Special Note: Huge thanks to State Representative Bud Hulsey , from TN House District 2, for working closely with me as we figure out what this new law means for the Tennessee wedding industry and the couples affected. While we haven’t found a positive solution yet, I know that Mr. Hulsey is still actively discussing and investigating various options with the state legal team. His efforts are greatly appreciated and I’ll be sure to provide an update to this post as soon as I have additional information to share.
What we’re talking about:
On April 11th, 2019, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed House Bill 213 which, among other things, prohibited anyone who obtained their ordination online from solemnizing a marriage in the state. On April 30th, the Tennessee Senate approved the bill and it was signed into law on May 21st, 2019 by the Governor.
As enacted, authorizes members of the general assembly, duly appointed law enforcement chaplains, and members of the legislative body of a municipality to solemnize marriages; prohibits persons receiving online ordinations from solemnizing the rite of matrimony; requires members of the general assembly who want to solemnize marriage to opt in by filing notice of the member’s intention with the office of vital records. – Amends TCA Section 36-3-301.
Who does this affect?
What does it mean for those affected?
Officiants and venues who’ve used online ordination methods, will no longer be able to perform legal ceremonies anymore. This doesn’t mean they can’t be involved, just that other, legally recognized officiants will have to be involved as well.
For couples who were planning on having a friend or family member obtain an online ordination to perform their marriage ceremony, you’ll no longer be able to have them legally marry you. That special person can still perform the majority of the ceremony or be involved in another meaningful way, but when it comes to the “I do’s”, those will have to be done in front of a legally recognized officiant like a pastor, court clerk, judge, or elected official.
How to proceed if you’re planning a Tennessee wedding:
For the couples who’ve had their wedding dreams dashed by this new legislation, there are steps you can take to save all your wedding plans in the best ways possible.
While I can’t guarantee that there will be updates and changes to what you’ve read here, we are hopeful that a positive work around can be found for the engaged couples of Tennessee. If you would like to be notified as any new information becomes available, please comment “Update me!” and I will record your email address for future notifications.