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If you want to be eligible to perform weddings and marriage ceremonies, either as a professional or as a one-time favor to a friend, you need to be licensed. The path to licensing depends on where you live. In some states, getting ordained to perform marriages is as simple as filling out an online form and paying a fee, while in other areas, you are ineligible to marry people unless you regularly lead a religious congregation. For this reason, you must carefully research the area in which you hope to conduct a wedding, and see what the legal requirements are.
Research the marriage laws in your area. If you do not know how, contact the office of the county clerk to ask about the requirements for conducting a marriage. For example, in Nevada as of this article's publication, a legally ordained minister cannot perform a marriage unless he leads a congregation, while in California, any ordained minister or priest is eligible.
Visit a website that specializes in ordination for the purposes of performing weddings. Because of the popularity of such ordination, groups like the American Fellowship Church and First Nation Ministry sell packages that meet the legal ordination requirements so that non-clergy can perform weddings.
Submit an application to your city or county clerk's office to register as a marriage officiant. You may need to wait for your official license to come in the mail from the ordination body before you can complete this application.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.