How to get Ordained in Oregon to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Oregon marriage laws guide. If you are on this page, it is likely you have either been asked to officiate a wedding or you are getting married yourself; either way - congratulations! Performing a wedding is an incredible honor that comes with a certain level of responsibility - for this reason we've created this handy guide for couples and ministers alike. To certify that the wedding day goes well, we encourage you to read and adhere to the instructions below. We will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and what you need to do to ensure the ceremony is legal in Oregon.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Oregon
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is a simpler process than you might expect. Our online ordination process is simple and straightforward, and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform thousands of marriages each year. Once you've received 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 Oregon
Your first step is to contact the office that is issuing the marriage license, which is typically the county clerk. Once in contact with this office you need to ask what is required for a minister to legally perform a marriage in this jurisdiction. You may be asked to present several different items to confirm your are an ordained minister. Each county can have their own requirements, so it's always a good idea to contact the office before you perform any wedding, even when there are two within the same state. 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:
Oregon Wedding Officiant Requirements
Once you've spoken with the office issuing the license and determined what you need then you are ready to log in to your account and visit the store catalog to purchase the documents. Most ministers in Oregon choose to order the Classic Wedding Set.
Ministers are generally not required to register in Oregon. That being said, it's not uncommon for a county clerk to ask for you to prove your ordination in some fashion before giving you the go ahead to perform weddings. Having your credentials in hand also gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents if they are needed for some unforeseen reason. Make sure to place your order well in advance of the wedding so you are prepared for anything that might be required of you.
How to Get a Oregon Marriage License
The county clerk is the office that issues marriage licenses in the state of Oregon. Even though the couple will be picking up the marriage license you should still familiarize yourself with the laws governing marriage licenses in the state. Let's assume the couple will be getting their license from Washington County. As the minister, you should research if there are any specific laws governing marriages in Washington County that the couple might not have heard about.
In Oregon, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days. Note that there is a mandatory 3-day waiting period - this means that the couple must wait a minimum of 3 days after receiving the license before a wedding ceremony can legally be performed. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned within 10 days.
Oregon's Top Wedding Venue
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
After you've ordered your documents and presented them to the clerk (if necessary), then you are ready to perform the wedding! We have several online tools available for any guidance you might need to prepare for the ceremony. These carefully-tailored resources provide helpful pointers and info on all sides of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed 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!
Signing the Marriage License in Oregon
Now there's just one more step - but it's a very important one! After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license (along with the couple and their witnesses). Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational". No license number is required.
If prompted to provide an address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC headquarters. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline!
Oregon Marriage Laws
Oregon marriage laws are governed by Chapter 106 of Title 11 of the code of Oregon. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Oregon. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
OR Rev Stat § 106.041 (2019)
(1) All persons wishing to enter into a marriage contract shall obtain a marriage license from the county clerk upon application, directed to any person, religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, authorized by ORS 106.120 to solemnize marriages, and authorizing the person, religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, to join together as spouses in a marriage the persons named in the license.
View the Oregon Statutes on the official government state website.