This article has been crafted specifically for the bride and groom who have decided to have a family member, loved one, or friend perform their marriage ceremony.
Step One: Selecting Your Marriage Officiant
Your first step is to determine who you would like to perform your ceremony; no prior experience is necessary, but it is best to have someone you trust and can rely upon to perform this service. Once you have selected your officiant, that is, the person you want to marry the two of you, that person will have to be ordained in order to legally perform the wedding. At the Universal Life Church Ministries, we specifically ordain members of the general public to perform marriage ceremonies. We also have a directory of ministers. Find a Wedding Officiant.
Step Two: Filing the Marriage License
Your next step is to file your marriage license. Different states have differing laws regarding licensing and many have a waiting period before the license is issued; therefore, you need to research your state's laws and requirements, remembering to leave time for the waiting period to expire. Most often the marriage license application is filed with a local town, city, or county clerk's office.
Step Three: Ensure Your Minister's Certification
The third step to having a friend or family member perform your marriage ceremony is to ensure that your selected person is certified to perform the ceremony in your state. Your minister or officiating person will need to have their ordination credentials, wedding book, and marriage certificate. The ULC is pleased to offer a complete wedding package that contains all of the needed forms for your officiant. See our Wedding Laws.
Step Four: Have the Wedding
The fourth step in having a wedding performed by a friend of family member is to have the actual ceremony. There are no hard and fast rules to the marriage ceremony, but most involve the bride and groom making pledges or vows to each other and exchanging wedding rings as a symbol of their commitment, with the process being overseen and guided by the marriage official. Get marriage certificates here.
Step Five: Completing and Submitting the Marriage License
The final step in your wedding will be the completion of your marriage license. The required witnesses, officiating minister, bride, and groom will all need to fill in their information and sign their areas of the form. Once that has been completed, the marriage license needs to be returned to the issuing office (usually the clerk's office where you filed). Your marriage is not considered to be legally binding until the license has been recorded by the clerk. (See marriage laws)
The ULC Ministries proudly works with states across the U.S. to keep our ordained ministers apprised of the latest laws regarding legal marriage and wedding ceremony requirements. Our role is to provide support to the bride, the groom, and the wedding officiant, to ensure a smooth and legal marriage ceremony.
The personnel here are proud of the ordination and support services we offer. We know that every wedding is special and that having a friend, family member, or other loved one performing the ceremony makes the marriage even more so.