How to Perform a Wedding
Performing a marriage ceremony is a memorable experience that will stay with you forever. Fortunately, becoming ordained to perform weddings is now easier than ever before. The Universal Life Church has knocked down the traditional barriers to getting ordained by creating a simple online application process. Furthermore, anyone who wants become a minister can do so – our organization welcomes people of all faiths, creeds, backgrounds, and belief systems. ULC ministers perform thousands of weddings each year, and our family is constantly growing.
Many of our ministers become ordained in order to marry family or friends, which can provide a wonderful alternative to a traditional ceremony. There are several advantages to this approach. For one, the ceremony will be much more personal. It also leaves room for flexibility, which is important. Searching for a clergy member who is open minded toward contemporary weddings and unique ceremonial elements can be difficult. However, none of that is a concern if the minister is a close friend or family member!
Whether the couple wants a traditional wedding, a wild and fun themed wedding, or even an interfaith ceremony, ordained ministers with the ULC ministers are able to accommodate all of these needs. Now, let's get down to business. Although performing a wedding may sound complicated, it's actually quite straightforward. Just follow the steps laid out below!
Step 1: Visit Get Ordained™
Believe it or not, this is the easiest part! Almost anyone willing can become ordained online. Follow the instructions, fill out the necessary information, and we'll process your ordination. You'll then receive a certificate via email, and your ordination will be official. Welcome to the family!
Step 2: Check Your Local Laws
Specific requirements for performing a wedding vary from state to state, and sometimes even from county to county. Some places require additional documents in order to confirm your credentials as a member of the clergy. In order to determine if there are any specific requirements, you should contact the county clerk in the county where the wedding will take place and ask what they need to see from you. Any documentation you may need is available on our church supplies catalog.
Weddings performed by Universal Life Church ministers are generally recognized across the country. However, there are a few areas where our ministers sometimes experience problems. Just in case you'd like more info, we've published every state's wedding laws on our site. You should make a point to check your local marriage laws.
Step 3: Consult with the Couple
Before the wedding, you'll need to meet with the couple to iron out the details of the ceremony. They may have special requests or certain aspects they'd like included/excluded. You can also tailor the ceremony to be in line with their specific religious preferences. If the wedding is being held at a special location, you should make a point to ask about travel arrangements.
Be advised, the couple may ask you to write a script for the wedding. This can be a difficult task, which is why we've created a simple tool to help our ministers: the Wedding Ceremony Script Generator.
In order to ensure the ceremony goes smoothly, it may also be a good idea to hold a rehearsal. This is often necessary for elaborate ceremonies that involve the participation of the guests. While rehearsal is not as important for smaller ceremonies, you should at least create a timeline and run through it with the couple beforehand. The excitement of a wedding makes it possible to overlook important details – no matter how small the ceremony.
Step 4: Perform the Ceremony
Then comes the big day. As a minister, your primary task is to create the best possible experience for the bride, groom, and guests. During the consultation, you worked with the couple to develop a blueprint for the wedding. Now your job is to make sure these plans are carried out. Before the event begins, meet and greet with family members. For those participating in the ceremony, make yourself available in case they have any questions. Then it's show time!
Note: In order for a marriage to be legally binding, the ceremony has to include, at minimum, two distinct elements. The first is the Declaration of Intent – this is most commonly recognized as the exchange of "I do's". The second is the Pronouncement, where you pronounce that the couple is officially married.
Step 5: Complete All Legal Paperwork
After the wedding ceremony is complete, all that's left is the paperwork. This involves submitting a completed marriage license to the state or county clerk's office (be sure to do this promptly, for licenses do expire). The marriage license will usually require signatures from several witnesses, in addition to those of the bride and groom. After it has been properly filled out and turned in, the marriage is official. Congratulations, your work is done!