What many Americans don't understand, however, is the different way things work in Europe: some couples may wish to marry in religious ceremonies abroad -- only to realize that their unions are not legal under US law, unless they undergo civil ceremonies. For while an American priest, minister, or rabbi is authorized by the state to perform marriages, a European cleric is not. So the couple has to undergo a civil wedding -- either at home (in which case the religious wedding in Europe is presumably a part of the honeymoon) or at a US embassy there.
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