Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Colorado couples forgo traditional wedding ceremony, self solemnize their marriage

January 17, 2016 Updated: January 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm
0
Caption +
Debbi and Michael Lascuola and their dog, Mr. Bear, in their living room on their wedding day in 2011. Courtesy Michael Lascuola.

Michael Lascuola and his wife did it in their living room. Robin Tapp and her husband did it at the top of Wilkerson Pass and Jennifer Schafer and her husband did it in the forest outside Winter Park.

What did they do?

Got married all by themselves. No priests, pastors or judges. No guest list drama, no "Chicken Dance," no venue rental and no worrying about party favors. All gone in the blink of a nonexistent bouquet toss.

It's called self solemnization and in short it means you and your beloved can simply marry yourselves whenever, wherever and however you'd like, as long as you're in the state when you do.

Colorado is one of just a few states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that has legalized the act of self-uniting a marriage without the presence of a third-party officiant. And don't worry if you leave the state - the marriage is still legal, wrote Stephen Clark Harkess, a family law attorney in Wheat Ridge, on AVVO.com, a website that offers legal advice.

"You will still get a marriage license recorded in Colorado and every other state will recognize that marriage," said Harkess. "You don't become unmarried when you move to another state."

Tapp and her boyfriend dated for 16 years before their self solemnized wedding.

"We thought why make it a big deal?" she said. "We've been together so long why not make it just for us?"

The process took about three weeks, from the time they picked up a marriage license at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, drove to Wilkerson Pass, took a hike into the woods to face the Continental Divide and returned the signed license to the Clerk and Recorder's Office.

"It was wonderful," said Tapp. "We held hands and looked in each other's eyes and said what we needed to say from our hearts."

There are two other ways to tie the knot in Colorado - a religious ceremony or civil ceremony with a judge or magistrate. Religious ceremonies were the most popular in 2013, coming in at 46 percent of all marriages that year, said Jimmie Van Buskirk, recording manager at the Clerk and Recorder's Office. But self solemnization wasn't far behind in second place at 34 percent. And the numbers haven't gone down in the past two years, he said.

"It's quick and affordable because you're not hiring anybody to perform your ceremony," Van Buskirk said. "The majority of folks who do it are military and getting ready to ship out."

While that may be the case, getting hitched without an over-the-top to-do also appeals to those outside the military. When Lascuola's wife suggested the two of them get hitched in a similar fashion, his response was simple.

"Let's do it," he said. "We'd both been married before in big ceremonies and realized having all the people in from out of town and deciding who should be on the guest list didn't have anything to do with whether the marriage would work or not."

It was a simple affair with only their dog as a witness.

"It was the right choice for us at this point in our lives," Lascuola said. "We're well into our 40s, both married before, both raised kids and this was just right for us."

Schafer heard rumors that you could marry without an officiant and snooped it out online. It was the second marriage for both her and her husband and they wanted something low-key and more about the partnership than the party.

"I would say if you feel like the big day can get distracting and you don't want a lot of people's input and opinions it does work well," Schafer said. "It just helps keep you centered on each other which is what's important."

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.