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Rings symbolize enduring commitmentHere is the scene: Your two best friends, who never do anything like anyone else, have surprised everyone by deciding to get married. And why not, now that they can? Of course, it will be a wedding like no other, and the best part is, they have chosen you to officiate. It is spectacular news indeed, but where to begin? You don't know how to perform a wedding. You have very few models, and no religious affiliation (nor do they, or not very much). The whole project suddenly seems so vast and important it threatens to overwhelm you. Never fear. Take a breath. Then get to some device that supports Internet.

Step One: Visit Get Ordained

Yes, just as thousands of celebrities and others have done, you may become an ordained minister able to perform weddings virtually anywhere in mere moments. You are not required to be associated with any religious organization, or with religion at all for that matter. Plus, at, you can properly suit up with any accoutrement your role may require. Plenty of support material is available on the site, such as templates for different services and official documentation to assure others of your status. Some states require that you check in with the city or county clerk to show and record your credentials. Universal Life Church has the information and offers the support to help you dot the I's and cross the T's.

Step Two: Plan the Ceremony

Plan to get together at least once, maybe more, to discuss plans with the happy couple. Ask many questions, and take many notes. Be sure to inquire:

  • Are there any rituals they would like to include? Some people like to fold in cultural practices even if they are not religious.
  • Do they have poetry or a special reading they would like included?
  • Do they plan to write and read their own vows?

Be prepared to review and revise any plans made on this initial meeting, as desires and logistics may be subject to change.

Step Three: Get Organized

Read your notes with an eye toward picking out the personal anecdotes and details that may add warmth and meaning to the service. Although a respectful tone is always appropriate, assess how formal or informal the couple wishes the overall tone of the service to be. Draft a few examples of ceremonies and send them out to the couple for their opinion. Most weddings contain common elements:

  • An acknowledgement of what marriage means
  • Exchange of vows
  • Exchange of rings
  • Request for a vow of support from the guests
  • Introduction of the couple as married

It is important to remember that it is the rare ceremony that goes perfectly as planned. Accept change, and be prepared to go with the flow. The happiness of the occasion and your good spirits go a long way to ensuring that the service is perfect, even when it is not.

Keep It Legal

A major part of officiating at a wedding ceremony is to make it official. It is critical to not forget about the paperwork. The trail generally begins 24 hours or so before the big day:

  • Couple applies for license at least 24 hours ahead of time
  • Following the ceremony, the couple, the officiant, and the witnesses sign the license
  • The officiant mails or delivers it to the city or county clerk's office within 48 hours

Enjoy the Celebration

Once you have completed the paperwork, you may assume the role of friend and celebrant and enjoy the party knowing that you helped facilitate a deeply profound occasion. Regardless of what cultural or religious practices may or may not apply, being asked to perform this service honors both the couple and the officiant. Plus, now you may confidently perform weddings whenever and wherever you are asked to do so.

Category: Get Ordained Wedding Planning Perform a Wedding Become Ordained

perform a wedding minister

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