“In the presence of the Light, I take you to be my Beloved...”


Quaker marriage certificates started out as a custom for those of this particular faith, and are used in their marriage ceremonies where there is no specified officiant. Instead, the certificates are signed by the attendees to designate their approval of the union.

Indicative of an emerging trend, these marriage certificates are now being commissioned by people of all faiths and backgrounds. They can be reminiscent of Jewish Ketubot and official marriage certificates written up and submitted for legalization during the early 1900’s. They can be modified and used in marriages involving dual faiths and in other specialized unions. Usually they include the couple’s names, date and location of the ceremony, marriage vows, and witness signature lines for the attendees and wedding party to sign. They are appropriate for smaller, intimate weddings, concerning the accommodation of space for the signature lines. They are highly customizable, ranging from a simpler text-only document to a more elaborate design that can include floral/foliate borders, personal and symbolic illustrations, and photographic elements. They are meant to be preserved and archival, and should be either framed, scrolled, or housed in a custom-made folder for display.

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Regarding these certificates, my pricing can range from $300-$600, depending on the complexity of the design (ranging from the more traditional text-only layout of date and location with the couple’s names to personalized illustration and borders with both main and individual vows), and overall size of the document (word-count of vows and number of signature lines needed). Typically, I can accommodate up to 250 signature lines.

All of the documents I create come housed in a handmade, customized paperboard folder with ribbon ties (for keeping the document flat, clean, and protected from elements when in transport). If you are a long-distance client and do not wish to have the folder, I can ship the document sandwiched between protective papers and bubblewrap, rolled carefully in a sturdy mailing tube. Once received, the document should be removed from the tube and laid flat for a short period of time to allow it to “breathe” and naturally flatten out on its own.

My pricing includes all consultation, mock-ups and drafts, labor, and supplies. Delivery/shipping costs are calculated and accounted for separately. I can arrange for in-person consultations if you are local to me within the Virginia-Maryland-DC metro area. If you decide to have the document framed after the ceremony, I do handle in-house framing and can work with you throughout the process of choosing the frame and the matting treatment. Do know that if the document is to be shipped after framing, I will not use glass... rather, Plexiglas is used to prevent breakage and other damages.

The turnaround time for me is usually about a month. If needed in less than a month's time, there is an automatic $75 rush fee added to the determined base price. It is always best to contact me as soon as you have made the decision to have one of these documents for your ceremony.

If you are thinking of customizing your document, following is a list of considerations that may trigger layout and design elements:

  • Colors to be used for ceremony
  • Favorite flower/tree/plant
  • Something that can be associated with you personally and to your fiancé, individually (i.e., poetry, quotes, music/songs, military, education, occupations, sports, volunteer work, pets, children)
  • Something that can be associated with you as a couple (i.e., favorite place, where you live, how you met, hobbies you share)
  • Would you consider yourselves traditional or more contemporary (vintage-retro-modern)?
  • Are you into jewel-tone colors (purples, emerald green, royal blue, magenta), muted earthy ones (browns, tans, yellows, reds, olive green), pastels (peaches, sage greens, powder or slate blues, pinks), clean-line ones (navy, deep green, burgundy)?

Tate_highres_426-groom sign

The photos on this page are courtesy of Michelle DeBakey, photographer, of www.MichelleShot.com, who provides intimate and stunningly atmospheric photography for special occasions in the Boston area. She took these photos of the Tate-Forster marriage ceremony that featured the Quaker marriage document I created.