Wedding season is here again!
Are you a Florida Notary Public planning to participate in your first wedding? Maybe you have performed ceremonies before, but it has been a while and you feel the need to brush up on everything that entails.
Did you know that you are allowed to perform a wedding ceremony for a family member? Yes, it is true – this is because you are not notarizing their signatures, you are only notarizing that you performed the ceremony.
As a Florida notary public, you have the right to officiate a wedding, provided that the wedding takes place in Florida, and the couple being married has an official marriage license from a Florida Clerk of the Court in their possession before the ceremony.
After the ceremony, it is your job to complete the Marriage Record section of the marriage license and returning it back to the county court judge or clerk’s office from where it was issued, for official recording. After recording, the clerk’s office will mail a certified copy to the couple.
It is a good idea to go over the ceremony in detail with the happy couple before the wedding day. A run-through, or rehearsal is also highly recommended so that there are no surprises. Many times a couple will be very specific about how they want the ceremony to go and may have certain vows or religious readings they want included. You can oversee and provide guidance, since you know what needs to be said as they enter into this legally binding commitment.
The State of Florida has a little booklet available for free online called Performing Marriage Ceremonies, A Guide for Florida’s Notaries Public, which has not been updated since 1999, but contains helpful information anyway. There is a sample marriage license application along with instructions on how to complete the Marriage Record portion of the license, and the rules for performing a wedding ceremony. Of course you will need to ignore the section that states Florida notaries cannot marry same-sex couples, because as of January 2015, same sex marriage is legal in the state of Florida.
Below are a few other links you may find helpful.
Florida Statute 741.04 regarding Marriage Licenses.
Sample wedding ceremony (very very basic).