Becoming an ordained minister online in the U.S. via American marriage ministries

Couple Experiencing Marriage Counseling Together

When it comes to exciting spectacles, few events can match the grandeur of a beautiful wedding ceremony. Packed with touching speeches, emotional vows, and deep expressions of love, weddings are a time for happiness and celebration. There’s nothing that quite compares to watching two people profess their love for one another and set off on a new journey together. Well, perhaps one thing: officiating the ceremony yourself. Al though it once took years of study to become a marriage officiant, the rise of online ordination has revolutionized this process. Becoming qualified to officiate a wedding is now easier than ever!

Instead of joining a foreign organization, we would urge you to consider joining an American marriage ministry such as the Universal Life Church. Joining the ULC gives members the ability to legally officiate marriage ceremonies all throughout the United States. Not only does getting ordained add intimacy to a wedding ceremony of a friend or family member, but it also allows them to save money on the officiant fee (which can be quite high for an experienced professional).

Most ministries require their members to complete extensive study programs that are typically expensive and time-consuming. At the Universal Life Church, we view such barriers to becoming a minister as both exclusionary and unnecessary. Our online ordination process is simple: just fill out a short online form, hit submit, and you’ll be welcomed into the fold. We believe that every individual – regardless where they come from or what they believe – should be afforded the right to serve as a minister.

Officiating Marriages in America

To perform a legal wedding ceremony, U.S. marriage law requires you to first become a member of one of the numerous American marriage ministries, whether brick-and-mortar or online, authorized to ordained ministers. While the traditional path to ordination is through a conventional religious organization, there are plenty of alternative options available. Many non-denominational, non-religious, Wiccan/pagan and other non-traditional online ministries also offer ordination. Under the law, these ordinations carry the exact same weight as those issued from “mainstream” religious groups.

The Universal Life Church, is an inclusive non-denominational ministry that serves millions of members in the United States. Our online ordination process is fairly straightforward, but here are a few tips when filling out an application:

  • Use only your full legal name
  • Ensure proper capitalization
  • Double check for typos before submitting
  • Do not include any false information

After becoming a certified member of our organization, your next step will be to brush up on the marriage laws in the county where the wedding will take place. For information regarding the legal requirements for individual states and counties, please refer to our Marriage Laws map. There you will also find contact details for any county clerk offices you might need to get in touch with.

Crafting a Customized Wedding Ceremony

As a wedding officiant operating under the banner of one of the most well-known American marriage ministries, you will be responsible for creating a memorable ceremony for all involved. Although we offer instructions and assistance in crafting a ceremony script, you should look first to the couple and understand their wishes when designing the ceremony. The bride and groom may have a specific vision for what they want to proceedings to look like or what elements should be included; your job is to work with them to accommodate these preferences.

Before stepping up to the altar, go over the script a few times to make sure you’re familiar with it. Memorize the order of events and be prepared to prompt others if they happen to forget. Speak loudly and clearly so that everyone in attendance can hear your voice. If you’re worried about making a mistake – don’t be. It’s rare for a wedding to go exactly as planned, so don’t fret if you miss a line or need to improvise a bit.

Religious Freedom: Ceremony Elements May Vary

The individual elements which comprise the ceremony can vary significantly depending on the couple getting married and what their beliefs are. If the bride and groom are religious, they may request that certain faith traditions or rituals be included in the ceremony.

By the same token, non-religious couples may wish to hold a secular ceremony and customize it accordingly. There are plenty of ways to do this, whether it be through holding a themed wedding, including non-religious readings, or introducing secular rituals into the proceedings.

Now, all of this information might sound a bit overwhelming if you don’t have prior experience, but don’t let that hold you back. Remember, you’ll be joining of the largest religious organizations in the world: we offer our members access to an extensive support network of fellow ministers, an online catalog chalk-full of useful ceremony supplies, and helpful wedding training materials to guide you in your efforts. Becoming a certified marriage officiant is just a few clicks away – what are you waiting for?

Begin Free Online Ordination