County Clerk's Office provides wedding setting with services


By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

The Muskegon County Clerk, Nancy A. Waters, and her staff provide nearly full-service weddings ceremonies. A special room has been set up for those who wish to get married by the county clerk.

The room is equipped with a lighted arch for the couple and if desired a bouquet and/or boutonnières can be borrowed for the ceremony.

On Friday, August 21, I was invited to witness a marriage held in the Clerk’s office. Nancy A. Waters, County Clerk, explained, “This nice young couple came into the office to inquire about obtaining a marriage license and how to go about marriage in Muskegon County.  They were so surprised when I asked them if they wanted to get married today.  I waived the three-day waiting period and the wedding was scheduled for 9:30 a.m.”

The couple, Joel Kyle Wagenmaker (from Muskegon) and Evan Anton J. Schmidt (from Montreal Quebec Canada), were happy and smiling during the ceremony.  The couple met on-line.  Wagenmaker resides in Muskegon and Schmidt is a reserve member of the Canadian military, so they will live in Muskegon and Schmidt will return to active duty if called by his country.

The couple exchanged rings and decided that each will retain his name as stated on the License. After the ceremony, Waters escorted them into a records room where they signed the Certificate of Marriage and it was witnessed and certified all in one short time period.  Waters also signs and dates the printed marriage ceremony and gives it to the couple as a memento of their special day.

While this is the first same-sex marriage I have witnessed, Nancy Waters has been instrumental in providing services to same-sex partners since the time when, for one day, it was legal to issue the licenses in Michigan; she discontinued issuing them as a stay was entered pending the U.S. Supreme Court decision on their legality. From the day the highest court ruled it legal for same-sex couples to marry, Waters has issued the licenses and officiated.

Waters makes the experience easy and pleasant and puts all couples at ease.