How to Perform a Marriage in Your State

Have you been asked to officiate a wedding? Congratulations! We’ve assembled this guide to help you understand exactly what you need to do to perform weddings throughout the United States and beyond.

Before you step up to the officiant's microphone, use the map dropdown below to find a detailed walkthrough of exactly what you’ll need to do to legally officiate in your area. Click the state where the wedding is being held, and within you’ll find a thorough walkthrough for performing marriage ceremonies there. Keep in mind that even within a single state, what is required of wedding officiants can change county to county, so be sure to abide by those guidelines.

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While details can change from state to state, there are some universal rules no matter where you are. Here’s how the process generally works:

1. Get Ordained as a Minister

Every journey begins with a first step, and the first step towards officiating a wedding is to become a minister. We make it as quick and easy as possible for you! All you have to do is visit our online ordination page. It’s completely free to sign up, and it should only take you a moment or two to fill out the ordination form and submit it. Once you do so, your ordination will be processed instantly.

There are no specific requirements to ordination other than being at least 18 years old and following our tenets: do that which is right, and respecting all faith beliefs. That’s it! Anyone who meets those simple qualifications and who feels called to ordination may do so with the few clicks of a button.

2. Contact the Office Issuing the Marriage License

Depending on your location, it is possible that you may have to show your proof of ordination. Government officials often ask to see items such as your ordination certificate or a letter of good standing. Thankfully, we have any documentation you might need – and much more – in our ministry supplies store.

3. Officiate the Wedding

You’ve gotten ordained and acquired your proof of ordination, now all that’s left is officiating the wedding ceremony!

Every wedding is as unique as the couple tying the knot. And that means as an ordained minister, you’re able to officiate all sorts of weddings, from fancy and formal, to silly and fun. We encourage you to work with the couple to create the wedding of their dreams, whatever that may entail.

Realize that the couple may ask you to write a personalized script for the wedding. We understand that this can be a big task that might seem daunting. If you need a little help crafting the perfect script, we recommend you visit our Wedding Script Hub!

Please note that there are a couple of simple requirements that all wedding ceremonies are legally obligated to include: the Declaration of Intent and the Pronouncement. The Declaration of Intent is the “I do” exchange that you’re likely familiar with. And the Pronouncement is when you officially pronounce the couple as married.

4. Make It Legal

After finishing up the ceremony, there’s one final step: signing the marriage license. This document must be carefully filled out and returned office that issued it within the specified time window. If you’d like further information on how marriage licenses work (and more), please head over to our Marriage Laws Guide.

Once the marriage license has been submitted, that’s a wrap – the wedding is completed and the couple is married!

To dive deeper on officiating marriages, check out this longer introduction to performing a wedding .

Perform a Marriage in Your State

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