Louisiana Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the marriage laws guide for Louisiana. It's an incredible honor to officiate a wedding, but doing so also comes with plenty of responsibility. That's why we've created this page - to provide guidance to those unfamiliar with the process. We encourage couples and ministers alike to review this guide to help ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day. We will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in Louisiana. Scroll down for more info!
Here are the basic steps for officiating a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Louisiana
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is fast, straightforward, and completely free. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Louisiana each year. After receiving your minister license, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Follow the link below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Louisiana
First, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office of the parish in which the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see. They may request that you show several items to verify your ordination status. Be aware, however, that these requirements often vary from parish to parish. Any documents or materials you might require are available via the Minister Store here on our site.
Select a parish to see contact information for each office:
What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Louisiana
Once you've spoken with parish marriage officials, simply sign in to your account on our site and place an order for whatever materials you'll need. Based on feedback from our ministers in Louisiana, we recommend picking up the Ordination Set with an Official Letter of Good Standing.
In Louisiana, ministers are generally required to register. During this registration process, Parish clerks may ask for proof of your ordination - which is why we recommend having your documents on hand. Plus, it gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents, such as an ordination certificate. As requested by parish officials, please order your materials several weeks prior to the ceremony to avoid potential hiccups.
How to Get a Louisiana Marriage License
In Louisiana, marriage licenses are issued by the parish clerk's office. While 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 Louisiana and its individual parishes. Let's say the couple is planning to get an East Baton Rouge Parish marriage license, for example. The minister is on the hook for checking whether East Baton Rouge Parish has any specific wedding rules that the couple might not know about.
In Louisiana, marriage licenses are valid for 30 days. Please note that there is a mandatory 3-day waiting period, meaning that the couple must wait at least 3 days after receiving the license before their wedding ceremony can be held. After the wedding, the signed marriage license must be returned before its expiration date.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once all the paperwork is in order, it's time to perform the wedding! If you need any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to browse the resources linked below. These carefully-tailored pages provide helpful information and advice on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan a memorable ceremony for happy couple.
Many ULC ministers have used these resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants themselves!
Finalizing the Marriage
Almost there! Just one final step - but it's a crucial one. After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license (along with the couple, of course). Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational". For the address of ministry, list your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. Don't worry about listing a minister license number. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before it expires!
Louisiana Marriage Laws
Louisiana marriage laws are governed by Chapter 1 of Title 9 of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Louisiana. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church are among those with authorization. The relevant section is displayed below:
§202. Authority to perform marriage ceremony
A marriage ceremony may be performed by:
(1) A priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, or any clergyman of any religious sect, who has attained the age of majority and is authorized by the authorities of his religion to perform marriages, and who is registered to perform marriages;
(2) A state judge or justice of the peace.
Acts 1987, No. 886, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1997, No. 73, §1; Acts 2014, No. 651, §1.