Arkansas Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Arkansas marriage laws guide. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but presiding 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 Arkansas.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Arkansas
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might expect. Our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. Did you know that legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Arkansas each year? Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Just click the button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Arkansas
First, you'll need to contact the county clerk's office in the county where the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see from you. 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). 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:
What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Arkansas
Once you've spoken with county marriage officials, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you need. Based on feedback from our ministers in Arkansas, we recommend the Classic Wedding Set.
In general, ministers are required to register in Arkansas. That being said, it's not uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination before giving the "go-ahead" to perform marriage ceremonies. Plus, it gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents, like an ordination certificate, on hand. As requested by county officials, please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony.
How to Get a Arkansas Marriage License
In Arkansas, marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. Although it is the couple's job to pick up the license, the minister should have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Arkansas and its individual counties. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Pulaski County marriage license, for example. As the minister, you ought to double-check if there are any specific rules for getting married in Pulaski County that the couple might not be aware of.
In Arkansas, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days. Note that there is no mandatory waiting period - this means that the couple does not need to wait before a ceremony can legally be performed. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned prior to the expiration date.
Arkansas's Top Wedding Venue
Pratt Place Inn
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
With all the paperwork in order, you're ready to perform the wedding! If you need any assistance in this area, don't hesitate to browse the tools linked below. These carefully-tailored resources provide helpful tips and guidance on all aspects of officiating a wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they should prove valuable even to experienced ministers.
Finalizing the Marriage
The final step will be to sign the marriage license along with the couple. A few pointers for filling out the officiant portion of the license: Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".
If asked to provide an address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC headquarters. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
Arkansas Marriage Laws
Arkansas marriage laws are governed by Section 9-11 of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Arkansas. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
9-11-213. Persons who may solemnize marriages.
(a) For the purpose of being registered and perpetuating the evidence thereof, marriage shall be solemnized only by the following persons:
(1) The Governor;
(2) Any former justice of the Supreme Court;
(3) Any judges of the courts of record within this state, including any former judge of a court of record who served at least four (4) years or more;
(4) Any justice of the peace, including any former justice of the peace who served at least two (2) terms since the passage of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 55;
(5) Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination;
(6) The mayor of any city or town;
(7) Any official appointed for that purpose by the quorum court of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized; or
(8) Any elected district court judge and any former municipal or district court judge who served at least four (4) years.
(b) (1) Marriages solemnized through the traditional rite of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, are recognized as valid to all intents and purposes the same as marriages otherwise contracted and solemnized in accordance with law.
(2) The functions, duties, and liabilities of a party solemnizing marriage, as set forth in the marriage laws of this state, in the case of marriages solemnized through the traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends shall be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation or, in his or her absence, his or her duly designated alternate.