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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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My daughter & Her fiance want to perform their own ceremony

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My daughter & Her fiance want to perform their own ceremony in Estes Park Colorado this Summer. I have heard conflicting reports about the legality of that. I understood the law that they can perform it theselves in front of the county clerk not in a meadow... Can you help me please? 22 family members are flying to Colorado to see a wedding that wont really be a wedding?! Yikes. Thanks Susan [email protected]

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Are you saying they want to perform their own ceremony with no official present?

I may be off line for an hour but I will definitely get back to you. I just need to know the details of what it is they want to do.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dave, Yes that is what i am saying. She thinks it is legal in Colorado for both the groom and bride to perform the cermony in the meadow without an official present. An official told me that is incorrect, but the mother of the groom said she read the law to be that they could perform it. I say that they can if they do so in front of the court appointed clerk not in the meadow without an official. I hope i am right. It doesnt have to be religious just has to have an official right? Thank you so much, Susan XXX-XXX-XXXX [email protected]
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Is someone helping me with this? Please and thank you. Susan
As I said, I would be off line for a bit. I'm back now and I'm going to do take a look at some research so please be patient.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX daughter is turning my hair gray. She is 23 and fiance is 24. Both are residents of Texas and living in Denver for 2 months this summer. Marriage in Estes Park Colorado - Rocky Mountain National Park Aug 6, 2011. I want an official and want it to be a legal wedding... Thanks again, Susan

Dear XXXXX - Here is the statute. It is fairly clear that the parties are permitted to solemnize their own ceremony so it would appear that your daughter can get married anywhere she pleases without a third party official attending. I understand your feelings however she is an adult and has a right to have whatever type of wedding she chooses.

Since common law marriage is still legal in Colorado I am assuming the laws are fairly lax as to how the marriage is performed since they can create their own marriage just by living together and holding themselves out as a married couple. From a practical standpoint they wouldn't even have to have a legal marriage ceremony in order to be married by common law.

I'm not a marriage counselor or psychologist but my suggestion is to let the kids do what they want and hope for a successful marriage regardless of the way it is achieved. They are probably going to do as they please in any event so there's no point in alienating them and causing them stress on their special day. That's not legal advice but as a parent and grandparent I speak from lots of experience and know that what I or my wife say about weddings and raising grandkids etc. really doesn't matter. I would just enjoy the beauty of the Rockies and wish them the very best!

14-2-109. Solemnization and registration.

(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk and recorder within sixty days after the solemnization. Any person who fails to forward the marriage certificate to the county clerk and recorder as required by this section shall be required to pay a late fee in an amount of not less than twenty dollars. An additional five-dollar late fee may be assessed for each additional day of failure to comply with the forwarding requirements of this subsection (1) up to a maximum of fifty dollars. For purposes of determining whether a late fee shall be assessed pursuant to this subsection (1), the date of forwarding shall be deemed to be the date of postmark.

(2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, such party may authorize in writing a third person to act as such party's proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, such person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If such person is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.

(3) Upon receipt of the marriage certificate, the county clerk and recorder shall register the marriage.

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