How to Become an Ordained Minister in West 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 West Virginia

Contact the County Clerk's office in the county where the ceremony will take place. Introduce yourself as a minister officiating a wedding, 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.

Select your county to view contact information for each office:

The West Virginia state flower, the Rhododendron

What Do You Need to Perform a Wedding in West Virginia

Once you've determined what you need, simply log in to your account and order the materials from our online catalog. Ministerial registration is required in West Virginia, and the County Clerk will ask you to present proof of your ordination. To allow for a smooth registration process, ministers in West Virginia should order an Ordination Kit along with a Letter of Good Standing. Please try to place your order well in advance of the wedding to avoid complications.

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

In the state of West Virginia, the license is valid for 60 days. There is a mandatory 2-day waiting period between the time the license application is submitted, and when the ceremony can be legally performed. Lastly, please note that the signed marriage license must be returned to the issuing office before the sixth day of the month after the month in which the marriage was celebrated.

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!

West Virginia Marriage Laws

Marriage laws in West Virginia are primarily directed by Chapter 48 of Article 2 of the state code. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of West Virginia, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

§48-2-401. Persons authorized to perform marriages. A religious representative who has complied with the provisions of section 2-402, a family court judge, a circuit judge or a justice of the supreme court of appeals, is authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in any county of this state. Celebration or solemnization of a marriage means the performance of the formal act or ceremony by which a man and woman contract marriage and assume the status of husband and wife. For purposes of this chapter, the term "religious representative" means a minister, priest or rabbi and includes, without being limited to, a leader or representative of a generally recognized spiritual assembly, church or religious organization which does not formally designate or recognize persons as ministers, priests or rabbis.