Commitment ceremonies mean many different things to different people. A commitment ceremony can look just like a wedding, complete with church, wedding gown, and hundreds of guests — but no marriage license. Or, it can be the most alternative event imaginable: a ritual to bless your relationship, or just a big party to celebrate your love. A huge bash with all your friends and relatives in attendance, an intimate exchange between you and your partner(s), or a family rite of passage to strengthen the bonds between parents and children in a new unmarried stepfamily – call it a commitment ceremony, a wedding, a ceremony of union, or anything else you like!
Rituals and ceremonies are important events in the lives of individuals, partners and families. A multiple-partner family can have one; so can a group of friends or a single person!
When UE talks about a commitment ceremony, we mean an event that does not involve laws or government agencies in any way; there’s no license or certificate, and the participants’ legal status does not change. Therefore, we recommend that couples who have commitment ceremonies should not say they are married, especially not on any official forms, and most especially not if they live in common-law states.
Have questions? Visit our Commitment Ceremonies FAQ page!