Universal Life Church

Vermont Wedding Laws

Welcome to the guide to marriage laws in Vermont. If you're at this page, it's likely that you have either been asked to perform a wedding or are planning to be wed yourself in the very near future - either way, congratulations! Being asked to officiate a wedding is a special honor, but it's also a big job - which is why we've created this page to provide guidance to couples and Universal Life Church ministers alike. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day, we recommend you read through the guide provided below. It will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in the state of Vermont.

Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:

  1. How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Vermont

    Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than one might think. Our online ordination process is simple, fast, and absolutely free. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages each year. As soon as you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the corner! Click the button below to get started.

  2. How Do You Perform a Wedding in Vermont

    To begin, you'll first need to contact the City/Town Clerk's office where the wedding will take place. Identify yourself as a minister and ask them what documents they will need you to provide. You may be asked to show a number of items to verify your ordination status and receive the "go ahead" to officiate ceremonies. Be aware that these requirements often vary from place to place, 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:

  3. What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Vermont

    Once you've spoken with local marriage officials, simply visit our website, sign in to your account, and order whatever materials you may need via our online catalog. Most ministers in Vermont choose to order our Classic Wedding Set. Additionally, it can give the couple some peace of mind to know that their wedding minister has all of his or her official documents, like their ordination certificate, on hand. Please remember to order any ministerial materials you may need well in advance of the ceremony.

    Also note: while ministers residing in Vermont are usually not required to register, any clergy person from another state needs permission from Vermont probate judge in order to solemnize marriages. To ask permission, contact the probate court of the district where the marriage will take place. Regardless of your residency, the local official in your area may ask you to display your paperwork.

  4. How to Get a Vermont Marriage License

    In Vermont, marriage licenses are issued by the City/Town Clerk's office. Although it is the couple's job to pick up the license itself, the minister should have a solid understanding of the rules governing marriage licenses in Vermont and the individual counties therein. For example, let's say the couple is planning to get a Chittenden County marriage license, for example. As the minister, you might want to double-check if there are any specific rules for getting married in Chittenden County that the couple might not be aware of.

    In Vermont, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days and 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 10 days.

    Vermont's Top Wedding Venue
    The Old Lantern Inn Barn

  5. How Do You Officiate a Wedding?

    Once you've taken care of all the administrative work, it's time to perform the wedding! If you require any assistance in this area, please don't hesitate to utilize the tools found below. These carefully-tailored resources 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 wedding ceremony.

    Many ULC ministers have used these same resources for guidance when becoming professional officiants!

  6. 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 personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. No license number is required. Lastly, remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!

Vermont Marriage Laws

Vermont marriage laws are governed by Chapter 105 of Title 18 of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Vermont. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:

18 V.S.A. § 5144 (2014)

§ 5144. Persons authorized to solemnize marriage

(a) Marriages may be solemnized by a Supreme Court Justice, a Superior judge, a judge of Probate, an assistant judge, a justice of the peace, a magistrate, a Judicial Bureau hearing officer, an individual who has registered as an officiant with the Vermont Secretary of State pursuant to section 5144a of this title, a member of the clergy residing in this State and ordained or licensed, or otherwise regularly authorized thereto by the published laws or discipline of the general conference, convention, or other authority of his or her faith or denomination, or by such a clergy person residing in an adjoining state or country, whose parish, church, temple, mosque, or other religious organization lies wholly or in part in this State, or by a member of the clergy residing in some other state of the United States or in the Dominion of Canada, provided he or she has first secured from the Probate Division of the Superior Court in the unit within which the marriage is to be solemnized a special authorization, authorizing him or her to certify the marriage if the Probate judge determines that the circumstances make the special authorization desirable. Marriage among the Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia, and the Baha'i Faith may be solemnized in the manner heretofore used in such societies.

(b) This section does not require a member of the clergy authorized to solemnize a marriage as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, nor societies of Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia, or the Baha'i Faith to solemnize any marriage, and any refusal to do so shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.

HISTORY: Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, eff. Feb. 1, 1967; 1971, No. 22, eff. March 23, 1971; 1975, No. 1; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 1981, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.); 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; 2007, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 3, § 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2009; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 147; 2013, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 28, 2014.