Author Topic: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.  (Read 2961 times)

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Thipu1

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A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« on: March 23, 2014, 02:07:21 PM »
In our experience, the Maid of Honor and the Best Man are the legal witnesses of the Wedding and must be adults.

  Here, I've often read about MOHs and BM who are too young to be considered as legal witnesses. How is this handled?   

« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 04:03:30 PM by cass2591 »

Harriet Jones

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Re: A Question About Maids of Ho or and Best Men.
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 02:09:02 PM »
They use someone else.   I don't think it's a legal requirement that the MOH or Best Man be the witnesses.

jmarvellous

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 04:22:37 PM »
We weren't required to have "witnesses" but there was a space for two signatures, if we wanted them. We didn't have a wedding party, either. We asked our mothers to sign as witnesses, as an appreciative gesture.

This was in Texas, last year.

I am not sure whether other states or countries have done away with the witness requirement, but I am pretty sure there's no hard-and-fast rule about witnesses being MOH/BM (and I've only heard of that being done in a minority of weddings, anyway).

Margo

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 04:38:29 PM »
I'm in the UK.

Here, you have to have two witnesses to the wedding but it doesn't matter who they are.

My sister and I were bridesmaids when my aunt got married- we were around 8 and 10 at the time.
My dad was once asked to be a witness for a stranger - he was passing the registry office during his lunch hour, and the couple who were getting married asked him, and another passer-by to come in and act as witnesses.

I was bridesmaid for my sister when she got married last year -  (with my other sister) Neither of us signed as a witness - My sister asked my mum to do it - I can't remember who the second witness was - one of my sister's parents-in-law, I think.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 04:59:56 PM »
A friend of mine didn't have attendants when she got married.  Where they were getting married, there wasn't room for more than 1 attendant and she had several people, including me, that she'd have wanted and she didn't want to have to choose.

When it came time to sign the register, one member from each of their families signed the register.
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English1

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 05:44:51 PM »
I don'tknow US system very well but it sounds unlikely to be compulsory to have a best man and Maid of Honor, and for it then also to be compulsory for them to also be the witnesses? Just a tradition?

IN UK as stated, witnesses can be anyone, not even connected to the couple. Of course they usually pick two people they are close to, and these may also quite likely be the best man etc, or relatives.

When I got married we had a best man, no bridesmaids, and chose two other close friends as witnesses. One of my brothers had a best woman instead of a best man.  Some people have no attendants at all. Adult bridesmaids are a bit unusual but not unknown.

Last wedding I went to there was a best man and two young bridesmaids. Then the brides two sisters and best friends didn't have official titles but were sort of 'something' different from other guests - their dress colours coordinated, they all got hair and make up done, and spent the morning with her. Her best friend and best man were the witnesses.

Wedding I went to last year had 2 child bridesmaids, 2 maids of honour, one best man and 1 male usher in the same clothes as bridal party. 1 maid of honour and the usher were the witnesses.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 05:51:26 PM by English1 »

katycoo

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 06:59:30 PM »
In Australia you are required to have two adult witnesses who know the couple (so no strangers off the street) but the witnesses do not need to hold any role in the bridal party.  Often the MOH and BM are the witnesses also, but its not unusual for others to be.

Lots of people think its a nice way to acknowlege people such as step parents or grandparents who they want to include.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:27:26 PM by katycoo »

nutraxfornerves

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 08:13:30 PM »
Here in California only one witness is required, but there is space on the marriage license for two to sign.  The usual practice is for the chosen one or two, the officiant, and the couple to quickly meet after the ceremony & sign the license. If you get married at City Hall and bring no witnesses, they will round up a clerk to sign it.

Quote
You must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. The license contains a place for two witnesses if you prefer. You may NOT have more than two witnesses sign the official marriage license. Licenses received with more than two witnesses signatures will be returned to the officiant and a duplicate marriage license will need to be purchased.

There is no age requirement in California for witnesses, however, they must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony, AND be able to sign their name on the official marriage license.

When Mr. Nutrax & I married, we were unable to get the license before the ceremony (long story). Two weeks later, the officiant stopped by our house, along with the next door neighbors who had attended the wedding. The officiant said something like "so, you still wanna get married?" (to satisfy the legal requirements for a marriage), we said "sure" and the neighbors signed as the witnesses.

Nutrax
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TootsNYC

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2014, 08:15:14 PM »
In the U.S., each state has its own requirements for all the legalities of marriage.

In my state (Iowa), I needed two witnesses; we asked the best man (DH's immature brother, who drew a cartoon character on one of the copies before I could stop him) and one of the bridesmaids (my best friend, who was not my MOH).

The witnesses sometimes are required to witness the verbal exchange of vows (I think true of mine); in others, they simply witness the signatures. I don't remember if the witnesses were required to be someone we knew.

We could have asked anybody who was of legal age.

Other states have other requirements (or lack of them).

No state requires a best man and maid of honor; those are social conventions only.


EllenS

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 09:47:00 PM »
Alabama here, 2 witnesses required to sign the certificate. MOH and BM are courtesy titles, there is no legal right or responsibility associated with the term.

It is traditional for MOH and BM to be the witnesses, but if you chose attendants who were too young, then any adult who witnessed the wedding would do.  Signing the certificate usually happens immediately after the ceremony, perhaps in a side room. I was MOH in another 2-witness state last year, a very very small wedding, and the officiant just laid the certificate on the altar right after the ceremony was over and we signed it while the photographer was getting pictures. 

My impression is, that the modern courtesy role of MOH and BM actually evolved out of the utilitarian need for legal witnesses - to have someone "stand up" for you, as we say. But I may be remembering my history wrong.

nutraxfornerves

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 10:11:21 PM »
I looked up a few US state requirements, at random. It really is all over the place.

Florida, Arkansas, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire. No witnesses required.

New York City. At least one witness, over age 18.

Washington. Two witnesses, no age requirement, but over 18 strongly recommended as they are witnessing a civil contract.

New Jersey. One witness, over age 18. The witness has to be there when you apply for the license.

Nebraska. Two witnesses, no age requirement.

Iowa. Two witnesses, over 18, personally known to the couple.

Rhode Island. Two witnesses, over age 18. The state notes that if "honor attendants" are under 18, someone else has to sign.

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Teenyweeny

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 08:46:29 AM »
You have to have two witnesses in the UK, but the only requirement is that they both be over 18. We had both of our mothers sign, it seemed like a nice way to include them (in the UK, MOB doesn't really have much of a 'starring role', especially for relatively informal weddings like ours. FOB usually gets a speech and to walk down the aisle).



Thipu1

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 11:22:43 AM »
Thanks, everyone. It's always interesting to get new perspectives. 

I know that state requirements vary and we were married over 30 years ago so things may well have changed. 

I also know that, in our circles, it was traditional, but not necessary,  to have the MOH and the BM be the legal witnesses.   

Kaymar

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 11:28:23 AM »
I'm in MA - no witnesses required and we're not having attendants, so happily we don't have to deal with any of this stuff :)

lmyrs

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Re: A Question About Maids of Honor or and Best Men.
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 11:31:55 AM »
When my cousin got married several years ago, she had her 16 year old sister as her MOH. So, as the second bridesmaid I was the legal witness of the marriage and signed the marriage certificate. The MOH did all of the MOH things during the ceremony but when it came time to sign the papers, I went over to the table instead of her.

I was married in the Dominican and, at least at the time, parents, siblings and children could not be the legal witnesses. So, even though my DH's brother was the Best Man, his good friend is the legal witness and signed the certificate.

I think it's pretty common for one reason or another to have someone other than the BM and MOH be the actual witness. Well, maybe not common, but certainly not unusual.