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I Do (some) Weddings (illegally)

by adam at 12:00 AM on October 13, 2004

I thought I'd found a new side business: weddings. I just helped a friend do the welcoming and introductions at his wedding reception, and I'm scheduled to perform a wedding in the middle of next month. I recall when an acquaintance was trying to get married last year. Neither the prospective bride nor groom had any religious affiliation or inclination; all they wanted was someone to perform a secular wedding. Of course, this is New York, the City Where You Can't Get Anything Done, and there's no such thing as the justice of the peace here. If you want a civil service, your options are: go to City Hall (very romantic); know a judge or ship's captain. And ... that's about it. I could do weddings, and get rich, or at the very least slightly less poor! Well, not so fast chimpy.

I looked into what it takes to become a registered wedding officiant here, and I found out a couple of things. First, if you're not a judge or a clergy person, you're pretty much S.O.L. when it comes to conducting weddings in New York City. The other interesting thing I found was that the Universal Life Church is specifically disallowed, though I am not entirely sure why. I could open a storefront church and wave the Bible around like a magical amulet and I'd be all set wedding-wise, so what's the difference, really? Aside from the storefront and pew rental, of course.

I've been going along under the assumption that I was good to go to perform weddings in NYC, and I'm a little bit disappointed to discover otherwise. As a fairly secular guy I'm also MORE that a little bit curious about how any government decides what's a legit religion and what isn't (remember this?) In Canada, you can't be recognized as a religion unless your ceremony involves the worship of a deity, unless you've been doing whatever it is that you do instead of worshipping a deity for a long time (like most Buddhists) in which case you are, for some mysterious reason, fine. In this country we're a little bit more liberal (hah!) about such things, and so you can have a Humanist Celebrant do your wedding if you can find one riding his unicorn around town. But I still wonder: in such a huge city, with an actual MARRIAGE BUREAU that has an Internets site and everything, why do we not have a Justice of the Peace?

comments (7)

Chimpy? Internets? HA!!!

That is a shame though. A friend of mine got ordained online by something or other and was then able to perform a wedding. And he calls god Jake Steel and has some other pretty weird beliefs that I think mean he's not really that religious.

Could you just get ordained online & fake it to the City of New York?

by Linz at October 13, 2004 12:15 PM

Amy and I used a marriage celebrant to perform our ceremony. We found her in the yellow pages under marriage celebrant. It was all pretty painless actually.

by Ezy at October 13, 2004 1:13 PM

So you are saying getting married by you would be more romantic than going to the justice of the peace? How so? If I hire you for my wedding, would you show up naked? Play a harp? I'm just not feeling it.

by mg at October 13, 2004 4:18 PM

Marriages can be be so boring, like the debates. Why not spice them up a little as Naked News has done to news broadcasts?

by anna at October 13, 2004 6:01 PM

Heh, you said "Internets."

by mg at October 13, 2004 9:47 PM

Adam, might I suggest that you hold off on marrying yourself until you find a hottie who happens to be named Eve. You'll be on every invitation list by virtue of your names alone. Just stay away from the snakes.

by anna at October 15, 2004 10:11 AM

watch TV show " weird weddings " it is a good program. yahoo!!!

by wasi siddiqui at October 1, 2006 3:43 PM

comments are closed