caveats, and it really is as easy as just signing and filing the marriage license. To see a full list of states that allows this practice, check out our list of states that allow self-uniting marriage. It’s also very close to Seattle so you can still celebrate your elopement at a fantastic restaurant or bar in the city. So in California there are two ways to “solemnize” a marriage (by an officiant or “non-clergy”) and two ways to record a marriage (public or confidential.) Credit cards and checks are not accepted. We did the self solemnization route 15 years ago. Planning your mountain elopement: What you need to know! Are you bringing any. Located just outside of Portland, Mt. Apparently they developed the forms for confidential marriage and non-clergy marriage separately, and never thought about the possibility of someone who wanted non-clergy solemnization and confidential recording. But if you’re not planning to hire a photographer, or if you just want to get a head start on your research, these questions and tips will get you started! While not terribly high in elevation, the views are spectacular. But they all agreed that the law is unconstitutional as written, so that some accommodation needs to be made. The fall is particularly beautiful with the changing leaves. I need to know this as well as mine is a Saturday! I love snowy photo sessions, but you truly have to be prepared with backup plans for your backup plans. This blog is written for entertainment purposes only. Interested in a personal contact? Colorado is one of a select number of states in the US that allows self solemnization. California for a given year, including parents’ birth names, dates and places of birth, etc. Judge? Yellowstone is definitely one of the country’s most unique National Parks. (“Non-clergy” is the same thing as self-uniting—just different choice of words.) Who would want their mother’s maiden name and other information invaluable to identity thieves in such a public database? Check out this guide to California Airbnb Wedding and Elopement venues! Colorado is one of just a few states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that has legalized the act of self-uniting a marriage without the presence of a third-party officiant. Common Law Marriage, meaning a marriage formed without a license and solemnization, is recognized in the State of Montana. What I am understanding from the law is that, the states like Colorado where self-solemnization is recognized, you obtain the regular marriage certificate afterwards. You must have $30.00 cash. All involved hope that this story paves the way for other couples. When it comes to adventure elopements, I don’t think any couple should be held back by the legal paperwork! While you’re there, definitely make a visit to the Bonneville Salt Flats, a unique spot located about two hours west of Salt Lake City. One of the factors you’ll want to think about in your elopement planning process is what time of year you’d like to get married. Even if you aren’t a Quaker, you could start by contacting a local meeting of the “Society of Friends” (Quakers).  Ask nicely, and they will probably be happy to help. While there’s no guarantee of privacy on any public lands, certain areas such as National Parks will always be very crowded. How to find a mountain elopement location, Deciding what season to elope in the mountains. Colorado also recognizes common-law marriage and while most states don't, they will recognize a marriage entered into in Colorado. Start by asking nicely. Many people don’t realize this, but most elopement photographers spend a TON of time scouring the internet, searching through Instagram hashtags, reading through wedding blogs, and physically scouting out locations. Your email address will not be published. The power of self-solemnization comes with great responsibility; chiefly making sure the marriage is properly recorded with the state and that two witnesses to the ceremony are logged on the marriage record. That's the part you have to be careful about. The Adirondack Mountains are a beautiful area to retreat to in the northeast portion of the United States. In the District of Columbia and Colorado, any couple can elect to “officiate” their own marriage, without being asked about their religion. To see a full list of states that allows this practice, check out our list of states that allow self-uniting marriage. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited National Park, due to its beautiful mountain views and all of the fun outdoor activities available. If hiking doesn’t suit you, there are also beautiful mountain passes you can drive like the 50 mile Going-to-the-Sun road over Logan Pass. Once you think through the above questions, then you can do more detailed research and narrow down the list to a state or park that most interests you! Learn more below! can we have weekend date in marriage certificate for atheist marriage?? Illinois allows self solemnization in accordance with religious or indigenous ceremonies. While PA and CO are the only states that allow marriages without an officiant, those marriages are valid in all 50 states. Don’t expect local officials to have a clue, especially in areas with few Quakers. Explain that you aren’t a Quaker, but want to marry without an officiant, as Quakers do, and ask them how Quakers register their marriages in your state. Provide the city and state where parents of both parties are currently located. For example, in one state, a mayor, magistrate, county clerk, city clerk, judge, or justice may perform the solemnization. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best! Many people don’t think of Salt Lake City when you are talking about mountains, but there are actually many beautiful mountain locations near Salt Lake City. Your reference to the office in Sacramento eased the process considerably, I think. Check out this guide to planning your elopement at Maroon Bells! There are over 170 recreation sites and tons of trails to explore. We didn’t need a confidential one, but there indeed should be a confidential non-clergy one. Jerry H. I would be very interested to hear how you got your non-clergy license in Marin county. The contributor’s story was unique because it was the first atheist non-clergy marriage in their state. Plus, many locations are still not accessible until summertime. If you want less people around while saying your vows, consider a less trafficked area. It can be much less crowded than many national parks. Located just south of Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons are one of Wyoming’s most stunning mountain locations. I am also in CO, my FH cousin just did the Self-Solemnization ceremony with her now husband on the top of a 14ner. Lake Tahoe is a very large lake that covers portions of both California and Nevada. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! (We could have filed it on the spot if we had brought our two witnesses with us to City Hall.). This post includes some of the best mountain elopement locations in the United States. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. There are a few more states that having a form of self uniting marriage here, with certain caveats. Some of its unique features include geysers like Old Faithful and volcanic calderas. Each state listed above application process will vary. Anyone else needs a court order to get a copy of a confidential marriage record. Ultimately, you can self solemnize, but you can't have friends or family pronounce you as husband and wife. Solemnization Of Marriage FAMILY.CODE SECTION 420-426 420. However, we would’ve loved to have been able to find examples of full ceremony scripts from couples who wrote their own self-uniting marriage ceremony scripts. Wintertime elopements are truly beautiful, but equally unpredictable. Download it here. our list of states that allow self-uniting marriage, there have already been lawsuits over this, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships, Self-Uniting Marriage Can Save Brides Money | Femme Frugality, https://femmefrugality.com/nix-the-officiant-self-uniting-marriages-can-save-budget-conscious-brides/. Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! I’m glad this was helpful and that you were able to get married the way you wanted! Want to see the language included in this letter? Shoot Femme an email if you’re facing this problem as a Californian and she’ll get you connected to the appropriate people. Fall is also a beautiful time of year, when the leaves start to change and it’s not as hot in certain lower elevation areas. (916) 445-2236. There’s no waiting period, so … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Other states that allow some form of self-uniting marriage are Wisconsin, Colorado, The District of Columbia, California, Maine and Nevada. Regardless of which type is selected, witness’ signatures are not required on the marriage license. The ceremony must occur within 35 days after the license is issued in order for it to be lawfully valid. When Josh and I were planning our self-uniting wedding ceremony and drafting our script, we gleaned some inspiration from examples of similar weddings we found online. Yes, even though the majority of states in the U.S. don’t allow self solemnization to occur in their state, your self uniting marriage is just as legitimate and legal as anyone else’s. It’s worth noting that you can only have your ceremony and say your vows at the 13 sites designated for weddings. One final note on mountain elopements: Self solemnization! The Montana Supreme Court has set out the elements for creating a valid common law marriage: First, the parties must be competent to enter into a marriage. The North Georgia mountains may not be the first place you think of to elope, but its Blue Ridge mountain views will not disappoint. Also, beware, if you move to another state, they may not recognize your marriage. Note: Couples choosing to self solemnize should be aware that only Colorado and one or two other states recognize a self-solemnized ceremony. In other states, the procedures for “Quaker marriage” vary. By way of background, the Pilgrims had scarcely arrived and established their fundamentalist, theocratic colony when they started persecuting anyone who didn’t worship the same God in the same way. (a) No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the physical presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife. California Department of Public Health – Vital Records So I will only talk about DC. Best Mountain Elopement Locations in the United States. Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision! This post may contain affiliate links. That makes four possible combinations. What kind of frugal bride wouldn’t be interested? Want a private California elopement location with epic views? Kansas law requires two adult witnesses attend your marriage ceremony. Or check out more elopement planning resources…. 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