How to get Ordained in Ohio to Officiate

Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.

Welcome to the Ohio marriage laws guide! Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but it comes with considerable responsibility, too. That's 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 detailed guide outlined below. Among other things, it will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to ensure the ceremony is legal in the great state of Ohio.

Here are the basic steps required to officiate a wedding:

  1. Getting Ordained in Ohio

    Becoming an ordained marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think; our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. The ULC believes all who feel so-called have the right to captain their own spiritual ship. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Ohio every year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! If you've yet to become ordained, just click the big button below to get started.

  2. How Do You Perform a Wedding in Ohio

    In Ohio, ministers must register at the state level as opposed to the county level. Therefore, one of your first steps will be to contact the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Identify yourself as a minister, explain that you'll be officiating a wedding in Ohio, and ask them how to proceed with the registration process. You can also take one of the first steps of that process HERE. Note: you may be asked to show a number of documents to verify your ordination status. After registering, ministers are qualified to travel anywhere in the state and perform ceremonies. For example, if there is a minister in Hamilton County that wants to perform weddings in Wood County, they need only register at the state level.

    Here is the contact information for the Ohio Secretary of State's office:

    Minister Licensing
    Ohio Secretary of State
    22 North Fourth Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43215

    and the phone number to reach the office is 614-466-8770.

  3. Ohio Wedding Officiant Requirements

    Once you've spoken with the Secretary of State's office and determined what you'll need in order to register, simply visit our Minister Store and place an order for the required materials.

    Based on feedback from our ministers in Ohio, we recommend picking up a Classic Wedding Set and adding an Official Letter of Good Standing. Together, this package includes everything you'll need to properly register and perform the ceremony. Moreover, the couple will have peace of mind knowing that their wedding minister has all the official documents on hand. As requested by state officials, please do not wait until the last minute to order your materials to avoid any sticky situations.

  4. How to Get a Ohio Marriage License

    Ohio marriage licenses are issued by county probate courts, and will be picked up by the couple. However, it is your duty as minister to understand the entire process. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Wood County marriage license, for example. As the wedding officiant, you ought to fully understand all of the specific rules surrounding marriage in Wood County that the couple might not know about.

    You should also be aware of the following rules regarding Ohio marriage licenses. First, the marriage license is valid for a total of 60 days. Once the license is issued, it is valid immediately; there is no mandatory waiting period before the ceremony can be legally performed. Lastly, the signed marriage license must be returned within 30 days of the ceremony.

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  5. How Do You Officiate a Wedding?

    With all the paperwork in order, you're ready to perform the wedding! If you need some guidance in this area, we encourage you to make use of the tools found below. These carefully-tailored resources offer helpful insight and tips for performing a wedding ceremony. Created with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan the perfect ceremony.

    Many ULC ministers have used these same resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!

  6. Signing the Marriage License in Ohio

    Now there's just one final step - but it's an important one! After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious", and for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".

    For the address of ministry, put your own address or that of your personal ministry. Do not put the address of ULC. Lastly, remember that the signed marriage license must be turned in to the issuing office before the deadline passes!

Ohio Marriage Laws

State Flag Of Ohio

Ohio marriage laws are governed in part by Title 31 of the state code, which clarifies who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Ohio. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:

Ohio Rev Code § 3101.05 (2019) (A) The parties to a marriage shall make an application for a marriage license. Each of the persons seeking a marriage license shall personally appear in the probate court within the county where either resides, or, if neither is a resident of this state, where the marriage is expected to be solemnized.

View the Ohio Statutes on the official government state website.

Is it Legal For You to Perform a Ohio Wedding?

Review the Marriage Law

Want to Learn More about Ministry in Ohio?

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