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Location: Kentucky, United States

Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Truth about the weekend wedding

The wedding we went to this past weekend ended up being very nice. I say that now because before the wedding I wasn't so sure how it would come off. There wasn't any problem with the Bride or Groom, they're a wonderful couple. The Groom I've known for ten years I guess. It wasn't any of the family either. The possible problem in all this was me. Now it's not what you may be thinking. In fact I doubt very seriously anyone can guess my problem so I'll just tell you. I was the minister who married them. This was my first and most likely last wedding. You see I am not, or at least I wasn't a licensed minister.

My wife and I were layman youth pastors for about ten years. The Groom is one of my "adopted" sons from that time. We knew he was getting married so when I got a call from him wanting to ask me about the wedding I figured he needed an usher or at most would ask me to sing. When he ask me to marry them I was speechless. He said that even if they had to go to the court house to make it legal he still wanted me to do the ceremony in the church. I was still at a real loss for words but told him I would do what I could to see that wasn't necessary. So began a weird journey to become a "real" minister.

The first thing I did was call the court house to find out what the legal issues were. I found out that being "bonded" was no longer required, you could just use your license, which of course I didn't have. Next I looked into becoming bonded. In hindsight I now know I was talking to the wrong people,but they didn't have any idea who I was supposed to be talking either. I was told I needed a license to be bonded and I could not get them to understand that not all denominations license their Ministers. We just kept circling back and forth, but the answer was always the same: I needed to be licensed, and I only had six months to become so.

Enter Yahoo! One morning while checking the news on the MY Yahoo page, in the side bar a question was ask about someone performing the marriage ceremony of a friend and how could you go about it. The answer given provided a link to the Universal Life church . All you have to do is sign, then respond to the e-mail they send you and you are a licensed minister. I'm thinking, "yeah right". Evidently though most of the ministers in the little marriage chapels down around the Smoky mountains use this. The website will even give advice to help you to set up your business.

This is not the way I wanted to go, but after trying everything else open to me I did sign up. Later I found out that to be bonded in the state of Kentucky all I had to do was go to the correct office in the court house with a witness who would say I was a minister. Then sign my name in this book stating I would not abuse the privilege on a fine of a thousand dollars. I had to give them like a seven dollar filing fee and then I was bonded.

My wife pointed out that now I have been the Groom, the Best Man, a Groomsman,an Usher, the Minister, and the Father of the Bride, at one time or another. All that's left is Father of the Groom, and since I have two sons I should be hitting for the cycle in a few years.

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