How to Get Ordained to Marry - Everything You Need to Know


So you want to get ordained. Getting ordained is basically making someone a priest or a minister such that they can confer holy orders. Many people assume that they can get ordained online and perform their friends’ weddings. However, a number of states do not recognize weddings performed by such officiants, while in several other states the validity of such weddings is unclear and a court must intervene. The worst part is that most couples will not realize there is a problem with their marriage license until it is too late. It only becomes apparent when they need to prove their marriage was valid - for example in the case of death or divorce. The last thing you need is to mess up your friends’ or relatives' wedding after officiating their ceremony. Lucky for you, this article will help find out how to get ordained to marry and the couple will not have legal issues later.

How to Get Ordained to Marry

In most, if not all cases, a clergy person (rabbi, priest, minister among others) is ordained by a religious organization to perform a wedding. A judge, justice peace, notary public among other public servants solemnizing marriages is part of their job description. Temporary officiants are people who are given a go ahead by the state for a day to officiate a marriage. If you are looking into how to marry a friend or relative, you can have either of the three option. If you choose to be a temporary officiant, there are things you need to take into consideration. Different states have different requirements, but there are general steps that will guide you into the right direction.

Get Familiar with the Requirements of the State

This is a very important step. You need to make sure you are within the confines of the law of that state. Some states have strict and clearly outlined laws while others are a bit loosey goosey.


Ready the Documents

To be made a temporary officiant, you need to have your documents ready. In some states proper paperwork must be filed for the government to give you the go ahead to join a marriage. If you perform a wedding without the right paper work, that wedding will sadly be considered null and void.


Get Ordained

If your state does not require government papers to marry people, you can get ordained by a religious organization. There are organizations like American Marriage Ministries and Universal Life Church (ULC) Monastery that ordain people to marry via their websites.

48 states in America recognize ULC online ordinations. The ordained ministers can officiate weddings in any of the 48 states within the confines of the law of the state where the marriage license will be filed. Once you have been ordained by ULC online you need to:

  • Visit the county clerk offices where the marriage license will be filed and inform them that you will perform a wedding as a ULC minister in their county and inquire if they accept your ordination.

  • If they accept the ordination, ask if you have to register as a wedding officiant before the ceremony.

  • Find out if the clerk needs to see any government-issued identification or ministerial documents before filing for the marriage license. Ministerial documentation can be found in the Product section of the ministry.

Note that there are states that require the ordained minister to have an actual church and a congregation for the marriage to be considered legal. Again, you need to understand the marriage laws of the state where the mirage license will be filed. Some people would like a religious wedding, yet their states demand the marriage be state approved. In such cases, you can be a temporary officiant and get ordained by a religious organization to give the couple what they wished for.

Problematic States


Technically the state law does not recognize ULC ministers, but there have been successful license filing attempts. In addition, Buck County recently accepted ULC ordination.


This has proven to be the most difficult state to accept ULC ordination. However, the Spotsylvania County clerk’s office accepts ULC ordinations.

How to Officiate a Wedding

You have gone through the steps on how to get ordained to marry successfully. What next? The wedding ceremony. You might feel a bit panicky, which is normal since you do not want to ruin or make the wedding boring. So what do you do?

Ask plenty of questions. Ask the couple what they want you to wear, to say, how serious you should be, any family issues you should be aware of, jokes that they do not consider funny among others. This will save you from embarrassing the couple and yourself during the wedding.

The good news is most couples know exactly what they want you to say and have the whole event planned out. It’s even better when they have their vows written down. You can assist by getting literature online and in stores on how to plan a wedding and how to make it exciting. You can also consult other officials and get points on how to go about the special day.