Do You Need a Witness to Get Married in a Church?

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Do You Need a Witness to Get Married in a Church?

The church has certain prerequisites that must be met before your big day can be realized.

One of the crucial requirements is having witnesses.

A wedding witness is someone who attends the wedding and endorses the marriage license afterward. It’s required by law to have them.

The guide below answers the question, “do you need a witness to get married in a church?”

Do You Need a Witness to Get Married in a Church?

Do You Need a Witness to Get Married in a Church?

A wedding is both a commemoration of love and a formal ceremony that must meet certain legal consequences.

Everyone who attends the wedding represents a witness to the ceremony, both spiritually and liturgically. 

Even so, two individuals other than the presider must function as the official witnesses for the said marriage to be considered valid.

In order for a marital relationship to be acknowledged under common law, witnesses are warranted. 

The identities of both witnesses are recorded in the church’s marriage register.

The church will accept any two individuals as witnesses, although the couple’s best man and maid of honor are conventionally used in that capacity.

Who Can Be a Witness During Your Marriage Ceremony?

At a wedding, almost anyone can serve as a witness.

However, based on family dynamics, logistics, and subjective opinion, you could strongly desire a particular person to serve as a witness at the wedding. 

There are practically no restrictions regarding who can serve as a wedding witness.

The only guideline is they must realize what they are witnessing, or else their presence at the wedding will be irrelevant.

It further suggests that they must always be able to communicate in the language of the ceremony.

They should also be at an age where they can understand what a wedding ceremony is and what they signify.  

They are not obliged to be above the age of 18, provided your officiant determines that they are of legal age of consent.

At least two witnesses must sign the Marriage Certificate at each and every wedding ceremony.

The only stipulation is that the two individuals understand what they’re about to sign: they are affirming that they witnessed a legal celebration performed by an authorized celebrant.

Customarily, the chief maid of honor and best man have carried on this responsibility, but the duo can still pick others who are important to them.

It is really not required to have a witness from each “side,” i.e. one for the groom and one for the bride.

So Who Else Could Be a Witness At Your Wedding?

  • If you’ve recently been scratching your head for an involvement for a special family member or friend, requesting them to participate in your wedding as a witness at your wedding could be the best candidate.
  • If you find it hard to settle on who to request, consider doing a ‘roll of the dice’ playing a game of head and tails, or anything comparable to determine the two witnesses in the ceremony. Everyone feels treated as significant and unique.
  • It can be incredibly special to have a grandparent serving as a witness. Parents, special friends, siblings, and other close relatives may also be approached.
  • It is even more special if the couple has kids who are of age sufficient to be witnesses. You must ask your officiant if the child is a satisfactory witness. 

Can a Stranger Be a Wedding Witness?

You can certainly choose a random person to serve as your wedding witness.

You only need to make sure they consent to be witnesses at the wedding. This is a common occurrence at elopements.

You could inquire from a random staff member at the wedding reception, anyone who is at the site for another ceremony, or even a passerby strolling down the street.

It is perfectly alright given that they are considered to ‘witness’ that the event is being conducted legitimately.

The witness’ signature on the wedding supporting documentation only proves that the event was lawful and reached freely.

It may appear strange to have a random person witness your wedding. However, unless you specifically request it, no witness participates in the wedding ceremony.

The witness can sit off to the side, where they will not disrupt your special day.

Can You Have a Church Wedding Without Witnesses?

It’s a statutory necessity that the formalities for both civil and church weddings be signed by at least two autonomous witnesses. This applies to states where a witness is legal.

Confirm with your state how many witnesses are required.

If you have any attendees at the wedding, you can request them to act as witnesses on your behalf.

Enquire if they’d be willing to do this ahead of the wedding day, so you’re not surprising them at the final moment.

For couples who are eloping, they should consider bringing two friends along to serve as witnesses.

However, keep in mind that your partnership can be witnessed by random people. 

Even if you don’t have any guests, you could request the photographer, the valet attendant, or a pair of venue employees.

As a final resort, inquire with a couple of pedestrians by the venue if they fancy witnessing the celebration!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Tasks of Witnesses?

They essentially witness the church wedding and, afterward, the couple and the celebrant approving the marriage certificate.

It would then be their opportunity to sign. In terms of wedding-related roles, this is fairly straightforward.

Is Their Role Restricted To The Wedding Day?

Yes. When the bridal couple apply for their marriage certificate, no witnesses are required.

How Many Witness Statements Are Required?

Most states mandate either one or two witnesses; others, such as Alabama, do not.

For more information, contact the county clerk’s department in the state in which your wedding will happen.

Final Thoughts

Some states want the signature of two witnesses present to attest to the specifics of the wedding ceremony, such as the location and date. 

Witnesses must present a photo ID with a date of birth. Therefore, make sure to include this in the details you will confirm before the wedding.