The purpose of a wedding ceremony is to make a formal and legally binding commitment in the union of two people deciding to become married. By law, a couple is required to state their intentions to become married and to speak their vows – their promise to each other. A third requirement of a legal union is to have a witness. (In California the law requires one signature on the marriage license, and there is room for two witness signatures.)
One couple I had the honor of serving as their wedding clergy expressed their desire for the inclusion of family and friends into the ceremony as witnesses to their union. I give credit to their ideas to create a ritual wherein the signing of the marriage license became an element within their wedding ceremony. We co-created a ritual that began with a lovely poem about the importance of family and friends, followed by the invitation of two family members to join us at the altar and sign the marriage license.