Now you have been announced and had your first Kiss as Husband and Wife. ….. Yea! The ceremony is not yet complete……. Its then onto the signing of the documents and marriage certificate.
At this point in time, I always ask the guests to remain where they are and save their congratulations until the end of the ceremony. Then at the end you have the grand finale with them showering you with love and well wishes. If they trickle forward at this point, it can be awkward as you have a job to do and the photographer wants to get the best shots of you with out the guests in them.
So you move over to the signing table, if you have one, and be seated for the signing. It can be difficult, with a long dress and train, for the bride to sit down and it is here that she will need the help of the groom or bridesmaid. It is good to discuss this with them before hand and ask them to be aware that you may need help, so you are not left struggling. Once the dress is arranged, so no one stands on it, the important part of signing takes place. It’s a good time for the groom to let those well brought up manners to flow…. not loose sight of his bride and to make sure he pulls the chair out for her to sit and makes sure she sits first and is comfortable.
When I get to the ceremony if the chairs are arranged at the opposite sides of the table, I bring them in to be as close as possible to each other so when you sit, you do not have to crane your neck for more cuddles and kisses or for that private few words to take place. After all you have a lot of excitement together in this moment! You will want to be close.
If you do not have a signing table, which is often preferred but not a necessity, then one of the guests or witnesses will hold the paperwork on top of the Marriage Register, which is a large book and makes a great table for us all to sign on.
You will need to sign in three places. In the marriage register, on the marriage certificate that goes to the registry and on your certificate that you get to walk away with on the day. I will always point to where you need to sign and you always sign in the name that appears on the Notice of Intended Marriage, not in your new name, if you plan to change your name.
Bride and groom sign first and then the two witnesses, who can be any one over age 18. Known to you or not, they are signing to witness that the wedding took place. In the case of an elopement ceremony, if you have no witnesses, I often ask friends to come along to sign or I drag one of the passing crowd in to be a part of your ceremony. Onlookers are generally only too happy, in fact often thrilled, to be asked to do this important job today… they always walk away elated! The witnesses write their full name, including their middle name, and sign with their normal signature. Then it’s my turn to sign to say I officiated at your wedding and have witnessed everyone else’s signing……….. So it all official….
The photographer will want to get some special shots of you here and it good to discuss with your photographer the type of images that you will want to have. The ad lib shots are great but you may also like the image of you to be holding the pen and looking up, then maybe kissing, and then holding your hands out to show the wedding rings, brides hand on top if her groom’s. You may want your witnesses included in a few shots here but at this point in time it is good not to get too carried away with the photography, after all we are still in the middle of your ceremony.