We Can't Find Anyone to Officiate Our Commitment Ceremony | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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We Can't Find Anyone to Officiate Our Commitment Ceremony


Published June 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

  • ID 13915135 © Marish | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

A very dear person I've known for 32 years has reconnected with me after a long time. She suggested having a commitment ceremony, but we're having trouble finding someone to do the ceremony. We've asked people who are friends with both of us on Facebook, but they don't have cars or other ways to get to us. I'm 70, she's 50, and we're both on disability. Do you have any suggestions?

Mr. September (male, 70)

Dear Mr. September,

I've married a bunch of people and, to be honest, the officiant is basically a glorified emcee — someone to keep things moving along and make sure whoever needs to say something gets their cue. Sure, I say, "Yay! You're married now!" at the end and sign some papers, but the only thing that actually matters is that two people have decided to spend their lives together.

Unlike a marriage, a commitment ceremony isn't legally binding. There are no papers to sign, and you don't need witnesses. Since they are not formally recognized by church or state, there are no restrictions on what you can or cannot do. You can even do it yourselves, but I understand the desire for some formality to mark the occasion.

Could a friend use a ride service such as Uber? If transportation is really a sticky wicket, you could have a virtual meet-up with your friends on Zoom or FaceTime. If you don't use those sorts of things much, perhaps you have a technologically savvy pal who can help you set it up.

If all else fails, you can create your own private ceremony for just the two of you first, and then celebrate with friends at a later date when it's easier for you be together.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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