"That Strange and Sacred Ceremony, the Double-Proxy Wedding,"

in Montana — "the presence of neither the bride nor the groom is required." The New York Times reports. As one might gather, soldiers stationed overseas, often far from their wives-to-be, are especially likely to take advantage of this. In any case, an interesting story, for the little details as well as the big picture.

Thanks to Peter Wizenberg for the pointer.

Jim Rose (mail) (www):
New York does not recognize proxy marriages at all because the statute requires the person being married to confirm the vows personally to the person conducting the ceremony, but New York will recognize proxy marriages valid elsewhere (Ferraro v. Ferraro 192 Misc. 488, 275 App.Div. 777). This is similar to the Monroe County same sex marriage case that recognizes same sex marriages in New York if they are valid where they occur.
There is an old law review article in the subject "Marriage by Proxy," A. Bailey, 33 Cornell L. Q. 127 (1947).
3.10.2008 8:30pm
Did anybody read that article and think, "Weddings-by-proxy heck! I wish I could have someone show up in my place for the actual marriage..."?

I know I didn't.
3.10.2008 9:45pm
Interesting that Iowa doesn't recognize them at all.
3.10.2008 9:49pm
Jim Rose (mail) (www):
New York doesn't allow divorce by proxy either. Does Montana allow divorce by proxy or double proxy with a power of attorney?
3.10.2008 11:12pm
Tracy W (mail):
I can understand the marriage-by-proxy. But why the double-proxy? Both bride and groom can't make it to the wedding? Why not hold the wedding where at least one of them is?
3.11.2008 5:41am
Milhouse (www):

New York does not recognize proxy marriages at all because the statute requires the person being married to confirm the vows personally to the person conducting the ceremony

What vows? New York requires vows? Since when? At Jewish weddings the bride doesn't make any vows, and the groom's vows are contained in a contract prepared in private before the ceremony, and which he neither writes nor signs. He speaks a sum total of nine words in the course of the ceremony, and that's nine more than she speaks.

BTW, how about single-proxy weddings? How many states allow those?
3.11.2008 5:46am
Jim Rose (mail) (www):
The commentator,to the statute says:
"Given the statutory requirement that the parties to the marriage make a declaration in the presence of an officiating person and at least one witness, New York does not permit the solemnization in this state of proxy marriages. A proxy marriage is one in which at least one of the parties is not present at the ceremony, having appointed someone else as agent to represent him or her. Nonetheless, because proxy marriages are not explicitly proscribed and are not regarded as repugnant to public policy or natural law, New York will recognize as valid a proxy marriage which is valid in the jurisdiction where contracted. Ferraro v. Ferraro, 192 Misc. 484, 77 N.Y.S.2d 246 (N.Y. City Dom. Rel. Ct. 1948), affirmed sub nom. Fernandes v. Fernandes, 275 App.Div. 777, 87 N.Y.S.2d 707 (2nd Dept.1949); In re Valente's Will, 18 Misc.2d 701, 188 N.Y.S.2d 732 (Surr.Ct.Kings County 1959)."
3.11.2008 4:58pm
So if one of the proxies wasn't actually authorized, does that cause an annulment, or a retroactive "it never happened"? And could you claim any sort of damages from them?
3.11.2008 8:38pm
speedwell (mail):
I got divorced by publication in 1989 in Georgia. That doesn't sound to me as the official legal way to say it, necessarily, but it's what my lawyer called it. In any event, we didn't know exactly where the nogoodnik was at the time but he was almost certainly not residing with his mom, which was his last address of record. I guess it wasn't really proxy because he wasn't represented by a stand-in, but if he had sent a lawyer to represent him, or one had been appointed for him, would that have been proxy?
3.12.2008 10:40am