You’ve heard of elopements and mico-weddings I’m sure. It may bring to mind a something like a stuffy courtroom, justice of the peace, or if you’re the wild type, a Vegas chapel.
Forget all that! There is an easier and simpler way. Self-Uniting!
Did you know, Pennsylvania is one of the few places where a couple can marry themselves. The other states are Colorado, Wisconson, and Washington DC.
PA is the Quaker State, and you’d be having yourself an old fashioned Quaker wedding. Well, don’t you have to be a Quaker or of the Quaker religion? You used to, but in 2007, the ACLU won a lawsuit on behalf of an Allegheny County couple who were denied a self-uniting marriage based on their religion.
So now anyone in Pennsylvania can self-unite!
But how DO you self-unite?
It’s actually fairly simple and runs along the same process as a regular marriage license, you just have to REQUEST A SELF UNITING LICENSE.
*Please be advised: This process may vary based on the county you are in. The process described here will be for Allegheny County. Please visit your own county website if you are not located in Allegheny County. If you choose to be married by someone other than the officiants authorized by Pennsylvania law Title 23, Section 1503, the burden of proof regarding the legality of your marriage will be on you should future issues arise regarding the validity of the marriage.
As with most things nowadays, you can complete the application online. An email address is required. Once the online application is completed, you will receive an email confirmation and the application will be on file at the Department of Court Records Marriage License Bureau.
From there, you will both have to be present at the Department of Court Records Marriage License Bureau to complete the process. You can complete the entire application at the bureau as well but completing the application online will save you some time. Don’t forget your Photo Identification as it is required to complete the application! According to the Allegheny County website, the license will run you $80, the same as a traditional marriage license (may vary county to county).
Once you have appeared in person at the Marriage License Bureau and the application has been submitted, you will have a 3-day waiting period. Which is required by Pennsylvania law. Then, the marriage license is sent (no cost) to the address provided, or pick it up yourself at the Marriage License office.
Take your license, grab a photographer, and have a wild good time! ALSO, you will need 2 witnesses to sign your license. I’m more than happy to be one of them.
Congratulations! You’re now married!