How to get Ordained in Louisiana to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the marriage laws guide for Louisiana. It's an incredible honor to officiate a wedding, but doing so also comes with plenty of responsibility. That's why we've created this page - to provide guidance to those unfamiliar with the process. We encourage couples and ministers alike to review this guide to help ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day. We will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in Louisiana. Scroll down for more info!
Here are the basic steps for officiating a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Louisiana
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is fast, straightforward, and completely free. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Louisiana each year. After receiving your minister license, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Follow the link below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Louisiana
First, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office of the parish in which the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see. They may request that you show several items to verify your ordination status. Be aware, however, that these requirements often vary from parish to parish. Any documents or materials you might require are available via the Minister Store here on our site.
Select a parish to see contact information for each office:
Louisiana Wedding Officiant Requirements
Once you've spoken with parish marriage officials, simply sign in to your account on our site and place an order for whatever materials you'll need. Based on feedback from our ministers in Louisiana, we recommend picking up the Ordination Set with an Official Letter of Good Standing.
In Louisiana, ministers are generally required to register. During this registration process, Parish clerks may ask for proof of your ordination - which is why we recommend having your documents on hand. Plus, it gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents, such as an ordination certificate. As requested by parish officials, please order your materials several weeks prior to the ceremony to avoid potential hiccups.
How to Get a Louisiana Marriage License
In Louisiana, marriage licenses are issued by the parish clerk's office. While it is the couple's job to pick up the license, the minister should have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Louisiana and its individual parishes. Let's say the couple is planning to get an East Baton Rouge Parish marriage license, for example. The minister is on the hook for checking whether East Baton Rouge Parish has any specific wedding rules that the couple might not know about.
In Louisiana, marriage licenses are valid for 30 days. Please note that there is a mandatory 24 hour waiting period, meaning that the couple must wait at least 24 hours after receiving the license before their wedding ceremony can be held. After the wedding, the signed marriage license must be returned before its expiration date.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once all the paperwork is in order, it's time to perform the wedding! If you need any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to browse the resources linked below. These carefully-tailored pages provide helpful information and advice on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan a memorable ceremony for happy couple.
Many ULC ministers have used these resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants themselves!
Signing the Marriage License in Louisiana
Almost there! Just one final step - but it's a crucial one. After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license (along with the couple, of course). Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational". For the address of ministry, list your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. Don't worry about listing a minister license number. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before it expires!
Louisiana Marriage Laws
Louisiana marriage laws are governed by Chapter 1 of Title 9 of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Louisiana. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church are among those with authorization. The relevant section is displayed below:
RS 221 - Authority to issue marriage license
A. A license authorizing an officiant to perform a marriage ceremony must be issued by:
(1) The state registrar of vital records, or a judge of the city court, in the Parish of Orleans;
(2) The clerk of court, in any other parish; or
(3) A district judge, if the clerk of court is a party to the marriage.
B. No marriage license for a minor under the age of sixteen shall be issued. No marriage license for a minor of the age of sixteen or seventeen shall be issued where there is an age difference of three years or greater between the persons seeking the marriage license.
View the Louisiana Statutes on the official government state website.