Can a Friend of the Couple be Ordained to Be the Minister?

by Jenny Bryde 27. July 2014 03:13

Good news!  Yes is the answer.  If you have a friend or family member in mind that you'd like to officiate your wedding, it is possible to make this happen.  From what I understand by looking at various ordaining programs, this is a relatively simple task, but the most important thing is to make sure that your state laws recognize that a person who is ordained for the purpose of marrying you is legitimate to sign off of your wedding.  There is a great article that was published by the New York Times about the consequences for couples if this is not handled correctly.  Click here to read the full article.  

From what I gather, Iowa and Illinois fall on the less restrictive end of the spectrum, but you will still want to help your friend as he or she completes their ordainment process to make sure everything is legit.  A valid ordainment program will have up to date information for all the states included in its information.  Again, it is the the consumer's (read: your) responsibility to read the fine print and to follow up with your local state or county people in the know to make sure everything is done correctly.

The cool part is that many ordainment programs are free!  Other than the time commitment and follow through, having a friend become ordained should not be an expense.  Hooray for wedding budgets, right?

Here are a couple of websites to check out.  These organizations offer online ordainment for free.  

Universal Life Church

American Marriage Ministries



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Jenny Bryde | Legalities

Do You Need Wedding Insurance?

by Jenny Bryde 1. April 2014 01:09

You’ve spent a mint on the big day.  You’ve never paid so much for cake and outfits before.  What happens if something goes wrong on the big day?  Do you need wedding insurance??? 

Many couples will go through their entire wedding planning experience and never consider whether or not they need an insurance policy for arguably the most expensive day in their lives.  Admittedly, we did not have an insurance policy, and it never even occurred to me as something that we would have needed.

So why would a couple need to consider wedding insurance?  What does it cover?  What does it cost?

First off, a policy will range from about $200-$500 depending on how much coverage a couple wants.  This seems like quite a bit, but stop to think about how you are also spending hundreds of dollars on cake on the same day.  Don’t get me wrong, cake is very important, but so is peace of mind.

Wedding insurance policies will NOT cover a bride or groom being left at the altar.  Sadly, there is no refund for that.  They can cover a situation where a bride or groom is called away to military duty, or if a vendor does not show, or if a guest is hurt at your wedding.  Different policies cover different events and last for different lengths of time, so read the details closely and make sure you know what you’re purchasing.

Two great reputable websites to find more information about wedding insurance are:

You could also call your local insurance agent to see if that is an event that you can have covered. 


For an event that you spend a long time planning, you might want to consider a wee bit of security with a wedding insurance policy.  That way you can sit back and enjoy your day!



Advice | Jenny Bryde | Legalities

Rainbow Weddings for Everyone!

by Jenny Bryde 30. June 2013 01:58

One of our favorite things to celebrate at is color.  We often feature entire articles on one specific hue, but it's not about the hue that drives us to color.  It's about the mood and the feelings evoked when color schemes are flawlessly executed.  We love all colors and all color combinations, but what we're really interested in is seeing the "happy"!

With this week's news of DOMA being overturned by the Supreme Court, we want to congratulate all couples everywhere who celebrate color and love.  At the risk of being cliche, today's color commentary features the rainbow.  Enjoy.  :)


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Jenny Bryde | Legalities

Applying for a Marriage License in Iowa and Illinois

by Jenny Bryde 7. January 2013 00:55

Romance, flowers, parties, gowns... These are things we dream of when thinking about getting married, but before any and all of that can happen, we have to make sure that we cross our T's and dot our I's. That is, we have to make sure that we properly apply for our marriage licenses.

It's not as easy as walking up to the courthouse, politely knocking, and asking pretty please for a marriage certificate. There are a few more steps, and depending on which state and which county you claim for residency, your instructions vary slightly.

Interesting things to note:


  • In Iowa, you must have a witness with you when you apply. In Illinois, this isn't needed.
  • In Iowa, there is a three day waiting period between the time you are issued the license and when you can actually get married. In Illinois, there is only a one day waiting period.
  • I'm not sure about Iowa, but in Illinois, you must pay your fee with cash only.


More details can be found at the links below.

Iowa Marriage Application Information

Illinois Marriage Application Information

Each married couple should take a close look at the requirements and deadlines of each state so that you can get hitched without a hitch!  


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Jenny Bryde | Legalities

What's in a Name?

by Jenny Bryde 21. February 2010 02:40

This week we received our first joint piece of mail that assumed my soon-to-be married name. I thought that I was a nerd for thinking it was exciting until I looked at Aaron who was grinning like a fool as well. It really got me thinking about the major shift in my identity that is coming up soon. I have always planned that I would take his last name. I do feel that I'll miss my former name as it is short and sweet. It's catchy. I'm often called my first name and last name together as if they were hyphenated by friends and co-workers.

Not all women take the spouse's last name. You'll often see a hyphenated version, and some women don't change their names at all. (Side note: I always wonder what will happen if Mr. John Smith-Taylor marries Ms. Jane Johnson-Thompson and combine their names. Will she be Mrs. Smith-Taylor-Johnson-Thompson? Yikes!)

Anyhoo, I'm changing my name. I've come to find out this is much easier said than done. Let's take a quick look at the lengthy process of legally changing your name.

  • First, make about 25 copies of your marriage certificate. Many agencies and companies will require a copy for their documentation. 
  • Next, you must file a SS-5 Form with the Social Security Administration. This is priority one as you cannot apply for much of anything else without your new social security card. The Social Security folks will also update the IRS. Yay! 
  • Now that you have your social security situation set, you can work on your state driver's license and motor vehicle registration. Yes folks, this means a lovely afternoon at the local DMV.
  • Next stop is notifying your employers of your new name so that your paychecks can continue to be cashed without name-mismatch hassle.  Along with notifying your employer, you'll also need to update your benefit information (health insurance, 401K plans, beneficiaries, etc.).  

Now we have a whole slew of places that you'll need to notify.  You should have a relatively easy time doing this as you'll have your new social security card and driver's license now.  Some places will let you make your changes over the phone or via the internet, while others require a specific form and maybe your signature.  (Click here for a generic form letter that you can use when contacting these offices by mail.)  Also, credit card companies and other such accounts will provide name change information in their monthly statements.  

  • banks and credit unions
  • brokerage and investment accounts
  • mortgage company or landlord
  • credit card companies
  • attorney (for changes to your will, trust, power of attorney, etc.)
  • department store accounts
  • insurance companies or agent 
  • medical offices
  • utilities
  • state and local tax boards
  • passport office
  • post office
  • voter registration board
  • internet service provider
  • newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  • clubs and associations
If all of this brouhaha seems overwhelming or time consuming, there are name-change kits available to purchase for anywhere from $15-50.  They range in services provided, and you may find them more appealing than going through this rigmarole solo.  Here are a few recommended kits:

And so to the future Mrs. Smith-Taylor-Johnson-Thompson, I wish you good luck and God speed on your name change paperwork!


Jenny Bryde | Legalities

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About the Blog

Hi!  Welcome to the blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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