According to the State of Colorado: “Couples themselves may solemnize their own marriage (perform their own marriage ceremony). “
What this means: You don’t HAVE to hire an officiant for your elopement ceremony if you don’t want to! That means one less person to pay (SCORE!) and one less person in your elopement photos. Over the years I have photographed several self-solemnized ceremonies where the couple simply read their vows to one another, exchanged rings, kissed, and they were officially married. I LOVE this elopement ceremony idea. Such an awesome way to keep your ceremony even more private!
In Colorado (and most of the United States), your marriage license is applied for and picked up at the local County Clerk’s office. If you’re getting married in Colorado, you should get your marriage license in Colorado—even if you’re not a resident.
To get a marriage license in Colorado, both of you will need to go into a County Clerk’s office on a weekday and fill out the necessary paperwork, and you should be done within 30 minutes or so!
If you’ve never heard of this old Irish tradition, here’s the actual definition:
‘The handfasting ceremony has its roots in ancient Celtic tradition, symbolizing the binding together of two people (and the origin of the phrase “tying the knot!”). It has become more mainstream and pops up alongside both religious and secular vows and readings alike.’
During the ceremony, the officiant begins by explaining the ritual and what it means to the couple. This statement often includes the notion of the couple binding their lives together and the union of their hopes and plans for life. At that point, the officiant invites the couple to join hands, which symbolizes their free will to enter into the marriage. Many opt to cross hands, taking your fiancé’s right hand in your right hand and his left hand in your left hand.
From there, the couples hands are wrapped with cords as the officiant reads a series of vows. You could opt to use a separate cord for each vow, or twist or braid together a few cords and wrap them as one around your hands. Then, your officiant may make an additional statement about the completion of the binding and the commitment it symbolizes.
Hand-fasting is truly a unique and fun elopement ceremony idea!
Marriage vows are a long standing tradition, and for very good reason! You are explaining in detail how you plan to show up in life for your partner. Your vows are a crucial and beautiful part of your elopement ceremony.
I know many people cringe at the thought of having to find the words to say that perfectly describes their love for their spouse- that’s hard. Unless you’re an English major, you may struggle with this, and it can almost feel like more of a task than a heartfelt gesture.
Most importantly, give yourself some time (and grace!) when it comes to writing your vows. Break it down: what is the most important thing (or things) you want your fiance to hear? Write those down. Give yourself the day to elaborate on one of those things. After a week or two, put it all together, read it aloud and see how it feels. Make adjustments. Just make it your thoughts and your words.
If you don’t write and don’t plan to any time soon, that’s cool too! Fortunately there is a ‘cheat sheet’ called Google for those of us who are challenged from time to time. I would suggest doing a quick search for ‘wedding vows’ and I guarantee you’ll be presented with countless examples. Find the ones that speak to you. I guarantee that no matter what, your fiancé is going to appreciate and cherish every word.
Your elopement is totally yours. You can personalize it ’til your hearts content, or you can keep it as simple as you’d like!