Helping two people start their life of wedded bliss together is a joy. A wedding minister gets to be the first person to announce the official union of the happy couple to the world. In fact, the officiant often sets the whole tone of the wedding. If you feel called to be a minister, there are several steps you should take to ensure that the weddings you oversee are legally binding and to help you do the job well. From getting the license to drafting the wedding minister speech, every stage of the process is necessary to make sure the couple's big day goes smoothly.
Obtain License and Credentials
No matter how good you are at choosing the right words to say, you first need to obtain a wedding minister license. Fortunately, becoming ordained online is a fast, simple process. As long as you are at least 18 years of age, you can qualify to oversee a wedding ceremony. The Universal Life Church does not require ministers to accept any particular tenets of faith. The church honors your self-assessment and helps you fulfill your desire to help others start their lives together.
If you feel called to be an officiant, all you need to do is fill out the request form on the ULC.org website. Within a short time, you will receive confirmation of your request. Once ordained, you can order a wedding set that includes all you will need to get started:
- Ordination certificate
- Wallet-sized ordination credentials
- Marriage certificates
- A guidebook for officiating weddings
- Clergy badge
Consult With the Couple
The best wedding ministers are those who blend the stories and wishes of the couple with their own unique flair. To do this, you must set up a consultation with the couple for whom you will be performing the ceremony. One purpose of this meeting is to go over the basic wedding minister script. Ask for the couple's input on the elements they want to include in the service and why these things are meaningful to them. This conversation also gives them a chance to talk about things they don't want in the ceremony so that they are comfortable with every aspect of your speech.
After you agree on the basic script, describe what the process of making their marriage legal will entail. You will need to know the specific requirements of the state and county where the wedding takes place so that you can give them accurate information. Clarify your responsibilities and let them know when they can expect to receive confirmation that their marriage license has been approved by the proper authorities.
Perform the Ceremony
On the day of the wedding, your job as the officiant is to welcome everyone and guide the ceremony. Most attendees will have heard the typical wedding minister speeches before, so what you have added to enhance the proceedings is likely what they will remember. The only required elements are the declaration of intent and the official pronouncement at the end. As long as you incorporate the information you gained in your consultation with the couple, you can take some poetic license to make it special. It's also a good idea to stick around after the service and socialize with guests.
File the Marriage License
The last step of your duties is to file the license. Most states set a certain amount of time in which you can file after the ceremony takes place. It's essential that you meet this deadline, or the marriage will not be legal.
Becoming a wedding minister can be very rewarding, and there are only a few requirements necessary to be good at it. As long as you take the responsibility seriously and turn paperwork in on time, you can turn your ordination into a long and fulfilling career.