I Now Pronounce Us Husband and Wife

Looking for a way to make your wedding more personal? Forgo an officiant and go the route of a self-uniting wedding.




photos by EventuresWeddings

 

Brian Baur and Stacie Conley wanted to make all aspects of their July 11, 2015 wedding day as personal as possible. They chose the chapel at Robert Morris University, where they met as undergrads, for the ceremony site, and they chose to get a self-uniting marriage license to essentially declare themselves husband and wife.

“There’s not as many guidelines for the actual wedding ceremony [in a self-uniting wedding],” Brian says. “You still apply for a marriage license, but you have to essentially check a certain box when you're filling out the application, and once they issue the license all you need to do is say, ‘I take you, Stacie, to be my wife’ and she says that back to me and you need two witnesses … We thought that was a very interesting way of personalizing it.”

According to Allegheny County officials, a self-uniting marriage license is a valid license and therefore legal in all states. Not all states offer the option, but Pennsylvania does so because of its Quaker roots; self-uniting marriages are derived from a Quaker tradition.
 



 

Baur, a partner at EventuresWeddings, says one of his clients opted for a self-uniting wedding a few years ago, and he and Stacie liked the idea.

Their wedding still included some traditions — Stacie’s father accompanied her down the aisle, and they had a traditional bridal party. Brian and Stacie wrote their own vows.

Brian’s mother and a friend of Stacie’s gave readings, but the texts were original and based on personal references to the couple. One of the pair’s favorite television shows is “The Big Bang Theory,” and the text written by Stacie’s friend referred to the character of Sheldon, a scientist, and manipulating an equation to find love.

“It really meant a lot to us,” Brian says. “The wedding day and especially the wedding ceremony reflected us.”
 

Instead of a unity candle, the couple chose to have a unity puzzle. During the ceremony, various family members added pieces of the puzzle, which formed a picture of Brian and Stacie. Brian’s business partner, who “facilitated” during the ceremony to keep the proceedings moving, spoke of how life is like a puzzle. He said the two of them together complete their puzzle but must work to make sure the pieces fit.

Baur says the ceremony length was similar to that of weddings with officiants.

“I don’t want to say it’s shorter because we’ve seen some ceremonies be 15 or 20 minutes depending on what couples want to do,” he says. “It can be two minutes if all you want to say is, ‘I take you Stacie to be my wife, I take you Brian to be my husband,’ but we wanted it to be a little longer than two minutes.”

Baur says the reaction was positive from those who may not have been familiar with self-uniting weddings.

“They all thought the ceremony was seamless,” he says. “Everybody liked the ceremony and said it was a very nice representation of us. We’re not religious, we’re not involved in any church, so this was more us.”
 


 


Photos by Amanda Brisco Photography

 

Emily Rentschler and Craig Drobek weren’t aware of self-uniting marriages until they interviewed the woman they later hired as their wedding coordinator — Heather Herrington of Flawless Executions.

“We did a little research … and it seemed like a great option for us,” Emily says. “Neither of us are members of a church here in Pittsburgh … so we didn’t really love the idea of finding a random person online to marry us. When this opportunity presented itself, we thought it would be great.”

The pair had their ceremony and reception at J. Verno Studios in the South Side on Oct. 11, 2015. Craig’s sister, Tina, served as emcee.
 



 

“We had somebody kind of leading the ceremony so we didn’t have to be up there orchestrating the whole thing,” Emily says. “We wrote a whole script for her to explain it to our guests and what is it and why we chose to do it.”

The couple also wrote their own vows, asked family members to give readings (the poem “Love” by Roy Croft and a modern wedding blessing) and included a traditional procession down the aisle.

They weren’t sure how they were going to handle the end of the ceremony when an officiant traditionally says: “I now pronounce you husband and wife” because they didn’t intend for Tina to make such an official pronouncement. Instead, they wrote closing words for her to recite:

“We never live so intensely as when we love strongly, we never realize ourselves so vividly as when we are in full glow of love for others. May all the years to come be filled with moments to celebrate and renew your love. Please seal your love with a kiss.”
 


 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Did You See This? Steelers' JuJu Delivers Surprise Autograph

Did You See This? Steelers' JuJu Delivers Surprise Autograph

In a video he shared, JuJu Smith-Schuster shows up at a store that had just started selling his jerseys to sign one for a fan who had been waiting for it to come in.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments