What makes a wedding ceremony legal?

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What makes a wedding ceremony legal?

My grandfather is a former judge and can legally perform marriages. However, his current health won’t allow him to stand up in front of everyone and perform the ceremony for my fiancée and I. Because of this, we have asked a friend to conduct the ceremony for us. If my grandfather is at the ceremony, and present when we state that we each take the other as our spouse, can he sign the marriage certificate and make the marriage legal? Or is there something he has to say to make it legal?

Asked on April 22, 2012 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless your friend can legally perform marriages in the state of New York then I would not have him marry you.  Your Grandfather must actually perform the ceremony.  The friend can not be his "proxy" so to speak.  Consider making a place for your Grandfather that is comfortable at the place you have chosen to have the marriage performed.  Perhaps a decorated podium with a high backed stool that he can sit at and perform the ceremony.  Good luck.


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