I decided to write this blog post to help couples feel comfortable as they are looking for a wedding officiant. I hope it answers your questions or puts your mind as ease.
It’s January! It’s time to hunker down now that the holiday rush is through and it’s time to address wedding details. Chances are you already have the venue, the caterer and the photographer. Those are usually the most important decisions to make. What’s your date? Where are you getting married? Who’s going to feed everyone? And, who’s going to capture it all in pictures? You’ve probably said “Yes!” to the dress. If you are getting married in a church you have most likely booked your pastor or priest and are in the midst of pre-marital classes and counseling, meeting the requirements to get married in your church. Or, maybe not. Maybe you just realized you need to hire an officiant to marry you. How do you do that?
This time of year, I’m spending a lot of time on correspondence and meeting with couples who are looking a wedding officiant. I do a lot of talking before booking. There are many interesting points I’ve recognized in during the process and you might find them helpful.
I’m always booking weddings. It’s a Monday morning and I have a Small Family Wedding in Greenwood at noon today. I added online scheduling and I booked a Civil Ceremony for tomorrow afternoon last night while I was sitting in bed. The couple didn’t have to call or email, they are in need of a simple service and just booked it. I’ll meet them for the first time tomorrow when we sign their marriage license. My calendar can be nearly empty right now, as I look at it, and somehow, by the end of December, I’ll have married somewhere around 500 couples. It’s the nature of my business.
I can look over my calendar for the year and see weekends that have weddings scheduled with large chunks of time blocked out. Those are something completely different. Those are the formal weddings that are usually a year or more in the making. Formal Weddings are something completely different. Formal Weddings require planning, planning and more planning. They also require a lot of money and discussions as to how that money is going to be spent. Some people plan right down to the minute detail and other plan a little more broadly and allow the details to fall where they may.
I’ve got several wedding’s on my calendar that have been booked a year or more in advance. Those couples are generally choosing Indy as the place to get married but no longer live here. They may have grown up here, have family here or they went to school here. Sometimes, Indy is a great central location for everyone to meet in the middle of the country. These couples are doing all of their planning from a distance and know they need to look at details and book everything ahead of time. They usually plan to be in Indy several weekends over the year before their wedding and they schedule meetings to meet with all of their vendors while they are here. They have to be that organized. I have a strong online presence and I have a very detailed website. My business is set up to do just about all the planning online. My weddings that are booked a year or more in advance are usually booked by these couples. They know it will be worth the money to hire a local professional they can easily have digital access to.
I’m spending a lot of time at Starbucks this month meeting couples. Many of these couples don’t really know what they are looking for, they know they need to find a person to marry them and they are looking at their options. They might schedule several meetings with different officiants to get an idea of who may be a good match for them. Often, couples don’t know anything about a wedding ceremony and I give them a lot of information during the meeting. Some couples are just scheduling meetings because an online checklist tells them they should meet with several different vendors to find the perfect one. Some couples have done a lot of research on who they’d like to marry them and have narrowed it down to a few they are meeting with.
I’ve learned a lot from meeting with so many couples. I’m not offended if someone doesn’t choose me to marry them. I realize I don’t really have any competition as a wedding officiant for formal weddings. Couples are really looking for a good match for them. Often, they have certain needs they need met. They may need someone with a certain look. I’m not a man. You might need a man to marry you for whatever reason. There are couples who specifically want a woman to marry them. Many formal weddings I perform are based on religious aspects. I book secular humanists that don’t want any mention of God in their ceremony and are happy to find someone that is willing to do that. Other couples want an interfaith ceremony that honors their different religious backgrounds. Some couples need a wedding officiant that can write and perform a ceremony that will make their families happy and not force them to compromise their own feelings and beliefs during their wedding ceremony. Once, a couple literally said, “We decided if we have to have a ceremony we wanted it to be kinda crazy and different so we decided you fit the bill.” I think that was a compliment? It was an awesome wedding, either way.
I’ve learned when meeting couples I get a chance to see if I really want to work with them. I know I get critiqued during a meeting. I’m doing the same thing. How did this couple correspond with me? Will I get along with them? Can I reasonably meet their needs? You might have a difficult situation. I totally understand that. I often have the skills you need to meet your needs and it’s not difficult for me. I’m probably closer to your parents age and can communicate with them easily to ease their minds about a non-church wedding. It’s just what I do. Sometimes when I get an email saying the couple has decided to hire a different officiant I can see why. We just didn’t get along at all. I understand how important this is to you and I want what is best for you and respect that only you know what really is best for you. Your wedding and your ceremony is a big deal! I might look good on paper, but you need an actual person to perform your wedding. Some people just need a bland man in a suit to say the perfunctory words expected during a wedding ceremony.
And then again, sometimes your wedding ceremony is really not a big deal. You never even really gave it much thought. The dress, the party, the band, the bridal party, the honeymoon… That’s all that’s really important. Maybe you are on the countdown to your wedding and your coordinator at your venue asked who your wedding officiant is and you just realized you don’t have one. I book a lot of formal weddings 4 months or less from the wedding date. Sometimes I don’t even meet these couples until the rehearsal or the wedding. We do everything by email. Often with just a few emails. They make a deposit, I send a ceremony, they either like the ceremony I send them or they lightly edit it and that’s it. They pay in full and that’s it.
Maybe you asked a friend or family member to marry you and now that it’s getting closer to the day you realize that situation is just not going to work out. Maybe in the beginning you figured you could write your own ceremony or your friend said they would take care of it and then backed out. You might have thought that you could save money on this aspect of your wedding or that you would enjoy writing the ceremony. You then realize that you have so many things on your plate right now that hiring a pro is actually worth the money and gives you peace of mind. Marry Me In Indy! To the rescue! I get calls and emails from mom’s or sisters or Maid’s of Honor a little frantic. I’m usually able to help.
This past summer I went from a leisurely holiday weekend to two formal weddings in a row. I’m usually that flexible. Couples choose to get married at all sorts of different times. Holiday weekends usually have Sunday weddings. Some weeks have formal weddings on Thursday or Friday. Not just Saturday. You can often save money on your venue by choosing a time that’s not Saturday afternoon at 4:30. I might book small weddings in the morning or early afternoon and then still have the evening open. You never know until you ask.
A wedding officiant is not a priest or a pastor. I became a wedding officiant because the priest that married me and my husband was a controlling, power hungry jerk. He was flexing his power because he knew he could and it was humiliating. Usually, I can be just about anything you need me to be. I can pray, I can not pray. I can communicate effectively with your parents, I can make everyone laugh or cry. I love my job and how diverse it is. You might be like everyone else in a lot of ways but you aren’t. You are you. You and the person you choose to marry are unique. As you enter into marriage you enter into an intimate relationship that only the two of you share. In your secrets or sense of humor or both. How you view the world is unique to you. I’m open to whatever you bring to the table. Don’t be afraid to ask! What you think may be a huge problem probably isn’t. It might have a very simple solution you simply hadn’t thought of or thought possible.
Please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to help!
A big thing in the wedding industry is pictures. It's not necessarily a big thing. More like a HUGE thing. Your wedding photographer is, like, EVERYTHING!! When you are researching vendors you are looking at everything in pictures first. You want your wedding to be beautiful! Even if you are planning a small, intimate elopement, you want it to be beautiful. Not to mention romantic and perfect!
I'm a wedding officiant. What kind of pictures can I possible have to use on my website to express what I do and entice you to look further? I've taken thousands of pictures with my phone for the thousand of couples I've married. They captured the moment for what it was but camera phone pictures really don't translate into a pretty website. I don't have pretty cakes or flowers to show or even pretty dresses or table linens. I have words. That's my job. Other then signing marriage licenses, I find the right words and deliver the right words in the right way at the right time. It makes it difficult to put together a website that realistically expresses what I do in pictures.
It's a photograph that catches the attention of a reader. And it has to be the right photograph. When I was in third grade I had to do a report on Benjamin Franklin. I took the easy way out, and instead of reading what the children's encyclopedia actually wrote about Franklin I reported that Benjamin Franklin invented the kite, instead of experimenting with electricity, because the picture had him flying a kite. My father quickly corrected me, I think. Or maybe he helped me after my teacher told me to go home and do it again. It was too many years ago to remember!
I've collected some great single pictures from some great photographers who have shared their work with me. Otherwise, I've gotten creative with Google Images to fill in the gaps. A picture of a civil ceremony is different from a formal wedding which is different from an elopement. I do all those things. Sometimes I do all of those things in one day. Sometimes, I marry couples in secret, so I have to be careful with pictures too. I might marry you today, but everyone you know may think you are actually getting married next June. Oh, the secrets I keep!
Last year, I was absolutely blown away by the gift of the photographs currently all over the top of my website. I had a Small Family Wedding at the Indiana State House on a Saturday afternoon in September. I often never know what to expect, having only communicated by email or phone or text before a wedding. I just hope I wear the right outfit for the occasion. That can be more complicated that it sounds. Sometimes the couple is in jeans or shorts on a Saturday evening and don't want a ceremony, just their marriage license signed. (I got dressed up for this?) And sometimes they are in a formal wedding dress and a suit, on a Thursday afternoon. You just never know unless you ask and sometimes it just seems too obvious to ask! This particular Saturday I met Casey and her Camera. She was running around taking care of a beautiful bride, capturing all the perfect pictures. She even had particular instructions for me so she could get the best shot. I always welcome instruction!
I didn't get to know Casey better until a few months later she sent me all these wonderful pictures! I was blown away! I was so excited to have pictures to market all the wonderful small weddings I do. 8 years and over 2500 weddings later, my business is about small weddings. Civil Ceremonies and elopements happen just about every day. You can't get married at the courthouse so I fill the need. Over the past few years, as couples have realized they can't just run to the courthouse and get married, this new kind of elopement, or small family wedding has started to become popular. Just immediate family as guests, if there are any guests at all, a fabulous dinner or weekend in a fancy hotel, and an AMAZING photographer!! Brides are still going dress shopping and getting their hair and makeup professionally done. There are still emotional first looks with their bride or groom, and/or father. The iconic Indy wedding photo's are still taken on Monument Circle or any of Indy's other popular spots. It's all just being done on a small, more intimate and more affordable scale.
Casey and I have done several of these elopements. One was all scheduled and performed within a few days just last week. The couple found the pictures and the idea won them over immediately! We have more being scheduled as January, and all out wedding planning season, gets into full swing. When I say the pictures are EVERYTHING, I really mean it. I know my job as a wedding officiant is important and what I do is different for everyone. Some people choose me for me and others choose me because they simply need to hire someone to fill the need. Hire a photographer who is passionate about photographs and capturing your moments. Casey recently said that she just considers herself a fly on the wall capturing the moment.
I know there are a lot of camera's out there and many people who know how to use them. But, a professional photographer is something different. They have a whole different perspective of what makes a great photo and great photo shoot. They plan ahead, they scout out the area. They take into consideration the time of day and where the sun will be at that time. They've already purchased a photography pass to have access to some of the prettiest private gardens. They can suggest photo's you didn't even think of that will be the perfect memories for years to come. I highly recommend Casey and her camera. Check her out on her website. You can read about her here. She loves exclamation points as much as I do!!!!!! You can contact here here.
Budget wedding suggestions when the weather is not so great....
It's getting chilly in Indy... It's also been a rainy wedding season in general. My $120 Indy Elopement is a great budget elopement option when the weather is good. But what to do when it's not so good and you are still on a budget?
First of all. I don't offer a backup plan. I officiate weddings, I don't plan them. I offer options in public spaces to keep the prices low. If you choose to book the $120 Indy Elopement you do so at your own risk. I'm more than happy to re-schedule the same day or a different day. I'm also happy to have you change locations at the last minute within reason. I can give you suggestions but you are responsible for contacting the locations yourself and making reservations and payments. Going into winter, I suggest making arrangements and booking a Small, Family Wedding for $150 that can be held in a restaurant, Bed and Breakfast, small venue or even your own home. If you are planning on dinner, you can often use a room in the restaurant to have a small ceremony. Often you can rent a club house or activity room in your housing development or apartment complex for a nominal fee.
The picture above was taken in the auditorium in the nature center at Holiday Park is in the Meridian Hills area of Northwest Indianapolis. They have beautiful outdoor ruins where you can take pictures if it’s not too cold. They also rent rooms where you can get married at very reasonable prices.
Garfield Park Conservatory is located in Garfield Park on the south side of Indianapolis It’s an indoor garden so it’s always lovely for pictures. They rent out their waterfall area for weddings for up to 20 people with standing room only. The price starts at $295 with more expensive options for more people.
Indianapolis City Market is a place where I will meet couples, just the couple, to sign their marriage license and make your marriage legal. It is a very simple civil wedding. If you would like to have more people at your wedding, you can book your event with City Market directly. They will reserve a public space for you for as little as $50. There are also many vendors and a bar within the market so you can arrange for a cake and even a champagne toast if you like.
Click here for more information on my $120 Indy Elopement
Click here for more information on my $150 Small, Family Wedding.
Victoria Meyer is an ordained minister providing professional wedding officiant services in the greater Indianapolis area and all of Indiana. Please contact her with more questions.
Call or text (317)403-7379
Elopements are a big part of my business as a wedding officiant in Indy. Some couples just want something simple instead of a big, formal, wedding. Some couples want both! An elopement to make your marriage legal today, either with friends or very privately, and then a large, formal wedding with family and friends later. A new trend I'm seeing is couples who just want a small, elopement-style wedding with very close family and a great photographer. Later, they may have a party with more family and friends. There are a LOT of virtues to the small wedding and elopements. There is less stress and a huge reduction in cost. It's also a very, sweet, intimate, memorable exchange between the couple being married.
The one thing that is really important in these small weddings is pictures. I've worked with several photographers recently and want to share their pictures and services to give you some great ideas for an intimate wedding where you can still wear the dress , carry the bouquet, and have the first look. You can say "I do" and record it all in pictures. Seeing the pictures after the wedding really puts your wedding, no matter the size, in a whole different light. It takes you back to the moment every time you look at them.
I met Brittany Erwin several years ago when I was officiating a wedding at Pipers at the Marott. If you aren't familiar with the Indianapolis venue, they have a beautiful atrium. The couple getting married were having a Hobbit themed wedding and getting married among the greenery and fountains of the atrium fit perfectly. I remember the couple as the one that wrote each other's vows on vintage looking scrolls and then exchanged the scrolls. The scrolls were unique and in line with the Hobbit theme. Even more interesting, was when they had to read out loud what the other had written about them as part of their vow exchange. Yes, you read that right. It takes a certain personality to feel comfortable with that!
A few years later Brittany and I were at the same weddings two weeks in a row. We noticed a pattern of the interesting couples at whose weddings we were meeting. I remember clicking with the couples over all things gloriously nerdy! The next wedding included a World of Warcraft grooms cake. The next was at the Indianapolis Zoo where this famous picture where the tiger was shot. The tiger was very interested in the bride's dress. That couple was not going to an island on the their honeymoon. They were headed to a spot in Brooklyn right on the train line into Manhattan with a busy itinerary planned. Not downtime for them!
When I say Brittany is the photographer for all things gloriously nerdy, I'm not kidding. She is a self proclaimed nerdy geek. She has a full schedule of photo shoots at Gen Con where she will capture your cosplay in beautiful pictures. She also LOVES zombies!! Last year she planned an entire zombie photo shoot! She had recently photographed a wedding for a couple that loved zombies as much as she did. They came and played the couple that was attacked by zombies on their wedding day. She works with Carmel based, Lorena Somers make up artist, who spent the day creating zombies and zombie aftermath! It also helped that Brittany had several friends who got be become zombies for the day! You can view the entire zombie photo shoot here.
Brittany always tells couples this: "You need to like the photographer you choose because you are going to spend your entire wedding day with them!" I've had a family photo shoot with Brittany and my boys loved her. She also took a head shot I LOVE. The wonderful thing about a great photographer is they can easily become part of the family. It starts with your engagement photo's, then your wedding photo's. Baby bumps and new born photo's make way for annual family photos. Sure, you have a smart phone to take pictures but a professional photographer is going to produce pictures you will want to share for years and years to come.
Brittany is a graduate of Herron School of the Art and Design at IUPUI. She has a studio in her home on Indy's west side and is happy to travel to wherever you are getting married. You can read her bio here.
I love it when I hear couples I'm marrying have booked Brittany for their elopement pictures. If you aren't sure where you want to elope, a professional photographer can tell you what spots in the greater Indianapolis area are great for photographs. The willow trees in White River State Park, the clock tower in front of the Indiana State Museum or Cox Hall Gardens. I performed a quick elopement for a couple this summer. Brittany was able to photograph them at the place they got engaged and the place they eloped. They will be getting married in a large ceremony again with family and friends in another state but the couple was able to share the intimacy of a very private elopement with just me, as the officiant, and Brittany, taking pictures. If you are wondering what your simple elopement could look like in pictures Here is a link to a recent elopement we did together.
Are you planning a formal wedding ceremony but having a friend or family member marry you? Do you have questions about how do that? Does it sound good in theory but not turning out as you planned? I'm happy to announce that I am not offering a professional wedding ceremony consultation service.
I am a professional full service wedding officiant with something to offer every couple getting married. Some couples just want me to sign their marriage license and make it legal before they head off for a destination wedding. Some couples have me do the legal part and then have a friend or relative perform the ceremony. Each year I get several calls from couples asking me to perform their ceremony because their plans of having that person marry them fell through. I realize you probably wanted that person to marry you for a reason. Maybe that person is very special to you and it would mean the world to you for them to perform your wedding ceremony. Maybe you just want to save money. Either way, I've come come up with an affordable solution to the problem. Of course, I'm always happy to be the person to officiate your wedding and perform your ceremony but I also want you to have what you want on your wedding day.
The Wedding Ceremony Consultation is already part of my Formal Wedding Ceremony Packages. As part of the Wedding Ceremony Package a $100 deposit is required to save your date and time. When I receive that deposit, I forward you your ceremony. If you change your wedding plans you keep the ceremony. Now, for $100, you can just take advantage of the professional consultation. We can sit down face to face or via Facetime or Skype and go over your wedding ceremony. I'll ask you questions about you, what you want and don't want in your ceremony. I'll explain how a ceremony works, go over unity ceremony options, writing your own vows, and more. Together, we can figure out what kind of ceremony you want and then write that ceremony. I will forward you a complete ceremony document going over everything you need to know about your ceremony and the rehearsal. We'll write a personalized ceremony for you. Don't worry, you don't have to have it all done the first time, you get time to edit and ask additional questions. The person who performs your ceremony will have everything they need and you will be ready to rehearse. We can also make arrangements to complete the legal paperwork. If it's done at a different time an additional fee may apply. Your marriage is legal the day we sign the paperwork.
I'm happy to plan religious, non-religious, atheist and romantic ceremonies. Put my years of experience planning and performing wedding ceremonies to work for you.
Included in this package is one meeting in real time, either in person or via video chat. Two follow-up phone consultations, unlimited emails, and a complete ceremony document including your ceremony and rehearsal directions.
Contact me today to schedule your consultation or schedule online here.
Marry Me In Indy the Blog.
Get Married TODAY in Indy. Reverend Victoria Meyer, your wedding officiant in Indianapolis.
Did you wake up this morning and decide to get married? It happens! Congratulations!! Some people plan ahead, some people act on impulse. If it's a weekday and not a holiday, you can get married today in Indy. There is no waiting period. Click here to apply online. You will need to apply online in just about any county in Indiana. You can apply online before you go to the clerks office or you can use their computers when you get there. Be sure to bring proper ID. A valid driver's license or a passport. If you live in Indiana bring proof of you current address. If you have the correct address on your driver's license you are set. If not, bring a utility bill. Divorced? Bring your certified divorce decree. The fee is $18 if you are an Indiana resident. Coming from out of state? The fee is $60. Certified copies are $2 each.
Once you have your marriage licesne you will need someone to marry you. A preacher, a pastor, a judge or a wedding officiant. A wedding officiant is the easiest option. That's what I do! I can meet your at the courthouse and marry you. I can perform a simple, Justice of the Peace style ceremony or, meet me on Monument Circle for an a romantic elopement! Click here to book your appointment now!
Have questions? Please call!
Marry Me In Indy the Blog.
Get Married TODAY in Indy. Reverend Victoria Meyer, Your Wedding Officiant in Indianapolis.
Getting married in the state of Indiana is a rather simple process. It doesn't take much to get a marriage license and sign it. Just remember, it will take a whole lot more to unto the marriage license through divorce.
Where do I get a marriage license? The County Clerk
Marriage licenses in Indiana are issued by the county clerk in each county. Each county may have slightly different rules. Contact your county clerk to ask them any questions you might have. As a wedding officiant, I have a lot of answers to a lot of questions. But please, don't take my word for it. You can read the information on the state's website and call the clerk directly for specific questions. Here is a link to the Indiana's online marriage application with the specific information you will need.
What County Clerk to I go to?
If you are a legal resident of Indiana you will need to pick up your marriage license from the county you or your fiance legally reside in. For example, if you both live in Marion County, you must go to Marion County Clerk to pick up your marriage license. If one of you lives in Marion County and the other lives in Hamilton County, you can pick up your license in either county. This license issues to Indiana residents is good anywhere in the state.
What if I'm not an Indiana resident?
If neither of you are Indiana residents you must pick up your marriage license from the clerk in the county in which you are going to be married. You cannot be an out of state resident, pick your marriage license up in Hamilton County and then get married in Marion County. The license must be signed in the county in which it was issued.
How old do I have to be to get married?
You must be 18 to be issues a marriage license in Indiana. If either applicant is 17 their parents or guardians must be present to give consent. If either applicant is younger then 17 they will need to obtain a court order to be able to get a marriage license.
Is there any reason I would not be issued a marriage license?
Yes! You cannot be drunk or high. You cannot marry your first cousin unless you are over the age of 65. You must also be of sound mind. That mean, you are legally sane.
Want more legal info? Here is the link to the Indiana State Codes regarding marriage.
When should I pick up my marriage license?
Your marriage license is good for 60 days from the day it's issued. You can get married right away or any time within the next 60 days. There is no waiting period. If your Indiana marriage license expires you can apply for another one. If you loose it before it expires, you can get another copy.
What kind of ID do I need?
You will need a current (not expired), valid drivers license or state ID OR a passport OR a birth certificate. If the document is not in English it will need to be legally translated into English. The translated document will also need to be notarized.
If you are unsure about these documents, call the clerk to ask to be sure! You will also need to prove your address if are in Indiana resident. If you drivers license has your current address on it, that's all the ID you will need. If the address on your driver's license is incorrect, you will need a utility bill or a lease or another suitable document.
You will need to provide your social security number.
If you are divorced, you will need to know the date your divorce was finalized. Some counties require a certified copy of the divorce decree.
You will need to provide the full name, last known address and place of birth of your parents. This information is reported to the Indiana State Library (by law) for the purpose of genealogical research. If you don't honestly know the answers, that's OK. You will have to swear all the information you provide on the marriage license is correct to your best knowledge.
How much does it cost?
If one or both of the applicants is an Indiana resident the fee is $18. (two people, one license, one fee.) If you are both out of state residents the fee is $60. Certified copies of your marriage license are $2 each. Bring cash to be sure. If the county accepts credit cards they will charge a fee. Marion County accepts cash or card. Hamilton County only accepts Cash.
Other things to know.
You BOTH have to go to the county clerk in person to pick up the marriage license. Just because you apply online doesn't mean they will just mail it to you. A marriage license is a very serious legal document.
You can apply online before you go to the clerk's office or you can use the computer they provide in the Clerk's office. Either way, you will be applying online.
They will never ask you if you love each other or plan to spend the rest of your lives together before they issue you a marriage license. Do me a favor, think about it before you go and ask yourself the questions and seriously consider the answers.
Marry Me In Indy the Blog.
Get Married TODAY in Indy. Reverend Victoria Meyer, Your Wedding Officiant in Indianapolis.
The formal definition of "elope" it to run away secretly to get married, especially without parental consent. But, I think it can mean many things. I think of it as a quick, romantic, short and sweet wedding. I love them. I think they are exciting and romantic.
I’ve listened to many elder Indiana couples, usually grandparents of couples I’m marrying, tell the stories of the day they got married 50+ years ago. One couple remembers going to a farm where the person marrying them lived. They were out working in the garden. They told them to wait 10 minutes and the officiant reappeared dressed in a suit and his wife in a dress. They got married in their living room. It took all of a few minutes. When the officiant was done he said “if that don’t stick Y’all come back and we’ll do it again!” I love that and I’ve said it more than once at the end of an appropriate ceremony. I definitely used it at the end of their granddaughter's wedding that day. It was a plain and simple wedding. It’s simply the way things were done then.
I’ve definitely had my share of secret weddings. Sometimes they just want to make it legal for now and they will have a big wedding later. There have been more than one religious couple that has come to get married very secretly before their pastor marries them later. And yes, it has been so they can consummate the marriage a little earlier than the actual wedding night. It’s not a bad idea if you think about it. There is a lot of stress on your white wedding day without being stressed out about the wedding night. Every couple has their own way of doing things. They have their own beliefs. We often say during a ceremony that a marriage is the most intimate of relationships. Marriage is when you share all of yourself. Over time, the sex part gives way to a strong, intimate bond. That bond can be based on any number of things. For many couples, it’s based on faith in a higher power. For others, it’s faith in each other and the life they are building and living together. Married couples share each other’s secrets and they are partners in the same crime. 20 years later they may tell their kids about it, maybe they won’t. But it will always be theirs together.
If you choose to get married or elope in secret it can be for all the right reasons. I don’t think there are many shotgun weddings these days or family feuds for that matter. But a wedding can be stressful. Families might have certain expectations. Disagreements over the church and the ceremony, the venue, the budget, bridesmaid drama. Things that might be everything wonderful about one couple’s wedding may be a nightmare for another couple. Maybe your mom wants you to have the wedding she dreams of having for you instead of the wedding you really want. Spending a year or more not having fun planning a wedding you don’t really want can be a really bad way to start a marriage. Sometimes the wisest thing to do is make your own decision and go with it.
I have performed over 1000 quickie elopements. I’ve married several members of the same family. One day I had a mother come to get married. I had married her daughter a few months earlier. The mother was not shy to say that she stopped talking to her daughter when she found out she got married without her. But she also said, as soon as her grandson was born a few weeks afterward all was forgiven. The wedding was a matter of minutes. The grandson and the family will be forever.
Sometimes couples start planning a big wedding with the best of intentions but it just starts to fizzle. Their income has to go to pay for life instead of deposits and final payments on a big meal they know people probably won’t enjoy and half of their family might not even show up. They come and just “get it over with.” Usually, a couple has already been living together for quite some time before the wedding. It’s really not that big of a deal. But, the two of you can make it a big deal for you. You can be relaxed and in the moment when you share your vows with each other. You can take a trip or rent a fancy hotel room and have a fancy dinner.
One couple came down from northern Indiana to have a quickie. It was just the two of them and their 2 children. The bride’s brother surprised her with an overnight at the Conrad Hilton! They had planned an inexpensive motel and were surprised with an awesome gift. Their kids got to swim in the pool and enjoy the luxury. That can be the perfect wedding.
If you want to elope and that’s always been your plan go for it! If you resign to eloping make sure you make it special. I’ve had couples stop at the grocery store to pick up a cheap bunch of flowers and the florist was on duty and put together a quick bouquet free of charge. People on the street will rejoice with you. More than once we’ve had people stop and watch with enthusiasm and enjoyment a quick wedding on the canal. Sometimes, simple, intimate celebrations are the stuff that real memories are made of.
Questions? Want to book your elopement? Contact me!
Marry Me In Indy the Blog.
Get Married TODAY in Indy. Reverend Victoria Meyer, Your Wedding Officiant in Indianapolis.
Should I hire a professional wedding officiant or should I have a friend marry us?
This is a great question! I recently came across this questions on a wedding forum. The bride is having a small wedding of about 40 people in a restaurant. She has 4 family members or friends who could marry them. She is trying to decide if she should choose one of them or hire a professional. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only the best answer for each couple.
As a professional wedding officiant, the most logical answer would be to say anything to produce business. But, I perform an enormous number of budget weddings so I understand the needs of couples getting married and have created services with prices to reflect those needs. I might do one or two large weddings a weekend during the busier wedding months but I perform budget weddings just about every day of the year. I’ve got perspective on the subject.
First of all, in order to get married it’s just a legal document that you need to get from the county clerk’s office and then you need to have the legal document - the marriage license - signed. You need a person that can legally sign the paper. As an ordained minister, I can do that. Indiana is now full of ordained ministers for the sake of marrying couples. It’s a signature on a piece of paper. A wedding is something completely different.
Several years ago, I had some of my friends and neighbors performing weddings. I started as a stay at home mom trying to generate some extra income so I offered the same opportunity to them. I had one neighbor that has a degree in drama from IU. She can literally “perform” a wedding ceremony. Tell her what kind of wedding officiant you want and she can do that. It’s acting. My husband’s boss was having a destination wedding. We were unable to travel to marry them at their destination so I signed their marriage license with them over lunch before they left. They were legally married. Then, they had a friend perform the ceremony at their destination. Their friend had a wonderful time with it. He was preparing and practicing and it was awesome. They knew he would be great at it when they asked him and he was thrilled to have the opportunity!
Anyone can “perform” a ceremony. A religious leader may perform rituals in a religious ceremony that they are qualified to do within their religion that marries you within that religion. The state gives that religious leader the legal ability to make your marriage legal in the eyes of the state, however you are not required to have a religious ceremony in order to be legally married. You have a choice. I’m an ordained minister and that allows me to legally marry couples. The church that ordains me does so to promote religious freedom. There are no requirements so I can, and do, perform all types of ceremonies. I perform mostly romantic ceremonies that don’t invoke God in any way. A lawyer or a judge usually does the same thing.
If your wedding ceremony is very important to you and you want to orchestrate a formal ceremony with a large bridal party you need a person that is capable of doing that. A wedding officiant can do that, a wedding planner can do that, a friend or relative can do that. It depends on your experience. If you are having a large formal wedding ceremony and reception you most likely want to hire a professional to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. If you don’t want to do the research yourself, hire a professional to give you the information you need and organize your ceremony for you.
The ceremony itself is something different. A religious wedding is already written for you. You follow an service in a prayer book. All Catholics take part in the same ceremony. If you are not having a religious ceremony in a church you can have any sort of ceremony you want. There is an amazing amount of information on the internet as to how to put put together a wedding ceremony. I’ve gathered a lot of it, including wedding ceremonies that are already written. The information is there. If you read through a few ceremonies you’ll get an idea of what you want and don’t want in your ceremony. I give couples ideas and choices when I write their wedding ceremony. Many couples read it through and love it. It’s perfect. They choose a set of vows and they are done. I put that ceremony and many other ceremonies right on my website now. Anyone can read it, download it and use it. When I personalize a ceremony for a couple the couple needs to help me with that. I need to get to know enough about a couple in order to personalize a ceremony. Often, I will just point a couple in the right direction and they write the personal things themselves. I can’t write personal vows for you. I can point you in the right direction of how to express your feelings but only you can do that. Some couples already know exactly what they want. They give it to me to perform and that’s it. Sometimes I don’t even meet them before the rehearsal or the ceremony. I’m just the hired help.
If you are booking a wedding officiant many will make you book your wedding with them and put down a deposit before they will talk ceremony with you. They don’t want you to steal the ceremony and have someone else perform it. Chances are, they are using the same basic ceremony with every couple they marry. They create an illusion that they are doing something only they can do. I understand this. I’ve spent a lot of time with couples who just want ceremony information. I don’t make money off the conversations and it’s actually pretty hard to charge for the conversation. I’ve got all of it saved on my files so I decided to just to publish it on my website. It’s free to use. Some of it’s original, most of it is information I’ve gathered and put together in a new way. There are some officiants that do write a whole new ceremony for each couple. Some say it takes them quite a bit of time to do so. To be fair, it does take several hours to write an unique and personal ceremony. But is it necessary? Only you can decide.
I’ve had couples book me to officiate their ceremony and paid top dollar and specified they wanted a short, to the point ceremony. 7 minutes seems to be the magical number for many. One bride really just wanted to enjoy her very lavish party. Another couple was just too scared they would cry through the entire thing and wanted to avoid it. Both couples said they received compliments on the length of the ceremony. With that perspective, you might not find it necessary to hire a professional.
One big aspect you may want to keep in mind in how well the ceremony is performed. I know that I can perform my ceremonies well. I can invoke emotion and insert humor. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’ve performed weddings by death beds of loved ones or in cancer units of hospitals. Humor wasn’t appropriate there. I’ve listened to friends or family members read a poem or passage and nobody could hear or the presentation was flat. Couples looking for a friend or family member to perform their wedding ceremony usually look for someone with a great personality.
Another perspective I’ve come across, actually pretty common in the bible belt, are couples who have several pastors in their family. They don’t know which one to choose so they hire someone. Often, the couple is not religious at all so they hire me to perform a secular ceremony and if they need to, can blame it on me. I’m OK with that. I want couples to have the ceremony they want. That’s my job.
Weddings always have the reputation for being expensive. Either you have money to spend on a wedding without thinking about it or you are watching every penny. The first questions from most couples is “how much?” You have to make a list of priorities and decide what you are getting for your money. There are professionals that charge a lot of money and may not deliver a spectacular ceremony. There are others that charge a lot less and love their job and deliver perfection.
It’s your ceremony. What do you imagine your ceremony to be and why? What do you really want? I had two weddings. One in my husband’s native Germany and another in the church I grew up in. The first one was in German and required a legal translator, the second was a disaster because the priest decided to be a real jerk. But honestly? In the end, all I really wanted was to spend the rest of my life with my husband. That was a commitment we had already made without words. The weddings were for legal reasons and because that is what I really thought I should do. I grew up in the church I wanted to be married in because “that’s what people do.” Looking back after 25 years it’s really not the ceremony, it was the time we spent together on our honeymoon, decorating our house and being together that mattered.
Should you hire a professional of have a friend or family member marry you? You marry each other.
Do you have more questions? Ask!
Reverend Victoria Meyer
Your Wedding Officiant in Indianapolis
Today, Tomorrow, Forever
Marry Me In Indy! The Blog
I have been a wedding officiant in Indianapolis for over 8 years. I marry all sorts of couples. One of the most common are couples who need to get married TODAY - The same day you pick your license up! Yes, some people plan a wedding for a year or longer and some people just need to get legally married today. No matter what the reason, I can help you with that! Same day weddings are very much a reality! When you get to the courthouse and they tell you they no longer marry couples you may be at a loss thinking How can I get married today? You planned on having a same day wedding. Not to worry. I can marry you today in Indy!
I've had couples call last minute because the officiant for the big wedding cancelled and they need someone now or because someone is deploying or sick and needs insurance or they are planning a destination wedding. Sometimes, people get up in the morning and decide they simply want to get married TODAY! A legal task or a romantic elopement. I can marry you!
I can meet you at the courthouse to marry you. You can't get married inside the courthouse but I meet couples outside and sign the papers and even perform a ceremony and take pictures if you like. It's probably the quickest and least expensive option in downtown Indianapolis. There other places that will marry you downtown in an office but their prices generally start at $99 and only one is within walking distance. They usually don't open until 9 or 10. I am able to met you at the courthouse to marry you at 8 when the clerk's office opens, if you like. My fee is $60 and I accept cash, card or PayPal. You can even ask the ladies in the clerk's office about me. I've married hundreds of couples and they can vouch for me!
If you need a same day wedding in Indy today contact me. Even on weekends!!
Marry Me In Indy the Blog
Victoria Meyer has been a professional wedding officiant providing legal wedding services and performing weddings in Indiana for the past 8 years. She has married over 2500 couples. You can get married today in Indy! She has received the Couples Choice Reward from Wedding Wire 5 years running. She has been State Best and Local Best according to My Wedding's since 2013. She has also been voted Best of The Knot.