Waiting for a Divorce

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My fiancé and I want to get married quickly, as I am being deployed to Iraq in 7 days. She just filed for a divorce from her ex, and there are 60 days left before the divorce becomes official. What can we do as far as getting married NOW. Maybe Las Vegas?

- Ricky


I'm sorry, but you and your fiancé may have to hold off on the official marriage ceremony until your safe return from Iraq. Before a second wedding ceremony, you must be legally single. Under U.S law, a divorce must be final before a person can remarry. In Las Vegas, you don't have to present the proof on paper, but you must have knowledge of the exact date, city and state in which the divorce was finalized. Getting married in some states can even require blood testing, marriage classes and waiting periods.

But you obviously want to make a commitment NOW. Instead of a marriage ceremony, you and your fiancé could carry out an informal ceremony of your own to pledge your love and commitment to each other privately, or with friends as witnesses. Save the big event for when you return and can share your special day with your friends and loved ones- legally.

Wedding Location

Is the location of the wedding more up to the bride than the groom, or should it be a decision that both of them should make no matter what each other's family members think?

- Jennifer


The bride and groom should work together to plan their wedding and choose a ceremony site. The location is something that both of you should agree on, or at least reach a compromise on. If you're engaged to be married, I am willing to bet that this isn't the first time you've had to compromise for each other's sake!

If the bride wants to be married indoors in a church, and the groom wants to be married outside on a beach, you are going to have to find a middle ground. Talk about your options and find out just where that middle ground is for you both. Keep in mind that the while the location is an important element to your wedding day, your relationship is what matters most. And by all means, include your family in wedding decision-making whenever you choose. Respect your family's opinions, but keep in mind that this is your wedding - not theirs.

Remarrying After a Death

I have been widowed for 5 years. Do I have to show death certificate when I remarry in Las Vegas?

- Debbie


Las Vegas marriage law is tricky to track down! According to the Clark County clerk's office, you can marry in Las Vegas as long as you do not have a husband or wife living - so you must have to have proof.

To remarry in most states, a bride or groom is required to present the first marriage license and the death certificate of their late spouse. You must able to prove that you are legally single, or in your case, widowed. You don't want to get to Las Vegas and find out you can't get married, so I would consider taking proof with you in any case!

It is easy to obtain a death certificate - most counties require you to fill out a simple request form and drop it in the mail - but the wait may require you to modify your plans. It can take anywhere from 7 days to six weeks to receive the death certificate, once the government receives your request. If you are on a time limit, you may want to go to your local office in person to help speed up the process.

Finding an Officiant

I am planning to get married outdoors next year, but have been told that I will have to go to the registry office first. Who would I contact to perform a nice ceremony outdoors?

- Corinna


In order to be wed, a trip to the registry office is definitely required. You'll need apply and receive a marriage license before you can marry. But don't get one too early, they can expire! Check at your county or clerk's office to find out what rules and regulations apply to your country and state for license expiry dates and required identification.

As for choosing an officiant to perform your outdoor ceremony, you can contact your church's clergy or local justice of the peace and ask for their services. Most City Hall offices or chapels often have a list of local clergy and justices that perform wedding ceremonies either on site at City Hall, at a local church, or alternate location. The office administrator will assign you an officiant, but if you are really uncomfortable with the officiant chosen, you can request another.

Walking Down the Aisle with an Uncle

I am about to get married in May 2006. I have come to the decision that I will not have my father walk me down the aisle since he has never been there for me. I have asked my uncle to do this job and he has agreed. My father mentioned that he wanted to do this but I don't feel he deserves to. Am I wrong for omitting him from my wedding ceremony? I really don't want to invite him to the ceremony at all, am I wrong for that also?

- Monica


You are not wrong on either count. It's your wedding day and you get to choose who attends and who has the honor of walking you down the aisle. If you don't feel that your father has played a positive, nurturing role in your life, why would you include him in something so special to you? Your uncle is lucky to have the honor.

Walking Down a Narrow Aisle

My best friend's daughter is getting married soon. She is having a garden wedding and would like to include both her father and step-father in the ceremony. She will be walking down a path and across a small bridge where there is not enough room to walk three abreast. Do you have any suggestions?

- T.H


I attended a wedding where the bride was equally close to both her biological father and her step-father. She had both fathers escort her down the path, and when they arrived at they bridge, she let her biological father lead her across. It was a lovely part of the ceremony, and a beautiful tribute to the way a family can blend after divorce.

Ask the bride whom she prefers to lead her across the bridge. If there is any difficulty in choosing, have the dads draw straws to decide. She could also cross the bridge on her own, with both dads following closely behind, and then picking up where they left off after a short pause. Who leads isn't important, it's that they are both there with the bride.

Chiming of the Hour

I am directing a wedding and the ceremony time is 5:00 p.m. Does the bride go down the aisle at exactly 5:00, or is the mother of the bride seated at 5:00? Also, I always thought the chiming of the hour was after the seating of the mother of the bride and prior to the bridal party processional. But I have read elsewhere that the chiming of the hour is prior to the bridal processional. Which is correct?

- Confused


Directing a wedding is no small task. If the wedding invitations state that the ceremony commences at 5:00 pm, the bride should be commencing her walk down the aisle at 5:00pm. Seating other guests and the mother of the bride should take place 30 minutes earlier to ensure that ushers have guided guests to their places and everyone is settled.

There is no hard and fast rule about the chiming of the hour. It is a choice you should make with the bride and groom. Do they want the bells to chime when the mother of the bride is seated in order to encourage everyone to take their seats and signal that the ceremony is beginning? Or will they prefer the chiming to commence as they are leaving the church as a signal to the world that they are now man and wife? Either way, harmonize the chiming of the bells to mark an important moment in the proceedings.

Seating Divorced Family Members

The parents and the grandparents on both the bride and groom's side are divorced. The grandmothers do not want the grandfathers to follow them as they are being seated. Do I need to have an usher seat each grandfather first and individually, or can one usher walk in the middle of both grandfathers to bring with them both down the aisle and let them be seated at the same time? What a mess, I need help.

- Michelle


It can certainly be difficult to know how to sort out some wedding customs when important guests are divorced. It is even more difficult when those guests have specific requests and proximity needs. I suggest seating both of the grandfathers first with one usher, and have both of the grandmothers seated with a different usher directly afterwards. Or, ask the grandparents what makes them most comfortable in terms of seating order.

A Simple Romantic Wedding

I am getting married to a man who has been married before and has one daughter. I have 3 daughters of my own from a previous relationship - not married. We want a small wedding without much fuss. We have already decided that we want the groom and groomsmen to wear open collared shirts and I want to wear ivory. Do you have any suggestions on a really simple, romantic day?

- Kellie


There are many, many ways to plan a simple and romantic wedding day. Small weddings mean you can make your day a little more personal for you and your loved-ones. Depending on the number of guests, you may want to have your wedding and reception at your own home. Rent what you need, but keep your celebrations on your own home turf.

Or think about having a small civil ceremony and a larger reception. Have you considered an outdoor wedding [Outdoor Wedding Tips] at your home or in a park? A small ceremony in a non-traditional location such as a historic building, museum or Inn might be a great fit for you.

Instead of a typical formal reception, consider having a more casual wedding supper at a restaurant - some restaurants and inns will print special wedding menus for you. Or, you could have your wedding dinner catered at home. Whatever your decision, take advantage of the opportunity for a fuss-free day and make your day special and meaningful for you and your children.

Seating Divorced Parents

My daughter is getting married soon, and her mother and I are divorced, and so is the mother of the groom. Neither her mother nor I are remarried, but we both have significant others in our lives. Should her mother and I along with our others be seated together in the first row or should her mother and I swallow our differences for one day and sit together and have out significant others sit behind us? The grooms mother hate's her ex and wont let him sit anywhere in the first three rows!!

- Randy


There are always some tricky questions surrounding exactly who sits where when it comes to weddings, especially when divorce is a factor. A good way to approach this tricky situation is by asking the bride and groom what would make it most comfortable for them on their wedding day. What would make your daughter most at ease? I don't imagine she would expect you and your ex to swallow your differences enough to be seated together, but it's a nice thought.

You and your ex, as well as your new partners could share a pew together if there is not too much tension. Or you could allow the mother of the bride and her partner the honor of sitting in the first pew, while you and your partner take the second pew. If there is a lot of tension and difficulty solving the seating problem, try to remember that you are both there to share in the celebration of your daughter's marriage and must try to reach a compromise for your daughter's sake.

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