Minister filling out a marriage license, courtesy of Bill Selak

Have you been asked to perform a wedding ceremony for friends or family? This is a great honor, as the couple have not only selected you to be part of their love story, but they also trust you to perform an important legal duty: filling out their marriage license.

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 fill out and file such important paperwork, the process is actually incredibly straightforward and easy to complete. While the format of a marriage certificate may vary slightly between counties or states, most have the same basic fields. Let's take a look!

Add Your Title

Before officiating a wedding and filling out a marriage license, you'll first want to make sure you're ordained online via the Universal Life Church. Your ordination grants you the title of "Minister" with the Universal Life Church, so 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

 If there is a choice between 'Religious' or 'Civil', make sure to choose 'Religious'. Even if the wedding was nonreligious in nature and included no religious elements, your ULC ordination - the legal authority in which you're able to perform the ceremony - is religious. Since your online ordination certifies you to marry couples of any faith background, the religious denomination you'll want to list on the couple's marriage license is "Non-Denominational". In the rare instance that "Non-Denominational" is not accepted on the marriage license, feel free to add "Universal Life Church" as the religious 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 at some point after the ceremony. As the officiant, it is your duty to make sure all necessary parties sign the marriage license, so set aside a short amount of time after the ceremony for the newlyweds, the witnesses, and yourself to all sign the license together. As they are completing this section, make sure that they fully complete the required fields and 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, so make sure you know your timestable on when it needs to be returned. The license must be turned into the same office in which it was distributed either by email or in person, and if you're unsure when they'll need the marriage license returned, feel free to contact them directly. 

Once you have delivered the completed license to the recording office, the certificate is officially recorded and the marriage is considered legally binding. If you have any additional questions, please check this additional  marriage license training.

Congrats - You just officiated a legally binding wedding!

Category: Weddings Perform a Wedding

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