Sunday, January 25, 2009



Any regular visitors to this blog and anyone who knows me personally will understand that my grandchildren are a great source of joy to me. Any grandparent will claim that their grandchildren are the most beautiful or smartest. The difference, modestly speaking, is that I absolutely know that mine are both.

Here's the latest pic of Liam (bottom left) with his two bff's, Emma and Aislyn. If you aren't familiar with internet & texting slang," bff" means best friend forever.

Another tip of the hat to Amy Grebe for a spectacular photo.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Marriage License Requirements

...what recent Texas laws mean to you

As I consult with couples and when I occasionally visit the various internet message boards for engaged couples, one of the topics that seems to generate a lot of chatter and a lot of confusion concerns your marriage license. Here is a summary of license requirements and some info about the latest changes in state law regard marriage preparation classes.

In order to marry in the state of Texas you must have a marriage certificate (license) issued in a Texas county. It doesn't make any difference what county, as a license issued in any Texas county is good in any of the 254 counties in the state. However, the license must be used within 30 days of issue and there is a 72 hour waiting period, meaning that a ceremony cannot take place until 72 hours after the certificate is issued. However, there are three exceptions to the waiting period: (1) Active military personnel are exempt; (2) A judge can waive the requirement; and (3) A certificate from an approved marriage preparation class (see details below) exempts you from the waiting period.

When you go to the country clerk office to get your license, both parties need to go and you should take two forms of government issued identification, such as drivers license, social security card, birth certificate, passport, etc. Also, take cash, as most counties do not accept checks, credit cards or debit cards for a marriage license. Check with your county clerk's office for any exceptions. There is no requirement for witnesses to sign, nor is there a physical exam, blood test, etc. required.

Okay, now what's all this we're hearing about marriage counseling?? In the spring of 2007 the Texas legislature passed a bill commonly known as the "Healthy Marriage Initiative". It became law on September 1, 2008. In summary, the bill says that the state will waive it's fee for a marriage license and waive the 72 hour waiting period, IF the couple presents a certificate showing that they have taken an eight hour curriculum from an approved provider. The state of Texas put all of this under the Health & Human Services Department, which then appointed a group of third party intermediaries in districts around the state. In north Texas, that third party is Anthem North Texas. They are charged with accepting applications from counselors, psychologists, churches, ministers, etc. who wish to provide the counseling. If you elect to attend counseling and you want it to count towards that state requirement, be sure you verify that the person or group you've chosen has a provider number.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the marriage preparation classes:
Am I required to take a class? Absolutely not. Even though the state is encouraging couples to be prepared to enter into marriage, they did not place a requirement for these classes. However, couples who elect not to take a class will have to pay the full fee of $60.00 for a license (plus whatever the county fee is)

Does it have to be counseling at a church?? No, the state says that the providers of the classes can be faith-based or secular, but either way, they must be approved by the intermediary, and they must use an 8 hour curriculum recognized by the intermediary.

What is covered in the classes?? The usual things you would expect such as interpersonal relations, conflict resolution, finances, household management, etc.

When do I have to take the class? Completion of the class must be in the 12 months prior to your wedding ceremony.

Do I have to pass a test?? No, but some curriculums may provide little quizzes for each segment.

How about our church pastor? We had some counseling at church. Does that count? Only if your pastor has applied for and been granted status as an approved provider and a recognized 8 hour curriculum was followed.

How do I know if my church or counselor is an approved provider? Ask for verification, such as a provider number.

How will the county clerk know that I took the class? Upon completion of the class, the approved provider will give you a certificate with proper identifying information, which you will then present to the county clerk?

So, if I take this class, my marriage license is free? No, only the state fee of $60.00 is waived. The county may still charge a fee, but it's small, ranging from $8.00 to $12.00 depending on county.

Where do I go for more information? How do I find a provider? On the panel at right is a link to North Texas Anthem. Their website has information about requirements and they also have a locator to help you find an approved provider close to you.

What does "Anthem" stand for?? Alliance for North Texas Healthy Effective Marriages.

Does LoveNotes provide these classes? Not at this time, although we may consider it. We will also be able to recommend approved providers.

If all of the above sounds very confusing, well you're right. The change that took effect last September 1 caught a lot of people unprepared. I have attended the orientation and preparation sessions offered by Anthem North Texas and even though I have not applied for provider status yet, their sessions gave me a lot of insight into the new requirements.

If you have a question that I didn't answer above, email me at If I don't have an answer, I can direct you to the right person or site to get that answer.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Thanks, North Texas

...for the wonderful honor

All of us at LoveNotes are pleased to announce that we were selected to the annual "Best Of" list for wedding vendors in Texas by OneWed, a respected website that serves as a resource for brides. We were just recently made aware of this honor that is based on comments and feedback not only from brides but from other wedding professionals as well.

If you'd like to see the news story and get access to the list, just click HERE. It's free.

This is a great honor, but we know we have to earn that trust and respect each time we walk into any venue or officiate any ceremony. It is gratifying to be recognized for doing something we love.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thanksgiving after your wedding

...pause to say thank you

A trend I've noticed that I hope will continue and expand is couples taking time to say "thank you" to the vendors who poured time, energy and heart into that ceremony and reception. I have to admit that it's gratifying when I receive a card or email (especially with a picture) from one of my couples. The wedding coordinators have their lists of the wedding party and how it's all organized. The DJ has met with the couple to nail down the "do play" and the "don't play" lists. The florist works behind the scenes to make the bouquets, boutonnières and table arrangements perfect. The photographer brings years of experience and thousands of dollars in equipment. The catering folks want every food station to be memorable for the guests. Get the picture?

Sure, the vendors are grateful to have the business, and it's what they do for a living, but everyone enjoys a little pat on the back sometimes. Most of us involved in the wedding industry truly care about what we do and go to whatever lengths are necessary to ensure that the bride and groom have a singular, wonderful day.

To my couples who send me notes and pictures, I truly enjoy and treasure each one of you and I hope I've made it clear how much I appreciate you. Each wedding ceremony is unique, but the one constant is the joy I get from saying "I now pronounce you husband and wife". I never tire of saying it and I never tire of hearing from my couples.