Buddy, Can You Marry Us?
Continued (page 2 of 2)
Perhaps your prospective officiant doesn't want to be a minister all his or her life. At least three states—California, Massachusetts and Alaska—will designate a person the equivalent of a justice of the peace for a single day. In California, your officiant will briefly possess the high-falutin' title of Deputy Commissioner of Marriage.
Notaries public are allowed to join couples in holy matrimony in Florida, Maine, South Carolina and one Louisiana parish, according to Consuelo Israelson, production editor at the National Notary Association. Aside from fees, there are residency requirements and other hoops to jump through (including exams in Maine and Louisiana). The NNA's site, nationalnotary.org, is a good place to begin.
Look for loopholes
Ask your county's relevant official if there are any alternatives to the options mentioned above. For instance, in Pennsylvania a couple can apply for a Quaker marriage license, regardless of whether they're actually of the Quaker faith. Once you get the license, you just need two friends to witness the exchange of vows in order to make the marriage valid. That way, you can let whomever you desire officiate.
Finally, keep in mind that the person performing your ceremony will most likely have to provide some documentation, such as a completed marriage certificate, to the local government after the ceremony. Make sure your friend is on top of this, lest your marriage be rendered null and void.