How to get Ordained in Mississippi to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Mississippi marriage laws guide. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but presiding also comes with a lot of responsibility - which is why we've created this page to provide guidance for both couples and ministers. The guide below will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to perform a marriage, and how to make sure the ceremony is legally recognized in Mississippi.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Mississippi
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! In fact, legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Mississippi each year. Click the button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Mississippi
First, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office in the county where the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see from you. You may be asked to show a number of items to verify your ordination status. Be aware, however, that these requirements often vary from county to county (which is why it's best to contact officials beforehand). Any documents or materials you might need are available in the Minister Store here on our site.
Select a county to see contact information for each office:
Mississippi Wedding Officiant Requirements
Once you've spoken with county marriage officials, simply sign into your account on our website and order the necessary materials. Most of our ministers in Mississippi choose to order the ULC Ordination Set.
In general, ministers are not required to register in Mississippi at the state level. However, it's not uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination before granting approval to perform marriage ceremonies. It also gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the officials documents, such as the ordination certificate, on hand. As requested by county officials, please order your materials at least a few weeks before the ceremony.
How to Get a Mississippi Marriage License
In Mississippi, marriage licenses are issued by the Circuit Clerk's office. It is always the couple's responsibility to apply for and pick up the license. That being said, the minister should have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Mississippi and its individual counties. Let's say the couple is applying for an Attala County marriage license, for example. A thoughtful minister will take the time to double-check if there are any specific rules that apply to Attala County that the couple should know about.
Mississippi marriage licenses never expire. There is no mandatory waiting period - meaning the couple can hold the ceremony right away, if they so please. After the wedding is over, the signed marriage license must be returned as soon as possible.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once all this paperwork is taken care of, you'll be ready perform the wedding! If you need any guidance in this area, please utilize the tools below. These minister-focused resources provide information on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Honed with ULC wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan and officiant the perfect wedding ceremony.
Signing the Marriage License in Mississippi
The last step also happens to be among the most important. After officiating the wedding, your final duty will be signing the marriage license along with the couple and any required witnesses. Some basic information may also be asked of you on the marriage license. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, list "Non-Denominational". If asked for an address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. Don't forget: the signed license must be returned to the issuing office as soon as possible!
Mississippi Marriage Laws
Mississippi marriage laws are governed by Chapter 1 of Title 93 of the state code. The following section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Mississippi. Included are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church:
Universal Citation: MS Code § 93-1-15 (2019) (1) No marriage contracted after April 5, 1956 shall be valid unless the contracting parties shall have obtained a marriage license as otherwise required by law, and unless also the marriage, after such license shall have been duly issued therefor, shall have been performed by or before any person, religious society, institution, or organization authorized by Sections 93-1-17 and 93-1-19 to solemnize marriages. Failure in any case to comply with both prerequisites aforesaid, which shall also be construed as mandatory and not merely directory, shall render the purported marriage absolutely void and any children born as a result thereof illegitimate.
View the Mississippi Statutes on the official government state website.