CIVIL CELEBRANT SERVICES

CIVIL CELEBRANT SERVICES

The last step to getting married in Virginia is a ceremony performed by a person authorized to “celebrate the rites of marriage.”[1] Ministers, when licensed by the Commonwealth, usually serve this role.  However, active and retired judges may do so, too,[2] as can a few lawyers appointed by the Circuit Court.[3]  David Oblon was appointed a Civil Celebrant in 2015.  (This is similar to a “Marriage Commissioner” or “Justice of the Peace” in other states).

Click here for information on how to get a married in Virginia.

Mr. Oblon views his role as a Civil Celebrant as a “citizen-witness” to a couple’s voluntary consent to be married.  He is not entering a confidential “attorney-client relationship” or providing any legal advice.  The “ceremony” is very brief, with each party publicly agreeing to assume the rights and responsibilities of marriage per Virginia law.

However, if the couple would like for Mr. Oblon to use a different format, let him know in advance and he will consider requests within reason and if consistent with Virginia law.  He will not administer religious rites and customs.  However, couples may add such elements on their own by letting Mr. Oblon know of their desire to do so in advance.  For example, some couples like to exchange rings, others write their own “vows,” some say a prayer, and some stomp on a glass.  As long as these religious rites and customs are initiated and performed by the parties themselves, Mr. Oblon will likely have no objection.

He offers Civil Celebrant services on weekdays, by appointment.  Like most court-appointed Civil Celebrants, he charges the statutory fee of $50.00.[4]  However, he donates 100% of his fee to the Arlington County Bar Foundation — a charity that funds legal services for the poor.  Click here for an appointment.

[1] Virginia Code § 32.1-267.

[2] Virginia Code § 20-25.

[3] Virginia Code § 20-25.

[4] Virginia Code § 20-27.

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