A Notary Public is allowed to perform wedding ceremonies, but not all Notaries will perform weddings, usually because of their own personal religious beliefs. The law giving Notaries the authority to perform marriages was enacted in 1861.
In order to solemnize a marriage, the couple must obtain a valid marriage license from a county court judge or Clerk of the Circuit Court and present it to the Notary before the marriage ceremony or contact a mobile notary. The Notary must verify the effective date and expiration date of the license and require proper identification if they are not personally known to the Notary.
Vows can be personalized and unique, but the intent to make a legally binding commitment must be made. The Notary is responsible for completing the certificate portion of the Marriage Record and returning it to the office that issued the license, within 10 days after the ceremony.
Following is an example of what a ceremony should contain(at a minimum) when performed by a Notary Public:
Some sort of announcement (like “Dearly Beloved….we are gathered here today..)to announce the joining of the man and woman in (holy) matrimony….Then the Exchange of Vows:
The Notary will ask the woman, “(her name), do you take this man to be your husband, to live together in (holy) matrimony, to love him, to honor him, to comfort him and to keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live”” She should answer….”I do” This may be repeated in kind for the man.
Then the Notary would state, “repeat after me” – To the Man….”I (his name), take you (her name) to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” To the Woman…” I (her name), take you (his name) to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Then they would exchange rings as the Notary would ask the man to place the ring on the woman’s finger and to repeat, “I give you this ring as a token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love” (same for the woman).
Then the Notary would ask the couple to join hands and would declare, “By virtue of the authority vested in me under the laws of the State, I now pronounce you husband and wife” Then to the man….” you may now kiss the bride”