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All states recognize an ordained minister as someone who can legally officiate a wedding. Ordained ministers can be ordinary citizens, and not someone working in a church, religious organization or civil service. Becoming an ordained nondenominational minister can be accomplished online. Depending on where you obtain your ordainment, you can act as a wedding officiant upon receipt of certification. You can obtain an online ordainment through several recognized organizations, such as the Universal Life Church and Rose Ministries.
Visit the website of the ministry where you will seek ordainment. The website will give you instructions of what you must accomplish to become an ordained minister. You may want to view several ministries as each may have different requirements, fees and expiration dates.
Complete the online forms required by the ministry. You must use your full legal name on these forms. You will also need to provide your address and email address, along with any required fees. Submit the form electronically and receive an email confirmation of submission. Response time can vary based on when you submit your request and the ministries’ processing time.
Receive certification of your credential as an ordained minister online or through the mail. You will obtain a letter or certificate stating your status as an ordained minister. Some ministries may provide you with the ability to download and print your certificate while others mail it to you upon receipt and processing of your application.
Register with the state you wish to officiate weddings. Most states do not require you to register but for those that do, you must submit proof of your wedding credential and a “Letter of Good Standing.” You can obtain this information online from the ministry that ordained you. The information they provide will meet your state’s requirements for you to legally officiate weddings. The state agency that issues marriage license varies from state to state.
Learn the marriage licensing laws in the state and county where you will officiate weddings. After the ceremony, you will need to sign the couple’s marriage license and submit it to the agency that issues marriage licenses in that state or county.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.