Minister filling out a marriage license, courtesy of Bill Selak

So you want to perform a wedding ceremony? As a minister, even a minister ordained online, it is your job as the wedding officiant to complete the couple's marriage certificate. While it may seem slightly intimidating to file such important paperwork, the process is actually incredibly straightforward and easy to complete. The format of a marriage certificate may vary between counties or states, but there are a few a basic tips on how to fill out a marriage license.

Add Your Title

Once you have earned your ordination online, you are officially considered a minister of that particular church. If a marriage license requests your Title, write "Minister" in the appropriate box.

Define Your Church

When you are performing a legal wedding ceremony, you are doing so as a Minister of the Universal Life Church. If this field is requested on a marriage certificate, fill in "Universal Life Church".

Claim Your Religious Domination

Since your online ordination certifies you to marry couples of "any faith, the most common answer is "Non-Denominational". If the wedding that was celebrated did take place under a particular denomination, such as "Presbyterian" or "Baptist", be sure to properly notate the couple's faith in the appropriate box. In some states, "Non-Denominational" is not an acceptable answer on a marriage license. If your county clerk lets you know that they cannot accept that answer, feel free to add "Universal Life Church" as the approved denomination.

Include a Witness

Most states require at least one to two witnesses to also sign the marriage license. The best man and/or maid of honor typically act as witnesses and fill out this field after the ceremony. As they are completing this section, make sure that they fully complete the required fields and also sign the certificate.

Turn It in on Time

Each individual state has its own mandated deadline as to when a marriage license needs to be filed. The license must be turned into the same office in which it was distributed either by email or in person.

Once you have delivered the completed license to the recording office, the certificate is officially recorded and the marriage is considered legally binding. Make sure to inquire about how to fill out a marriage license as per your specific local guidelines as some states may vary.

Category: Weddings Perform a Wedding

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