Begin Free Online Ordination

Colorful Map of the United StatesBeing asked to officiate a wedding is a great honor. You are an integral part of the happy couple's big day. Whether you are an ordained minister in Missouri or ordained online in California, they will likely remember the wise words you share with them and their guests for the rest of their lives.

When you are the officiant, you want to make sure that you have all the documentation and are following all the rules of the state where the ceremony will take place. This is an important step in ensuring that the union will be legal. A common question potential officiants ask is "Can ordained ministers marry in any state?" While the specific rules for marriage licenses vary widely, ordination requirements generally fall within three categories.

Proof of Ordination

In many states, all you need to officiate is proof of ordination. A lot of states follow the same general rules for how to get ordained in California. For example, an online ordained minister in California can present the credentials found in the wedding kit to the County Clerk's office to verify that he or she is eligible to perform the ceremony. The rules are the same for getting ordained in Indiana, and the rules for how to get ordained in Oregon also require only proof, not prior registration. 

The state of Georgia marriage officiant requirements instruct ministers to check with the Office of the Probate in the county where the wedding will take place, but the state doesn't actually require officiants to register. If you're wondering, "How many times can you get married in Mississippi?", there's not a particular limit, and the state does accept online ordination. If you are unsure what the protocol is in the state where you are conducting the ceremony, start your research early so that you can be sure to submit all the necessary proof.

Registration of Officiant

Some states require not only ordination but registration with the county officials where the wedding is being held. An online ordained minister in Oklahoma must not only provide proof of ordination but also register with the county clerk. You can find the address and contact information for the specific county where the wedding will take place by selecting it from the dropdown options on our website. The staff in the office can give you more specific directions regarding the county's timeline for legal registration.

Many areas of New York don't require registration. If the wedding takes place in New York City, however, you must register, or the union will not be legal. Registration involves a few key steps:

  • Apply for registration online or mail application to city clerk's office
  • Deliver a letter verifying your good standing to the city clerk
  • Provide proof of ordination and identification
  • Pay registration fee

Applications processed by mail require a 30-day minimum time frame. Once you are a registered marriage officiant in NYC, you can use your Registration Identification Number the next time you perform a ceremony there. 

No Online Ordination

Most states recognize ordination through ULC. If the couple you're marrying lives in Nashville, you may ask, "Does Tennessee accept online ordination?" Unfortunately, the answer is probably no. While the Universal Life Church is fighting this recent legislation, until the law allows ministers with online ordinations to perform ceremonies throughout Tennessee, you may need to follow more traditional paths to ordination if you want to perform legal weddings there.

Even though online ordination is widely accepted, it's essential to know the specific marriage laws in your state when you officiate a wedding. This is an important part of the process of ensuring that the ceremony is legally binding.

Category: How Do I Get Ordained

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