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What is a Commitment Ceremony? 

Texas elopement photographer love is love

What is commitment ceremony?  
And why not just get married? 

A commitment ceremony is a beautiful way to publicly affirm and celebrate your love and your commitment to one another without the legalities involved, but with all the celebration an elopement or traditional wedding entails. There are many reasons why sometimes getting married legally isn't an option. Commitment ceremonies are the perfect alternative. 


You get to dress up all the same, you get to write meaningful vows to each other, you get a passionate first kiss, you get a first dance, and most importantly you get cake! Yes i know I bring up cake a lot. So yes you get it all! If you want it all that is.  


If those traditions aren’t what you want, your commitment ceremony can be tailored to exactly what you want and your preferences. If that means going to the beach and saying I do in your swimsuit, picnicking at sunset and smooching while the waves are crashing, why not? 


You can have an officiant, or not, you can have vows, or not, you can have readings and music, or not, you can exchange rings, or not, you can have guests, or not, you can have a reception, or not … You get it. Everything is optional, just like an elopement. You are in charge and the only people you have to consider are the two of you and what you want. 

  • But why not get married instead? 


Maybe you don't want to (or can’t) get legally married. Let’s not forget that before 2015, even in the US, same sex marriage wasn’t allowed.Thankfully it is now, but maybe it is not in your country, so a commitment ceremony could be a great alternative. 


Maybe being legally married doesn’t make sense for financial reasons, wether it is for tax purposes or social security benefits, or medical benefits, or even college financial aid, there are many reasons why a legal marriage may be detrimental. Again a commitment ceremony can be a great alternative to celebrate your relationship in a beautiful and meaningful way. 


Added bonus: If you want to, it’s legal for one or both of you to change your last name so that they match like a married couple.


  • Ok, but what if we are already married? Can we still do this? 


Yes you can !! 

Maybe you had to hurry up and get married and had no time to plan a little celebration. Why not celebrate now? 


Maybe money was tight when you said I do, but now you saved up a little money and want to celebrate somewhere epic. 

Maybe you decided to buy a house and splurge on a honeymoon instead of a big traditional wedding, but you still want to have a special day to remember. You can incorporate your commitment ceremony to your honeymoon. 

Maybe you wanted to get married somewhere remote, but to accommodate your guests, you had to pick a different location. Wear your wedding dress, hike that mountain and recommit to your vows. 


Or maybe your wedding day didn’t go as planned at all, maybe the weather didn’t cooperate, or your caterer messed up the food, or your cousin was drunk and sloppy and ruined your night, there can be many reason why you want a redo. 


The reasons are endless, and the possibilities are endless. 

  • Does our commitment ceremony have to be before we legally get married or after? 


No wrong answer here. Only right answers :)  


Some couples like to get the paperwork over and done with and then have their elopement day. And some do it the other way around.  

Maybe you need to hold off on the paperwork for a specific reason but want to commit to being husband and wife and live as husband and wife. You can have a commitment ceremony, even change your last name, and get legally married at a later date. 


Some couples choose a specific date that is the anniversary of their first date or their first kiss or their first time saying I love you. Some couples have more flexibility and choose to travel during off season when travel is cheaper and less tourists are around. (Pro travel tip: shoulder months and off peak season are great times to elope: accommodations are cheaper, vendors are less busy and parks are less busy too, so keep that in mind) 

Again there is no hard rule here. 


For my Texas couples. remember in Texas, you can have your commitment ceremony whenever you want and then go to the county clerk and declare yourself married on whatever date you choose and you are legally married under common law marriage. 


Conclusion, there are really no "rules" you must adhere to when it comes to commitment ceremonies. You do you, and by you, I mean the two of you of course :) Don't be a bridezilla or a groomzilla.  


  • Does our commitment ceremony have to be in the same country that we live at? 


No. Remember no legalities are involved in a commitment ceremony. You can go ahead and commit to being husband and wife or wife and wife or husband and husband, wherever your heart desires and go back to your state/country and make it legal.


Up to you to choose which date is your anniversary. I’ve had couples do the paperwork and elope on the same day - a year later. So they would have only one anniversary to remember. And I have couples who love having two anniversaries. It gives them a chance to celebrate their love twice a year!! 


I hope you found all this informative. And If you are ready to start planing an amazing commitment ceremony, I am happy to help you plan and be your third wheel with a camera. 

xoxo, Sara
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