MAKE SURE YOUR WEDDING IS LEGAL IN ARIZONA
MARRIAGE LICENSE: Have you applied and received your Marriage License in Arizona yet? If not, you must have your marriage license PRIOR to your wedding ceremony starting. See our blog on Obtaining a Marriage License.
LICENSED OR ORDAINED CLERGY: Asking a friend or family member to officiate your ceremony may give your wedding a level of intimacy you may not get otherwise, yet if you're asking a non-professional to write your wedding script, make sure it's legally binding. Marriages may be performed by duly licensed or ordained clergy (including judges, ministers, or other persons who by customs, rules and regulations of a religious society are authorized or permitted to officiate at marriage ceremonies). Make sure your officiant is familiar with State of Arizona laws.
Once you have applied for and received your Arizona marriage license, these next steps are crucial to include in your ceremony for legalities.
1). NAMES: Have your officiant insert/use your proper names. Both people need to be identified, so we know we have the right people. “We are gathered here today for the wedding of <name> and <name>."
2). DECLARATION OF INTENT: “Are you, here of your own free will, and do you intend to marry?” This is the “I Do" or "I Will" that you answer individually, in front of witnesses.
3). VOW EXCHANGE: “I <name>, take thee <name>, to be my <husband/wife/loving companion>.
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, until death do us part.”
REMEMBER: You are marrying your intended spouse, not the officiant. Face each other, hold hands, and gaze into each others eyes. This is your promise to become each other’s legal partner. You may customize your vows. VARIETY of VOWS: You may have your officiant recite the vows and you respond,“I Do,” or “I Will.” You may read or recite the vows yourself, or you may have the officiant recite each line of the vows and you repeat each line after them.
4). SIGNING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE WITH WITNESSES and OFFICIANT: The officiant, the couple, and two witnesses must sign and date the marriage license. The officiant mails or files the legal portion of the form as soon as possible (yet must be within 30 days of the wedding ceremony). Expiration of an Arizona marriage license is one year from the date of issuance.
5). PRONOUNCEMENT: “In front of witnesses, this couple has declared their intention to join their lives in marriage…and we now accept them as husband and wife, please welcome the new <name> and <name> (if changing your name, .”
5 STEP PURPOSE: Your words may vary, yet the purpose of each step is the same:
1). Establish who you are;
2). Agree you are here of your own free will, and your intention is to be married;
3). Promise to the other person to be their spouse;
4). Sign the legal license with officiant and witnesses; and
5). Pronouncement by the officiant that we have witnessed this legal contract.
Make sure your ceremony has these basic, minimal parts, and that your officiant mails or files the license within 30 days from the date of your wedding ceremony with the State of Arizona.