Becoming Legally Certified to Officiate at Weddings

Becoming Legally Certified to Officiate at Weddings

Officiate at Weddings

I’ve heard that it’s pretty easy (and inexpensive) to be legally certified to officiate at weddings.

How is this done?

First, I’d like to give you a little background on why a question such as this one is impossible for me to answer. I’m located in Pennsylvania…and am familiar with some of the laws in my area, but certainly not with all of the laws (and not even with some of the laws in most areas). I can’t tell you what is required in your state or area of the country. I will tell you what knowledge I do have in this area, but it may not be what you are looking for.

In Pennsylvania, there is “Quaker-style” liscense which will allow anyone to perform a wedding as long as that wedding is witnessed by at least two people. Over ten years ago, I lived in Colorado. At that time, a marriage liscense had to be signed by the parties getting married. Which meant that someone of the couple’s choice could preside if they wanted to. In Germany, a civil ceremony is required (to be considered legally married) before a church ceremony can take place. Only the civil ceremony is recognized. In California, a citizen can be “deputized” and can legally perform a marriage. These citizens then become part of a Marriage Commission which can usually be found through the County Recorder’s office.

Of course, you can become a minister through the Universal Life Church and read their documentation on how to be able to legally perform as an officiant at weddings. However, you will find that in some states (and/or counties), ULC ministers can’t be registered with the city clerk…thereby making it impossible for them to marry people in cities/counties that require this type of registration. On the other hand, the ULC church actively pursues ways in which to change laws such as these. Unfortunately, it may not be in time for you to perform at the wedding you want to perform at.

As you can see, there are many different laws governing who may and may not perform a legal marriage ceremony. My suggestion would be to contact your local County Clerk’s office, County Recorder’s office or even your local courthouse in order to find o what is needed in order to legally officiate a wedding in your area.


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