How to get Ordained in South Dakota to Officiate

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

You've arrived at the South Dakota marriage laws guide, which would lead one to believe you are either planning to get married or are planning to officiate a wedding. Either way, congratulations! Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor and it 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 South Dakota.

Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:

  1. Getting Ordained in South Dakota

    Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is actually a very simple process. Our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and completely 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 start the ordination process.

  2. How Do You Perform a Wedding in South Dakota

    For starters, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office in the county where the wedding will take place. 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). Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see from you. 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:

  3. South Dakota 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. One of our more popular items in South Dakota is our Ordination Set and also the Official Letter of Good Standing.

    In general, ministers are not required to register in South Dakota. That being said, it's not uncommon for the to ask for proof of your ordination before giving the "go-ahead" to perform marriage ceremonies. Please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony so that you don't end up in a time crunch at the last minute. Above and beyond legal requirements, it gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents, like your ordination certificate and letter of good standing, on hand.

  4. How to Get a South Dakota Marriage License

    In South Dakota, marriage licenses are issued by the Register of Deeds office. Although it is the couple's job to pick up the license, the minister should have a good understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in South Dakota and its individual counties. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Minnehaha County marriage license, for example. As the minister, you ought to ensure that you fully comprehend all of the guidelines surrounding marriage in Minnehaha County that the couple might not be aware of.

    In South Dakota, marriage licenses are valid for 20 days. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned by the end of the 20 days.

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    Black Hills Receptions

  5. How Do You Officiate a Wedding?

    Once all the paperwork is in order, you're ready to perform the wedding! If you need any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to utilize the resources found below. These carefully-tailored resources provide helpful tips and information on all aspects of 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 South Dakota

    Now there's just one last step - but it's a vital one! After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license (along with the couple). Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious", and for denomination, write "Non-Denominational". For the address of ministry, put your personal ministry of home address. Do not put the address of ULC. No license number is required. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!

South Dakota Marriage Laws

State Flag Of South Dakota

Marriage laws in South Dakota are primarily organized by Chapter 1 of Title 25 of the state code. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of South Dakota, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

SD Codified L § 25-1-10 (2019) 25-1-10. License required for marriage--Fee--Disposition of fees--Form--Certified copies--Fee. Previous to any marriage within this state, a license shall be obtained from the county register of deeds of any county, the fee for which is forty dollars. Ten dollars of the marriage license fee shall be retained by the county in which the fee is collected and placed in the county general fund. Thirty dollars of the marriage license fee shall be deposited in the county domestic abuse program fund. The license and record of marriage form shall be prescribed and furnished by the Department of Health. Certified copies of the marriage record shall be furnished by the county register of deeds for a fee established pursuant to § 34-25-52 and such fee shall be retained by the county in which the fee is collected and placed in the county general fund.

View the South Dakota Statutes on the official government state website.

Is it Legal For You to Perform a South Dakota Wedding?

Review the Marriage Law

Want to Learn More about Ministry in South Dakota?

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