How to Officiate a Wedding in Your State
Performing a wedding is an incredible honor! But it’s also a great responsibility, and the process is slightly more complicated than walking up to the altar and pronouncing the couple married. If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding, it’s important to understand the full scope of your task – from getting ordained to getting the marriage license signed. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to performing weddings!
The steps for officiating a wedding can vary depending on where the ceremony will take place, as each state has its own way of doing things. Using the interactive map dropdown below, simply click on any state to read a detailed step-by-step guide to officiating wedding ceremonies there.
Or click another wedding location on the mapdropdown below!
No matter where the wedding will take place, here are the common steps that everyone must follow:
1. Become Ordained as a Minister
The very first step to take when officiating a wedding is to get ordained! Becoming a minister will grant you the authority to perform legal wedding ceremonies across the United States. Best of all? We make this process easy and quick to complete – the whole thing takes just a few minutes. To get started, visit our ordination page and input some basic details. Once you press submit, your ordination will be swiftly processed. For more detailed information about how to become ordained, and what that means, take a look at our ordination training page.
The ULC welcomes anyone to become ordained who feels so-called. The only requirements are that you must be over 18 years of age and promise to abide by the Church’s two tenets: do that which is right, and respect the freedom of others to worship however they choose.
2. Contact the Relevant Marriage Authority Office
Prior to officiating a wedding, you may need to show official credentials prove you are a minister. The office in charge of recording marriages – usually a county clerk – will sometimes ask to see documentation such as your ordination credential or a letter of good standing. To learn what specifically you’ll want to have on hand, contact that office directly. Any items you might need are available via our exclusive minister store.
3. Officiate the Wedding Ceremony
Time to plan for the big day! Keep in mind that it’s common for the couple to request that you write the ceremony script. Creating a full wedding ceremony script from scratch is a big task, so if you’re feeling in over your head, don’t hesitate to consult our Wedding Script Hub to get some help in writing a beautiful script for the occasion.
4. Make the Marriage Official
After you finish the wedding ceremony itself, the final (and arguably most important) step is to fill out and sign the marriage license with the couple, then make sure it gets returned to the office that issued it. To learn more about how a marriage license works and the other legal requirements to finalize a union, please check out our Wedding Laws Guide .
After the marriage license has been signed and submitted, the wedding will be officially in the books!