How to Become an Ordained Minister in Texas

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 Texas

Contact the office of the county clerk in the county where the wedding will take place. Introduce yourself as minister, and ask them what documents they will need from you. They may ask to see a number of things, and be aware that these requirements vary from county to county. Any materials or documents you might need are available in the Church Supplies section of our website. It is very important to place your order with plenty of time to receive it and present it to the clerk before the wedding.

Select your county to view contact information for each office:

The Texas state flower, the Bluebonnet

What Do You Need to Perform a Wedding in Texas

Once you've determined what you need to meet Texas wedding officiant requirements, simply log in to your account and order the materials from our online catalog. Many of our ministers in Texas choose to get the Classic Wedding Kit, especially if it's their first wedding. Although ministers are generally not required to register in the state of Texas, it's possible the county clerk will ask you to present proof of your ordination. It is also very common for the couple to ask to see your credentials. Please try to place your order well in advance of the wedding to avoid complications.

How to Get a Texas Marriage License

Licenses are issued by the County Clerk's office, and will be picked up by the couple. As a minister, it's your responsibility to understand how marriage licenses work in Texas and its individual counties. For example, if the couple plans to get a Dallas marriage license, you should double-check if there are any rules specific to Dallas County.

In the state of Texas, the license is valid for 90 days. There is a mandatory 3-day waiting period between the time it is picked up, and when the ceremony can be legally performed. Finally, the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office within 30 days of the ceremony.

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. 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, and witnesses are not required. 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!

Texas Marriage Laws

Marriage laws in Texas are primarily directed by Chapter 2 of Title 1 of the Family Code of Texas. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of Texas, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

Sec. 2.202. PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO CONDUCT CEREMONY. (a) The following persons are authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony:

(1) a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest;

(2) a Jewish rabbi;

(3) a person who is an officer of a religious organization and who is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony;

(4) a justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of criminal appeals, justice of the courts of appeals, judge of the district, county, and probate courts, judge of the county courts at law, judge of the courts of domestic relations, judge of the juvenile courts, retired justice or judge of those courts, justice of the peace, retired justice of the peace, judge of a municipal court, retired judge of a municipal court, or judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state; and

(5) a retired judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state.

(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(4), a retired judge or justice is a former judge or justice who is vested in the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan One or the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan Two or who has an aggregate of at least 12 years of service as judge or justice of any type listed in Subsection (a)(4).

(b-1) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(5), a retired judge or magistrate is a former judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state who is fully vested in the Federal Employees Retirement System under 28 U.S.C. Section 371 or 377.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony without authorization under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony of a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law or of a person who by marrying commits an offense under Section 25.01, Penal Code. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 7, Sec. 1, eff. April 17, 1997. Amended by: Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 4.10, eff. September 1, 2005. Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 134 (S.B. 935), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009. Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1350 (S.B. 1317), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.