How to Become an Ordained Minister in Virginia

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 Virginia

Contact the local County Clerk's office. Introduce yourself as a ULC 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. Rest assured that any materials or documents you might need are available in the Church Supplies section of our website.

Please note: Virginia is the only state in the U.S. that consistently refuses to recognize ULC ordinations. We suggest you check with the clerk in your county for more information.

Select your county to view contact information for each office:

The Virginia state flower, the American Dogwood

What Do You Need to Perform a Wedding in Virginia

If you have been lucky enough to get the go ahead from the county clerk to perform the marriage, simply log in to your account and order the materials from our online catalog. We usually advise our ministers in Virginia to get a Classic Wedding Kit and a Letter of Good Standing. This will give you best chance at having your ordination recognized. Please let us know if you make any progress in that regard. Know that we are actively working to clarify the validity of Universal Life Church ordinations in Virginia.

How to Get a Virginia 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 Virginia and its individual counties. For example, if the couple plans to get a Virginia Beach marriage license, you should double-check if there are any rules specific to Princess Anne County.

In the state of Virginia, the license is valid for 60 days. There is no waiting period between the time it is picked up, and when the ceremony can be legally performed. Lastly, the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office within 5 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!

Virginia Marriage Laws

Marriage laws in Virginia are primarily directed by Section 20-23 in Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the state code. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of Virginia, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

§ 20-23. Order authorizing ministers to perform ceremony.

When a minister of any religious denomination shall produce before the circuit court of any county or city in this Commonwealth, or before the judge of such court or before the clerk of such court at any time, proof of his ordination and of his being in regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member, or proof that he is commissioned to pastoral ministry or holds a local minister's license and is serving as a regularly appointed pastor in his denomination, such court, or the judge thereof, or the clerk of such court at any time, may make an order authorizing such minister to celebrate the rites of matrimony in this Commonwealth. Any order made under this section may be rescinded at any time by the court or by the judge thereof.