How to get Ordained in Missouri to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Missouri 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 to couples and ministers alike. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day, we encourage you to follow 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 Missouri.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Missouri
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. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages each year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Click the button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Missouri
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 require are available in the Minister Store here on our site.
Select a county to see contact information for each office:
Missouri Wedding Officiant Requirements
Once you've spoken with county marriage officials, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you need via our online catalog. Based on feedback from our ministers in Missouri, we recommend picking up Classic Wedding Set and the Letter of Good Standing.
Ministers are sometimes required to register in Missouri. It is common for the county clerk to ask for proof of your good standing with a church established in the state before allowing you to perform a marriage ceremony. It will also no doubt give the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the required official credentials. As requested by county officials, please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony.
How to Get a Missouri Marriage License
In Missouri, marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. It is always the couple's job to pick up the marriage license from the clerk. It is the minister's responsibility to have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Missouri and specifically the county where the marriage will take place. For example, if a couple is planning to get a Clay County marriage license, the minister should find out if there are any specific rules for getting married in Clay County that the couple will need to be aware of.
Marriage license applications in Missouri are valid for 30 days, and there is no waiting period before a ceremony can legally be performed. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing authority within 15 days.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once you have filed any required paperwork with the clerk's office, you're ready to perform the wedding! Whether this is your first wedding or your fortieth, please make sure you are taking your duties seriously - this is one of the most significant days in the couple's life. Before you perform the wedding, you may need to provide the county clerk with your Official Letter of Good Standing in advance of the ceremony. If you find yourself needing additional guidance, we welcome you to utilize the tools found below.
Signing the Marriage License in Missouri
Now for the important final step! After officiating over the wedding, you must sign the marriage license along with the couple. Your title is "Minister"; for ceremony type, indicate "Religious", and for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".
For the address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of the ULC's central office. No license number is required. Remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
Missouri Marriage Laws
You can find detailed Missouri marriage laws under Chapter 451 of Section 100 of the code of Missouri. This section details who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Missouri, including ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is on displayed here:
451.040. Marriage license required, waiting period — presence not required, when — application, contents — license void when — common law of marriages void — lack of authority to perform marriage, effect. — 1. Previous to any marriage in this state, a license for that purpose shall be obtained from the officer authorized to issue the same, and no marriage contracted shall be recognized as valid unless the license has been previously obtained, and unless the marriage is solemnized by a person authorized by law to solemnize marriages.