How to get Ordained in Illinois to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the guide to marriage laws in the state of Illinois. Officiating a wedding ceremony is a tremendous honor, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility - which is why we've created this page. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day, we encourage ministers (and couples, too!) to read through the guide below. It will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in Illinois.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Illinois
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than most people think. The process of online ordination only takes a few minutes. Even better, it's completely free! Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Illinois every year. Follow the link below to get started!
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Illinois
Prior to the ceremony, you'll need to contact the county clerk's office in the county where the wedding will occur. Introduce yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents you'll need to submit to verify your ordination. You may be asked to provide a number of things, but such requirements often vary from county to county. Any documents or materials you might require are available in the Minister Store here on our site.
Select a county to see contact information for each office:
Illinois Wedding Officiant Requirements
Once you've checked in with the county clerk's office, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you need for the wedding. Based on feedback from our ministers in Illinois, we recommend picking up the Classic Wedding Set.
In general, ministers are not required to register in Illinois. That being said, some county clerks prefer to see proof of your ordination before giving the "go-ahead" to perform marriage ceremonies. Plus, most couples like to know that their wedding minister has official documentation (such as an ordination certificate) on hand. As requested by county officials, please order your materials at least several weeks ahead of the wedding.
How to Get a Illinois Marriage License
In Illinois, marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. Although the couple will pick up the license itself, ministers ought to have an understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Illinois and its individual counties. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Cook County marriage license, for example. As the minister, you should see if there are any specific rules for Cook County that the couple might not know about.
In Illinois, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days. Note that there is a mandatory 1-day waiting period - this means that the couple must wait at least 24 hours after receiving the license before a ceremony can legally be performed. Once the ceremony is over, the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office within 10 days.
Illinois's Top Wedding Venue
The Pavilion At Orchard Ridge Farms
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
With all the paperwork in order, all that's left is performing the wedding! If you want any guidance in this area, we encourage our ministers to utilize the tools below. These helpful resources provide tips and advice for all aspects of a marriage ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, these pages can be instrumental in helping you plan for the big day!
Signing the Marriage License in Illinois
There's just one last step - but it can't be overlooked! After performing the wedding, you'll need to fill out the remainder of the marriage license. The couple will sign it, as will you. If asked to provide the following, your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".
Under the address of ministry, put your address. Do not put the address of ULC's headquarters. No license number or witnesses are required. Finally, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
Illinois Marriage Laws
Illinois marriage laws are governed by Chapter 750 of the state's Compiled Statutes. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Illinois. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
Sec. 202. Marriage License and Marriage Certificate.) (a) The Director of Public Health shall prescribe the form for an application for a marriage license, which shall include the following information: (1) name, sex, occupation, address, social security
number, date and place of birth of each party to the proposed marriage;
(2) if either party was previously married, his name,
and the date, place and court in which the marriage was dissolved or declared invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse;
(3) name and address of the parents or guardian of
each party; and
(4) whether the parties are related to each other
and, if so, their relationship.
(b) The Director of Public Health shall prescribe the forms for the marriage license, the marriage certificate and, when necessary, the consent to marriage. (Source: P.A. 80-923.)
View the Illinois Statutes on the official government state website.