Michigan Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Michigan marriage laws guide. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but one that also comes with a lot of responsibility - which is why we provide guidance on the topic to couples and ministers alike. To make sure everything goes according to plan on the big day, we encourage you to follow steps laid out below. You'll learn how to become a wedding minister, how to marry a couple in Michigan, and how to make sure the ceremony is legally binding.
Here are the basic steps for officiating a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Michigan
Becoming a Universal Life Church marriage officiant is simpler than you might think. Our online ordination process is quick, easy, and entirely free - what's not to like? With your official minister license on hand, officiating a wedding is just around the corner. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform thousands of marriages each year across the U.S. Click the button below to get started!
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Michigan
The next step after becoming ordained is to contact the county clerk's office in the county where the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and ask what documents you'll need to present in order to perform a wedding in their county. You could be asked to provide a number of items to verify your ordination status, but be aware that these requirements vary from county to county (which is why it's important to contact the right office). Any proof of ordination, 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 Michigan
After determining what materials you need, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and place your order. Most ministers in Michigan go with the Classic Wedding Set and an Official Letter of Good Standing.
Generally, ministers in Michigan are not required to register at the state level. However, it's not uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination prior to officiating a ceremony. Additionally, it often gives the couple peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all the official documents (like the ordination certificate), just in case. As requested by county officials, please try to order your materials at least a few weeks in advance.
How to Get a Michigan Marriage License
In Michigan, marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. Although it will be the couple's job to pick up the marriage license, the minister should understand all the rules governing marriage licenses in Michigan and its individual counties. If the couple is getting a Kent County marriage license, for example, the minister ought to check if there are any specific rules that apply only to Kent County.
In Michigan, marriage licenses are valid for 33 days. Note that the couple must wait a minimum of 3 days after receiving the license 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.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
With all that out of the way, you're now ready to perform the wedding! If you want any guidance in this area, please utilize the tools found below. These resources provide helpful information and tips on all the important aspects of performing a wedding. Created with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan a memorable wedding ceremony.
Many of our ULC ministers have used these resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!
Finalizing the Marriage
OK, almost there! Just one final step. After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license, along with the couple and two witnesses. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious"; for denomination, write "Non-Denominational". If prompted to list an address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. Remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
Michigan Marriage Laws
Michigan marriage laws are governed by Chapter 83 of the state code. This section explains in detail who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Michigan. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is shown below:
551.7 Persons authorized to solemnize marriage; records; return of licenses and certificates; disposition of fees charged by mayor or county clerk. Sec. 7.
(1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
(i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.
(j) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.
(2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and return licenses and certificates as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.