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How to Become an Ordained Minister in New York

If you haven't yet become ordained with the Universal Life Church, that is the first step. Anyone willing can become a legal minister of the ULC, one of the world's largest religious organizations. Online ordination is fast, easy, and completely free. Once you have your minister license, you'll be eligible to officiate a wedding. To become a minister, start by clicking the button below!

Become Ordained!

How to Officiate a Wedding in New York

Contact your local City/Town Clerk's office. Introduce yourself as a minister officiating a wedding, and ask them what documents they will need from you. Please note: in order to perform a wedding in New York City, ministers are required to complete a registration process. If the marriage will take place in New York City, you must purchase a New York City Wedding Package , containing all necessary documentation. Be advised that authorities in New York require a minimum of 30 days to process registration by mail. For our ministers elsewhere in the state, registration is generally not required. However, since officials may still ask to see a copy of your credentials, we recommend ordering a Classic Wedding Kit.

Select your county to view contact information for each office:

The New York state flower, the Rose

The New York state flower, the Rose

What Do You Need to Perform a Wedding in New York

Once you've determined what you need, simply log in to your account and order your materials from the Church Supplies section of our website. Any other items you might want to purchase for the ceremony can be found there as well. As requested by the county clerks, please try to place your order well in advance of the wedding to avoid complications. Keep in mind that the couple may also like to see a copy of your credentials!

How to Get a New York Marriage License

As a minister, you should be aware of the existing marriage laws in New York. For example, if the couple plans to get a New York City marriage license, you should double-check that they understand how marriage licenses work in this state. In New York state, the license is valid for 60 days. There is a mandatory 1-day waiting period between the time it is picked up, and when the ceremony can be legally performed. Finally, make sure they're aware that the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office by the date of expiration.

How to Perform a Wedding

Congratulations, you're ready to officiate the wedding! If you need any assistance in this important task, we encourage you to utilize the tools below. Together these exclusive resources include everything you'll need to craft the perfect wedding ceremony for any couple. Created with our ministers in mind, they offer tips and helpful information for all aspects of performing a ceremony. Fun fact: many ULC ministers have become professional officiants using these tools as a guide!

Finalizing the Marriage

After you perform the ceremony, you will sign the marriage license along with the couple and their two witnesses. Your title is 'minister', the ceremony type is 'religious', and the denomination is 'non-denominational'. You will not be required to provide a license number. You may also wish to give the couple a commemorative gift, like a marriage certificate to mark their special day. Last thing: make sure the signed license gets resubmitted to the marriage office before the deadline!

New York Marriage Laws

Marriage laws in New York are primarily directed by Article 3, Section 11 of the state code. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of New York, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

A clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader, or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture in the city of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhattan, or by the leader of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, having its principal office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society, having its principal office in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of the Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx county, or by the leader of any other Ethical Culture Society affiliated with the American Ethical Union. The term "clergyman" or "minister" when used in this article, shall include those defined in section two of the religious corporations law. The word "magistrate," when so used, includes any person referred to in the second or third subdivision.

To view the in-depth wedding laws for New York state:

New York Marriage Laws