How to Become an Ordained Minister in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin state flower, the Wood Violet

What Do You Need to Perform a Wedding in Wisconsin

Once you've determined what you need, simply log in to your account and order the materials from our online catalog. The most popular item among our ministers in Wisconsin is the Classic Wedding Kit. Although ministers are generally not required to register in the state of Wisconsin, it's not uncommon for the county clerk to ask for proof of your ordination. Thus, it's always a good idea to have a hard copy of your credentials on hand. Keep in mind that the couple may like to see them as well. Please place your order well in advance of the wedding to avoid complications.

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

In the state of Wisconsin, the license is valid for 30 days. There is a mandatory 6-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 3 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 and their 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!

Wisconsin Marriage Laws

Marriage laws in Wisconsin are primarily directed by Chapter 765.16 of the state code. This section defines persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of Wisconsin, which includes ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church, among other individuals. We've reproduced the relevant portion below:

765.16" Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.

(1m)",Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The following are authorized to be officiating persons:

(a) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.

(b) Any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of the church or denomination.

(c) The 2 parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.

(d) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.

(e) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).

(f) Any municipal judge.

(2m)",An officiating person under sub. (1m) (a), (b), (d), (e), or (f) must be at least 18 years old.

History: 1977 c. 323; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (4); 1979 c. 176, 259; Stats. 1979 s. 765.16; 1981 c. 20 s. 2200; 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 315; 1999 a. 85; 2001 a. 61; 2013 a. 372.