I officially hate Weddings; the act of planning a Wedding and getting everything sorted out is the worst and some days I feel as if I’m at my wit’s end with it all.
My Fiance and I decided early on that we didn’t care for a large or complicated Wedding. Unfortunately my Mother is determined to change that at every turn she possibly can; if it’s not insisting on more guests, then it’s insisting on more decorations or anything else she can to make it bigger and better in her mind. And despite being far too large, she’s also insisting that I wear her old Wedding Dress.
But as much as I could talk about my Mother, her meddling is the least of my worries right now.
Usually, once your Marriage Certificate was approved you would be able to walk over to the office of the Justice of the Peace on a certain day, have him Officiate a small secular ceremony, then sign the Marriage Certificate, and you would be legally married once you walked back over to the Court Clerk’s office and filed it; at least that’s how it was when I almost got married in 2009 (thank the Gods that never happened, though).
Unfortunately, the County we live in no longer allows the Justices of the Peace to officiate Judicial Marriages. In fact, according to the Woman I spoke to that 10 different Court Clerks round the state today- none of whom could give me the exact year- “Oklahoma stopped doing that years ago”; apparently our entire state has been phasing out the role of Justice of the Peace entirely, making it nigh impossible to get married in any Courthouse in our State.
It now means that by Oklahoma State Law, the only other way I can get married in our county is to find a Clergyman and have them do a ceremony. Looking at the current laws on the books is frustrating, though; so far I’ve discovered that we have to have a formal ceremony regardless of what we want to do. And by the requirements, it almost completely has to be done by a religious authority whose ordination is legal in our state.
All marriages must be contracted by a formal ceremony performed in the presence of at least 2 witnesses, and an ordained or authorized preacher, priest, minister of the Gospel, or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been ordained by a religious organization that has the legal authority to ordain.
Ordained ministers of the gospel of any denomination who are at least 18 years of age may perform marriages. Ministers must file a copy of their credentials with the county clerk before performing marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the clerk or judge who issued the marriage license.
This is incredibly frustrating for us as we wanted a small, secular judicial ceremony by ourselves and to hold a reception later for everyone else.
The forced religious element is leaving me particularly distressed at the moment; to be completely honest, at this point the process essentially feels as if they are pushing Christian methods. Especially when you take into account the fact that they are limiting and outright taking away secular methods of getting married- which is the infuriating part because a Marriage (Certificate) =/= a (Wedding) Ceremony in the first place.
The Laws are the Laws, though, as much as I disagree with this one at the moment. And if the State of Oklahoma says I have to have a formal Ceremony, 2 Witnesses, and a Religiously Ordained whatever… Then I don’t really have a choice. But at the very least I can do it my way- which means a Pagan Ceremony, my In-Laws be damned.
Unfortunately I have gotten nowhere fast when it comes to finding an Officiant who is willing to perform a more Secular Pagan Ceremony instead of your typical Neo-Wiccan one; the adds I have managed to find have been utterly mind numbing and terrifying; the exact community of people whom I try to avoid at all costs. And at this point I have no idea what we will do.
What I do know, however, is that my future Husband and I have decided to move up the date for the wedding- even if it’s causing us a lot of grief. We’ve made this decision because of my Mother’s meddling primarily. But we’ve also made it because after months of difficulty finding a place of our own, my parents have offered us a house that they bought as a Wedding gift.
It wasn’t exactly a benevolent offer- nor did they specifically buy it for us- though; they bought the house with my Father’s work injury settlement, for $5,000 USD, from a friend who needed the money for medical treatment. Initially they wanted to move into it themselves, but they don’t want to do the work on it and it was too small for them. They initially thought about offering it to my Sister first, but with 3 kids and a Boyfriend a 1 bedroom house is far too small for them as well… And so my soon-to-be-husband and I are the last pick to offload it short of reselling it- and it needs too much work for that to really be a viable option.
As of right now, the plan is essentially to get married as soon as possible, in the quickest way possible, as cheaply as possible, and then begin renovating the house. We’re hoping to be in by early to mid Spring, and are keeping our fingers crossed that this helps us reduce the absurd mount of stress that’s formed over all of this; starting my Marriage off stressed to the teeth is not something that I want.
Here’s to keeping our fingers crossed!