Gulf Coast Beach Wedding & Vow Renewal Ceremony Officiating Mississippi, Alabama, NW Florida
Since 2003, I have officiated 5000+ beach weddings and vow renewals along Gulf Coast Alabama, Mississippi, Northwest Florida. I am the author of the Simple Wedding Ceremony Planning Guide, and I’ve been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News, and the Christian Television Network.
I am the pastor of CrossHope Chapel church in West Mobile, Alabama, a hospital chaplain, and I write Today’s Daily Promise free email devotionals. While my schedule is fuller today with my pastoral church ministry and part-time hospital chaplain job, I still enjoy officiating.
Helping brides and grooms have a meaningful, yet simple, ceremony, is something I still do and enjoy, traveling to your Gulf Coast site at Alabama’s Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Mobile, Orange Beach, Point Clear, Mississippi’s Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Hattiesburg, NW Florida’s Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Navarre Beach.
Changes for Alabama Weddings
A marriage ceremony and an ordained minister is no longer required for an Alabama marriage. The new Alabama laws have made getting married more like other Western countries in that there are now two distinct aspects that are not dependent on the other, as were the old law. Here is a brief look at those…
1) CIVIL/RECORDED – an affidavit form that must be recorded at the county courthouse. This is the only state requirement for a marriage to be recognized and legal in Alabama. The couple sign an affidavit form before an Alabama Notary testifying that deem themselves married.
2) FAMILY/RELIGIOUS – a ceremony performed with or without an ordained minister, conducted for the family and/or religious reasons. The ceremony is no longer an Alabama State requirement for a bride and groom to be considered legally married.
In the past, an Alabama Marriage License was purchased to present to an ordained minister, a judge, or certain government figures to officiate a ceremony and sign the license, which was then returned to courthouse to be recorded.
Marriage laws in Mississippi and Florida have not changed and continue in this way. You can read more about the Alabama laws and my further explanation at the What Changed for Getting Married in Alabama? post.
Covenant Marriage Ceremony
Many couples still call upon me to officiate in Alabama because they simply want a Christian wedding presided by a vocational Christian pastor. Under the new law, this ceremony is all “in the eyes of God” rather than in the eyes of the state.
The ceremony, as separated from the requirements of the State of Alabama, is known as a Covenant Marriage Ceremony because it is a covenant made before God, family, or friends and not before the Civil authorities. It is a “church” ceremony not a “civil” ceremony, it is a ceremony of religious marriage commitment not a ceremony of government marriage recognition.
In the past, this type of ceremony was considered illegal because it purported the legal issuance of a state marriage license and thereby a fraudulent public presentation. Now, the new marriage laws allows for a Covenant Marriage Ceremony. You can learn more about this at the Covenant Marriage Ceremony post.
Friends or Family Officiants
The new marriage laws have completely removed the ceremony from the Alabama State requirement and that means that having a friend or family member officiate a wedding ceremony is possible without trying to get someone ordained online or seeking a minister’s consent to allow another to participate.
If you have a friend or family member that you wish to have officiate your Alabama wedding, I am happy to them do that consulting and/or resources, like my Covenant Marriage Ceremony Book.
My book contains my complete ceremony script, the wording of the famous Grandma Story and a 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 post-wedding devotional of insights on what biblical love looks in actual marriage relationship. Please visit the DIY Guides page for resources.
Mississippi Coast to Pensacola Beach
Over the many years that I have been officiating weddings, I have traveled many times to Pensacola Beach, Florida and across the Mississippi Coast of Bay St. Louis to Gulfport to Biloxi.
I am advocate of investing in your vacation, not the flash and frills of a wedding ceremony. You can have a simple ceremony without a great expense, that will be meaningful and dignified without being over the top with unnecessary costs.
I am available to officiate or help you with photography, but I do not provide any decor or wedding accent set-up. My officiating fees cover all necessary travel, planning help, and even a few photos.