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What Is Self-Solemnization? Tips for Officiating Your Own Wedding

Jun 19, 2023

A couple has a self-solemnization wedding ceremony.

Your wedding is about celebrating you and your partner, and it should be a reflection of your relationship and your love. That might mean doing away with some traditional elements of a wedding, including an officiant. More and more couples are choosing a “self-solemnization” ceremony, meaning they marry themselves instead of using an officiant.

In this article, we’ll explore what self-solemnization is, how to do it, and its implications for a marriage green card application.

What is Self-Solemnization?

Self-solemnization, also known as a self-uniting marriage, means performing a wedding ceremony yourself without an officiant. It empowers couples to take control of their own union and celebrate their commitment to one another in a deeply personal way. While self-solemnization is not legally recognized in all jurisdictions, certain locations, such as Colorado, California, and Illinois, allow couples to legally marry themselves without the need for an officiant.

How to Perform a Self-Solemnization Ceremony

  1. Research Local Laws: Before considering self-solemnization, make sure to research the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. Different regions have their own requirements and may or may not recognize self-solemnization as a legally binding ceremony.
  2. Prepare the Ceremony: A self-solemnization ceremony can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Consider what aspects of a traditional wedding ceremony you’d like to include, such as vows, exchange of rings, or readings. Personalize the ceremony to reflect your values, beliefs, and the uniqueness of your relationship.
  3. Choose a Meaningful Location: Select a location that holds significance to both partners. It could be a beautiful outdoor setting, a place that has sentimental value, or even the comfort of your own home. The choice of location should reflect your personal journey and connection.
  4. Create Vows and Exchange Rings: Craft heartfelt vows that express your love, commitment, and aspirations for the future. Consider exchanging rings as a symbol of your union, if desired. The rings can be simple bands or any other meaningful tokens that represent your bond.
  5. Document the Ceremony: Assign someone to capture photographs or videos of your ceremony, preserving the memories of this special moment. These visual records can also serve as documentation if required for future legal processes.

Implications for a Marriage Green Card Application

A couple gets married

A marriage green card requires evidence of a valid and legally recognized marriage. Self-solemnization, while not recognized in all jurisdictions, can impact the application process. It’s a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the specific requirements and implications in your situation.

If self-solemnization is legally recognized in your jurisdiction, you may be able to use the ceremony as evidence of a valid marriage. This could include documentation such as photographs, videos, and affidavits from witnesses.

In cases where self-solemnization is not legally recognized, alternative options may be available. This can include having a separate legal ceremony performed by an authorized officiant in addition to the self-solemnization ceremony. If you have questions about how your self-solemnization ceremony could impact your marriage green card application, Boundless can help! We offer unlimited support from our team of immigration experts, so you can apply with confidence and focus on what’s important, your life in the U.S. Learn more.

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