West Virginia Wedding Laws
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the West Virginia guide to marriage laws. While officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, presiding over the ceremony comes with plenty of responsibility. We've created this page in hopes of providing guidance to couples and ministers alike in order to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible 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 West Virginia.
Here are the basic steps one must follow to officiate a wedding:
How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in West Virginia
Becoming a marriage officiant with the Universal Life Church is easier than you might think. Our online ordination process is easy, fast, and entirely free. Legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform countless marriages each year. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is right around the bend! Click the button below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in West Virginia
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 what documents the officials will need to see from you. Officials may ask you to show a number of items to verify that your ordination status is valid. However, please be aware that these requirements often vary from county to county (which is why it's best to contact officials beforehand). Any documents or materials you might require are available for purchase 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 West Virginia
Once you've spoken with county marriage officials, simply sign in to your account on our website and order whatever materials you may need via our online catalog. One of our more popular items in West Virginia is an Ordination Set along with an Official Letter of Good Standing.
In West Virginia, ministers are generally not required to register. With that being said, it isn't uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination before giving the "go-ahead" to perform marriage ceremonies. Plus, it gives the couple to be wed peace of mind knowing that their wedding minister has all the official documents, like your ordination certificate, on hand. As requested by county officials, please order your materials well in advance of the ceremony.
How to Get a West Virginia Marriage License
In West Virginia, marriage licenses are issued by the county 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 West Virginia and its individual counties. For example, let's say the couple is planning to get a Kanawha County marriage license, for example. As the minister, we recommend you double-check if there are any specific rules for getting married in Kanawha County of which the couple might not be aware.
In West Virginia, marriage licenses are valid for 60 days. Please be aware that there is a mandatory 2-day waiting period, meaning that the couple must wait a minimum of 2 days after receiving the license before a ceremony can be performed legally. After the ceremony has been completed, the signed marriage license must be returned before the sixth day of the month after the month in which the marriage was celebrated.
West Virginia's Top Wedding Venue
The Confluence Resport
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Once all the paperwork is in order, you're ready to perform the wedding ceremony! If you need any guidance in this area, don't hesitate to utilize the tools found below. These carefully-curated resources provide helpful tips and information on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Constructed particularly 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 to take - 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. Last but not least, please remember that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline passes!
West Virginia Marriage Laws
West Virginia marriage laws are governed by Chapter 48 of Article 2 of the code of West Virginia. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of West Virginia. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church are among those with authorization. The relevant section is displayed below:
§48-2-401. Persons authorized to perform marriages. A religious representative who has complied with the provisions of section 2-402, a family court judge, a circuit judge or a justice of the supreme court of appeals, is authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in any county of this state. Celebration or solemnization of a marriage means the performance of the formal act or ceremony by which a man and woman contract marriage and assume the status of husband and wife. For purposes of this chapter, the term "religious representative" means a minister, priest or rabbi and includes, without being limited to, a leader or representative of a generally recognized spiritual assembly, church or religious organization which does not formally designate or recognize persons as ministers, priests or rabbis.