Number 1 Question:
How far in advance should we book a Wedding Officiant?
A: If you want choices, consider meeting with, and making a commitment to an Officiant as soon as you know your wedding date and have booked your vunue. The details of your wedding ceremony can always be worked out closer to your wedding. I have couples who have booked me as far out as a year and a half, especially for Summer Destination Weddings (June, July, Aug).
"If you think I might be the Officiant for you, call or send an email to see if your date is available."
Some couples don’t think finding an Officiant will be a problem because there are hundreds to choose from. Then once they start to research Officiants, and realize the person they hire is going to be their voice, represent them and be the heartbeat of their ceremony, suddenly it does make a difference who that person is.
Q: How do we Apply for a Marriage License in Washington State?
A: CLICK HERE for info on obtaining a Marriage License in Washington.
When the page opens, Click on the county you live in. Out of State couples click on King County. You Do Not have to get your marriage license in the county you plan to wed. Your marriage license can be used anywhere in Washington State.
If you Live Out-of-State and are planning to come to Seattle to get married you may apply for your Marriage License through the mail and use it upon arrival.
CLICK HERE for Marriage License Division of the King County
Downtown Seattle: 500 Fourth Ave., Suite 430 Sea, WA 98104
Andreas and Maitha
Q: Who can get married in Washington?
A: Anyone 18 years of age or older, who are not already legally married, may marry in Washington. Personally, I will not preside over a wedding ceremony for persons under 21 or under duress.
Q: Are couples required to be residents of Washington State to be married in Washington?
A: No, you are not required to be a resident of Washington to get married in Washington.
Q: How much do you charge to create and perform a Wedding Ceremony?
A: My fee to prepare, produce, and perform a wedding ceremony in Seattle, and surrounding metropolitan communities, is on par with other experienced full-time professional Wedding Officiants. I offer complete wedding ceremony productions starting at $575 for gatherings of up to 30 guests, Elopements a little less.
Q: How do we book you for our wedding?
A: Email me, we'll chat briefly on the phone, I will quote you a fee for my services, then if you would like, schedule a time to meet face-to-face or with Skype. In all cases, to confirm services on your wedding date, a signed Service Agreement and a deposit is required.
Q: What is the percentage of Wedding Ceremonies you preform for Gay, Lesbian, Bi Transgender and Queer couples?
A: I have performed nearly 100 weddings for same-sex couples since the legalization of Marriage Equality in Washington. Currently Same-sex couples represent roughly 20% of all the weddings I presided over. I am honored by all of the LGBTQ couples who have allowed me to marry them and be a part of their wedding day.
Q: Do you attend the Ceremony Rehearsal?
A: Yes, for weddings that include a wedding party, rehearsing the wedding ceremony is a must. Spending the time with the members of the wedding party always helps smooth out the details and gives everyone more confidence and a clear picture of how they actually fit into the wedding ceremony program. NOTE: Rehearsals do not have to take place at the actual location. Keep in mind that during the peak of the wedding season your venue or I may not be avialable for a Friday or Saturday evening rehearsal.
Q: How long does a Wedding Ceremony take?
A: The average length of a ceremony that I script with a couple can be from 20 to 50 minutes long. Depending on the various elements incorporated into your ceremony. However, a marriage can be legally solemnized in less than 5 minutes, plus the time it takes to fill in the blanks and sign off on your legal documents. But what fun is that?!
Q: What makes our marriage legal?
A: In Washington and many other states, any Judge or Ordained Clergy Person (OCP) of a legally recognized church may marry you. It is the obtaining and filing of the certificate of marriage that makes a marriage legal. Your marriage license must be obtained by you; then legal documents completed and filed by the Officiant (or you).
Q: What are Frank Harlan's qualifications to perform legally-binding wedding ceremony?
A: Originally, I was ordained as a member of the Clergy of the Church of Spiritual Humanism. Since then I have been endorsed as a Humanist Celebrant by The Humanist Society in conjunction with the American Humanist Association. These credentials allow me perform all functions of the Clergy in all 50 States. Philosophically, I consider myself a Secular Humanist.
Q: What does "Officiant and Celebrant " mean?
A: Officiant or Celebrant is a secular title used by an Ordained Clergy Person (OCP) who is legally authorized to preside over a wedding ceremony. Persons representing religious organizations may prefer the title, Pastor or Minister.
Q: Are you available for an Elopement Ceremony?
A: Yes, an Elopement Wedding to me, is a gathering of up to a dozen people standing together with you to witness your Nuptials. At minimum you will need two witnesses present during the ceremony. Email me ASAP for availability.
Q: WE HAVE A BIG SECRET... We eloped a couple years ago without telling anyone, now we would like to have a full-on formal wedding ceremony for family and friends, is that something you could do? As well as keep our secret?
A: Yes, of course. I get this request a few times each year. If this is your situation, you can count on me to create a first-time experience for you and a memoriable wedding for all of your invited guests without ever exposing "your secret."
Q: How many witnesses do we need and can they be related to us?
A: You need two witnesses present for any Marriage Ceremony. It is required that they are 18 years of age or older. Any person can act as a witness; parents, siblings and friends. Even your photographer. The presiding Officiant (me) cannot act as a witness.
Q: Can we write our own vows?
A: Sure! You can do anything you want! It’s your ceremony! I'll even give you some pointers and my guide to "Creating Your Marriage Vows", anything you need to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing.
Q: Can we include elements from different cultural traditions into our Wedding Ceremony?
A: Of course! Anything you would like to add makes for an even more personalized ceremony. I can assist you in defining where and how your creative ideas can be incorporated.
Q: Will you incorporate religious readings and verse into our wedding ceremony?
Q: Can we include my friends and family members in our ceremony?
A: Yes, the majority of the ceremony must be performed by me as your Officiant but your friends can have minor roles throughout the wedding ceremony. I will show you all of your options when we have our initial consultation.
Monica and Linda (US Coast Guard)
Brian and Kathryn seal it with a kiss
Kris and Nikki (US Navy)
Rob and Susan's Handfasting
Jonathon and Domenica
Q: Is it okay to tip you?
A: I never turn down a contribution to my "Date Night Fund". I don’t know what other Officiants do, but any tips I receive I use to treat my "better half", Molly, to a night out on the town.
Q: What Venues in and around Seattle have you performed weddings?
A: As a full-time Wedding Officiant I have choreographed and presided over hundreds of wedding ceremonies hosted at dozens of popular Seattle area locations including, but notlimited to Herban Feast SODO, Georgetown Ballroom, The Corson Building, The Ruins, Salish Lodge, Museum of Flight, Alexis Hotel, Monte Cristo Ballroom, Seattle Tennis Club, Ray's Boat House, Seattle Space Needle, Daybreak Star, Willow's Lodge, Sander's Estate, Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Urban Light Studios, Golden Garden's Bath House, Monte Villa Farmhouse, Palace Ballroom, Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo's Rose Garden, Within SODO, Point Defiance Pagoda in Tacoma, Mt. Baker, Point Roberts, Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands, Doe Bay Retreat on Orcas Island, The Canal in Ballard, Stemson-Green Mansion on Capitol Hill, FM Fine Art Gallery, Kitsap Memorial Statre Park, The Arctic Club, Cast Iron Studios, UW Center for Urban Horticulture, Clise Mansion at Marymoor Park and the Skansonia on Lake Union.
Smaller gatherings have taken place at a variety of intimate settings and public locations that have included the Sky Bridge at the Pike Place Market, Seattle Arboretum, While riding The Great Wheel, Volunteer Park Conservatory, Center for Wooden Boats, Sole Repair Shop, Tower Club, Ballard Locks, Edgewater Hotel, Discovery Park, The Parson’s Rose Garden, Gas Works Park, West Seattle’s Water Taxi Dock, Carillon Point, Alki Beach as well as on the beaches of Lake Washington, Golden Gardens and Bainbridge Island. Some of my favorite wedding ceremonies have taken place on condo rooftops, living rooms and in the backyards of neighborhood homes.
Q: Do you perform weddings outside of Seattle?
A: Yes. Outside of Seattle (San Juan Islands, Point Roberts, Levenworth, Mt. Baker, Cle Elum) and at destination wedding locations throughout the United States. However, the primary area for my services is within a 50-mile radius of Seattle in the surrounding metropolitan communities of King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.
Q: What kind of locations will you perform your Officiant services?
A: I will perform your wedding at any location of your choice indoors or out; reception halls, museums, restaurants, on a beach, a waterfront cruise or at a public park or your back yard. Often in the cooler months, many smaller ceremonies take place in living rooms, hotel suites and private dining rooms. The venue, season, or weather conditions do not effect my ability to perform a wedding ceremony. To me, the environment is just another element of your wedding experience.
Q: What happens if it’s raining and our ceremony is outdoors?
A: Risk management is a very important consideration and you should ensure you have a wet weather alternative for your ceremony. A gazebo, covered area or hall is usually a good place if your ceremony is in a park or garden. Sometimes there may be a possibility of the ceremony being moved into the venue hosting your reception. Request attendees prepared for the worst if the possibility exists and note in the invitation “Rain or Shine”.
Q: After we are married, what is the process for Changing our Name?
A: All marriage license documents are signed with one's current legal name, never the intended new name. There is no legal requirement for name change after getting married; it is a right a couple may choose to exercise.So, the easiest way to answer this question is to suggest that you CLICK HERE for a more detailed answer.
Q: Are you available to perform weddings in other states or countries.
A: Because of my endorsement with The Humanist Society as a Humanist Celebrant. I can perform weddings in all of the United States. In other countries, I can perform your "Formal Wedding Ceremony" for family and friends, but it would not be legally-binding in your country.
Justin and Mona's Persian Wedding.
Randi and Nejowa exchange marriage vows.
Michele and Kristin, 13 years and 3 children.