Ohio Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Ohio marriage laws guide! Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but it comes with considerable responsibility, too. That's 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 detailed guide outlined below. Among other things, it will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to ensure the ceremony is legal in the great state of Ohio.
Here are the basic steps required to officiate a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Ohio
Becoming an ordained marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think; our online ordination process is straightforward, fast, and entirely free. The ULC believes all who feel so-called have the right to captain their own spiritual ship. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages in Ohio every year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! If you've yet to become ordained, just click the big button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Ohio
In Ohio, ministers must register at the state level as opposed to the county level. Therefore, one of your first steps will be to contact the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Identify yourself as a minister, explain that you'll be officiating a wedding in Ohio, and ask them how to proceed with the registration process. Note: you may be asked to show a number of documents to verify your ordination status. After registering, ministers are qualified to travel anywhere in the state and perform ceremonies. For example, if there is a minister in Hamilton County that wants to perform weddings in Wood County, they need only register at the state level.
Here is the contact information for the Ohio Secretary of State's office:
What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Ohio
Once you've spoken with the Secretary of State's office and determined what you'll need in order to register, simply visit our Minister Store and place an order for the required materials.
Based on feedback from our ministers in Ohio, we recommend picking up a Classic Wedding Set and adding an Official Letter of Good Standing. Together, this package includes everything you'll need to properly register and perform the ceremony. Moreover, the couple will have peace of mind knowing that their wedding minister has all the official documents on hand. As requested by state officials, please do not wait until the last minute to order your materials to avoid any sticky situations.
How to Get a Ohio Marriage License
Ohio marriage licenses are issued by county probate courts, and will be picked up by the couple. However, it is your duty as minister to understand the entire process. Let's say the couple is planning to get a Wood County marriage license, for example. As the wedding officiant, you ought to fully understand all of the specific rules surrounding marriage in Wood County that the couple might not know about.
You should also be aware of the following rules regarding Ohio marriage licenses. First, the marriage license is valid for a total of 60 days. Once the license is issued, it is valid immediately; there is no mandatory waiting period before the ceremony can be legally performed. Lastly, the signed marriage license must be returned within 30 days of the ceremony.
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How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
With all the paperwork in order, you're ready to perform the wedding! If you need some guidance in this area, we encourage you to make use of the tools found below. These carefully-tailored resources offer helpful insight and tips for performing a wedding ceremony. Created 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 final step - but it's an important one! After performing the wedding, you must 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 own address or that of your personal ministry. Do not put the address of ULC. Lastly, remember that the signed marriage license must be turned in to the issuing office before the deadline passes!
Ohio Marriage Laws
Ohio marriage laws are governed in part by Title 31 of the state code, which clarifies who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Ohio. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
3101.08 Who may solemnize marriages. An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.