Awkward Moments · Elopements · Facebook · TV · Vendors · Weddings · What I don't know

With this ring, I _____ wed.

Yep!  Many people don’t know this phrase, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

The words thee and be sound nearly alike.  Yet they don’t mean the same thing!

Probably 30% of the time, couples hear the word wrong, even though i really enunciate the T H sound of Thee.  So I often hear, “With this ring, I be wed.”

Maybe I’m just old and know the phrase from movies and older tv shows, and English weddings, and well wait, current TV shows too!

If you can think of a good phrase to use, I’ll give you credit!

Marriage LIcense

Wedding Mondays!

This is the first of many more Wedding Mondays!!


How do we get a marriage license?

If one or both of the couple live any where in Georgia and have a valid Georgia ID then they can get their marriage license from any county probate court.  If however, neither of the couple live in Georgia then they will need to get their license in this county, which is Chatham County.  The phone number to the court house here is: 912.652.7267.  If you are getting married in South Carolina, the phone number to the court house on Hilton Head Island is 843.341.8413.  Both bride and groom need to be present when obtaining their license.

If you get a marriage license in South Carolina it can only be signed in South Carolina. Likewise, if you get a marriage license in Georgia, then the ceremony must take place in Georgia. 

Once the license is signed, it can either be taken in by you the next business day, unless you get married during business hours, or it can be mailed in.  If you mail it in, you will need to provide them with a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can mail you the certified copy.

Georgia has no waiting period.  South Carolina has a 24 hour waiting period once you apply for a license.  In Georgia and South Carolina there are no blood tests required.

If either or both persons have ever been divorced, they must bring final divorce decrees. 

South Carolina marriage license expire within a certain time of obtaining them, whereas a Georgia license has no expiration date.

Marriage LIcense · Weddings

Marriage license information

I often get asked about marriage license information. Here’s a link to information about Georgia marriage licenses. Here’s a list of additional information:

  • You cannot bring a marriage license from out of state, in order to get married in Georgia
  • You cannot take a Georgia license out of state
  • There are no blood tests required in Georgia
  • There are no witnesses needed in Georgia
  • Once the couple have the license they do not sign it, only the minister/judge will sign it
  • If you live out of state, you need to get your license in this county (Chatham County)
  • The marriage license in this county: they will give you three carbonless copies, attached at the top. The blue copy is for you to take with you, the other two copies get sent or taken back into the courthouse.
  • If they are sent/mailed in, you need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope in order to get a copy of it back (normally about 3 weeks go get it back)
  • Or you can take it back in to the courthouse and have it recorded on the spot.
  • If you live in state, you can get your license from any county.
  • I think you’ll need to know where you parents were born (along with other questions)
  • One of those other questions is really strange: Are you related?
  • In Georgia you can’t marry your same gendered partner but you can marry your first cousin!
Credentials · Minister/Officiant

Savannah Wedding: Which officiant is best for us?

I wrote this for South Magazine‘s Spring 2010 issue.

How to pick the right officiant.

Wedding on Tybee Island

First and foremost, if the officiant has advertising and can’t spell the word officiant, then don’t hire them!!  It is officiant, not officiate.  Officiant is the person.  Officiate is the action.  Officials are the guys in black and white stripes who officiate the football game I’m watching!

Next, there are only two types of wedding officiants in Georgia (all states are not the same): Judges and Clergy.  We don’t have Justice of the Peace.

If you want a judge, then that’s a simple choice.  If you want a clergy, that is not so easy.

There are different types of clergy: those whom are rabbis or ministers of a synagogue/congregation, or those who were internet ordained.  I make that distinction because those of us who are either rabbis or minister/pastors/clergy of a congregation have had formal education.  For example, after college I went and received a 4 year degree from a seminary and became ordained by the larger Lutheran Church.  Internet ordained ministers are those who don’t have to graduate from any place (including high school or college) and get their “license” to wed couples online by going to a website and making a couple promises.  I don’t even know if they ever go to church.

So how do you pick the right officiant? Not all photographers use the same style, not all florists use the same design, and not all clergy have the same approach and personality.  Would any photographer do? Would any florist do?  What any clergy do? Use the same approach.

After all my years experience, this is what I would suggest you consider when finding the right officiant, rather than just settling for any officiant.

  1. Are they flexible in the style of ceremony they offer or perform? Will they do a civil/non-religious ceremony? Will they let you create your own ceremony?
  2. Do they offer different types of vows?
  3. What is their attire? Is it robe, suit and tie, “clergy attire of black with white collar,” or is it shorts and a shirt?   When you envisioned your ceremony what did you see the wedding officiant wearing?  If your ceremony is formal, is casual for the officiant okay with you?
  4. Do you like their personality?  Is personality important for you when it comes to the ceremony?

    Wedding at the Mansion on Forsyth Park
  5. If a real awkward situation arises during or just prior to the ceremony, say the rings are dropped, the father of the bride is so nervous he sits down prior to the question, “who gives their blessings for this bride?” how does the officiant handle it?
  6. Does the person read the ceremony or do they put some heart into it? Do they add their personality to the ceremony?
  7. Are they a rabbi or pastor of a congregation?  Does that matter to you? Or are they internet ordained?
  8. Not that number of ceremonies count for a lot, but do they have the right experience?
  9. Is the clergy a part of the wedding package?  If so, can you meet that person ahead of time? If it isn’t a good match, can you find you own officiant?
  10. How important is the fee?  Are you looking for the least expensive? Most expensive?
  11. Can you meet with them ahead of time? Can you talk on the phone to get a feel for the person?
  12. Do you invite that person to the reception? (I didn’t answer the other ones but this one I will, normally I don’t go to receptions when invited because I only know the bride and groom.)
  13. Do you want a male or female officiant?
  14. Do you want someone who is older or younger?
  15. Is the officiant’s “job” just the 10-25 minutes of their talking or performing the ceremony or do they help orchestrate the ceremony, making sure it flows as smoothly as possible?
  16. Is flash photography okay?
  17. What happens if the officiant gets sick and can’t do the ceremony, are we just stuck without one? Do they find someone (just anybody?) for you? Do they have a backup plan?
  18. Is premarital counseling a requirement?

    Mansion on Forsyth Park
  19. What is their experience in the location you choose? Pros and cons?
  20. When do you start finding an officiant? One week? One month? Six months? One year? If you wait to long to find an officiant, will you have to settle on whomever you can find?
  21. Do they have a contract?
  22. Have they ever forgotten a ceremony?
  23. Have they ever said the wrong name in the ceremony? How do they keep that from happening?
  24. Do they attend the rehearsal?
  25. Should you search for their name on the internet?
  26. Do we have to be a member of your church?
  27. Let’s say you don’t go to church, yet you want a minister because our families go to church, will they still marry you?

Now that you are completely overwhelmed with selecting the right officiant is for you, what’s next?  If you like the person and get good vibes from them, then it is probably a good match, just make sure you have the basics covered.

Let me know your thoughts, here or on

Couples I've married · Elopements · Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams

Savannah Wedding: Is it true that I married Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams?

Yep!  And they were a fantastic couple.

Yet, I had no idea who they were when I married them.  Clueless!!  It wasn’t until I got home that i knew they were celebrities. They were so down to earth, so excited about getting married.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet both of them.

You may have read a few things I’ve said about their ceremony while surfing the net.  I have since stopped talking about the details of their ceremony  Why?  Ryan called me about a week after the ceremony and asked me not to say any more. So I haven’t.

Over the years, I’ve married lots of couples who’ve asked me not to say anything to anyone.  And I haven’t.

Even though it was way after the fact when Ryan asked me not to say anything, this is the most I’ve said since then, and it ain’t much!


Beach · Elopements · Indoor Location · Outdoor Location · Unity Candle

Do Unity Candles work outside?

It depends on numerous factors.  One is how windy is it?  Another, “is it alright with you and your soon to be spouse if the candles blow out either before, during or after the ceremony?”  And,  if you have a hurricane globe for around the Unity Candle, what will you put around the individual taper candles to keep them from blowing out?  Keep in mind that it’s not possible to put hurricane globes around the tapers because you won’t be able to reach in without burning yourself.

My suggestion if you want to have one outside is to make a  back up plan for inside.  It may work to have the lighting of the candle just prior to the cutting of the cake.

Also, make sure that the people lighting the individual tapers have practiced with the lighter that you have for them, as not all lighters light the same way.  And, have the person escorting them up to light the candle know how to light the lighter just in case.

If the table you have the candle on has to have a table cloth, make sure that the wind won’t grab hold of the table cloth and knock it over.

Share your thoughts.  🙂