Montana Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Montana marriage laws guide. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but presiding also comes with a lot of responsibility. This is why we've created this page; to provide guidance to both 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 Montana.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Montana
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than one might think. Our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform numerous marriages each year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Click the button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Montana
First, you'll need to contact the marriage licensing office of the county in which the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and inquire about the documents the officials will require from you. You may be asked to show a number of items to verify your ordination status. Be aware that these requirements often vary from county to county, which is why it's best to contact officials prior. Any documents or materials you may 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 Montana
Once you've spoken with your local county marriage officials, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you need via our online catalog. One of our more popular items in Montana is our Classic Wedding Set.
In general, ministers are not required to register in Montana. However, with that being said, it's not uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination before giving you 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 your ordination certificate, on hand. Please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony as requested by county officials.
How to Get a Montana Marriage License
In Montana, marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. Although it is the couple's job to pick up the license, it helps if the minister has a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Montana and its individual counties. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Yellowstone County marriage license, for example. As the minister, it is wise to double-check if there are any specific rules for getting married in Yellowstone County which the couple might not be aware.
Montana marriage licenses are valid for 6 months. Please note that there is no waiting period between the time it is picked up and when the ceremony can be legally performed. Once the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned within 30 days.
Montana's Top Wedding Venue
Lazy B Farm
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once all the paperwork is in order, you're ready to begin performing weddings! If you need any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to utilize the resources found below. These carefully-tailored tools provide helpful tips and information on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed with our wedding officiants in mind, they contain everything you'll need to plan the perfect ceremony.
Many ULC ministers have used these same resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!
Finalizing the Marriage
Now there's just one last step - but it's an important one! After performing the wedding, you must sign the marriage license. The couple and their witnesses must also sign the marriage license. Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, put "Religious", and for denomination, write "Non-Denominational".
For the address of ministry, put your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of the Universal Life Church. You do not have a minister license number, nor will a minister license number be required of you. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be returned to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
Montana Marriage Laws
Montana marriage laws are governed by Chapter 1 of Title 40 of the code of Montana. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Montana. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
40-1-301. Solemnization and registration.
(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by a mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace, by a tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the clerk of the district court.
(2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, the party may authorize in writing a third person to act as proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, the person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.
(3) The solemnization of the marriage is not invalidated by the fact that the person solemnizing the marriage was not legally qualified to solemnize it if either party to the marriage believed that person to be qualified.
(4) One party to a proxy marriage must be a member of the armed forces of the United States on federal active duty or a resident of Montana at the time of application for a license and certificate pursuant to 40-1-202. One party or a legal representative shall appear before the clerk of court and pay the marriage license fee. For the purposes of this subsection, residency must be determined in accordance with 1-1-215.