So You Don’t Want a “Wedding Ceremony”: Is a “Certificate Signing” for you?




Most couples I have met with have thought about ditching their big wedding at some point in the planning process.  Others have parents or grandparents offering to give them large sums of money to “just elope” and use the money as a down payment on a house, car, etc.   Still others stare mindlessly at the guest list and just want to throw their hands up and run off to the local magistrate.  But there are those who have never had a second thought about planning their big day and enjoy every crazy moment of the process.

So, what about those who just want to get married and not have a celebration?  What options are available for them?  Do they have to resign themselves to the impersonal office of a local magistrate or the church office of their grandmother’s minister?  Of course not!

Certificate signings or elopements are the perfect way to keep that personal touch for your marriage, yet keep you from stressing over things that you don’t want to stress over.

So what are certificate signings or elopements?  Simply stated, you and your significant other, along with your valid marriage license, meet up with your local Humanist Celebrant at a location of your choosing,  here you will state your intention and the license is signed, then ta-da! you’re married.  Clean and simple.    Some couples choose to get married in their home, others will come to the Celebrant’s office, or you can choose a location that is important to you.

As for vows, you can choose a standard vow format or create something of your own.  It’s completely up to you.  Or you can choose to just state your intention in front of your celebrant.

Who prefers certificate signings or elopements?  Anyone can choose this type of ceremony.  It can be a couple who has been together for several years and who just want to legalize their relationship.  It can also be an older couple who don’t really have that many friends or family members around.  It can also be couples who live far away from their families and are planning a celebration in the near future when they go home for a visit.  It can also be a couple who just don’t want the attention and prefer to keep things low-key.  You can choose these ceremonies to save money, time, or just because.

Despite choosing a certificate signing to save money, there will still be some costs involved.  Your celebrant will charge a fee to legalize your marriage and file your license with the county clerks office.  And of course, you might choose to exchange rings, host a dinner for friends afterwards, perhaps new outfits, and there may be a fee to use a location like a state park, winery, etc.

When contacting your local Humanist Celebrant, you will want to make sure you express your intent to just have a certificate signing or elopement.  Sometimes, celebrants will run specials on these types of ceremonies around romantic holidays such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, or Christmas Eve.  And some celebrants have been known to add special touches to these ceremonies so make sure they have plenty of time to make your certificate signing/elopement just a little bit more personal.

Have you done a certificate signing or elopement?  How did you make it personal and unique to you and your significant other?  Comment below!

In my next post, I’ll share pictures of some of my brides and their unique wedding dress choices!

Thanks for reading and until next time,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s