How to Become a Wedding Officiant – By Experience

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Have you ever thought about officiating a wedding ceremony? It is very simple to get started as become  a wedding officiant. In order to be legally authorized to officiate a wedding (and also sign the marriage license) you must first be recognized as an ordained minister by an established church or religious institution.


I personally became a wedding officiant through  ULC ( Universal Life Church ). I signed up with ULC then ordered my ordination certificate. Shortly afterwards, I ordered 3 letters of good standing (these forms were specific to New York City).

A few weeks later, I went to the City Clerk’s office with the ordination certificate and the 3 letters. I received my NYC marriage officiant certificate (and I signed my name in this huge black officiant book). It wasn’t very long until I began officiating wedding ceremonies.


It is important to note that a particular church must meet 14 different Internal Revenue Service guidelines. All churches must have a physical building. A church that is strictly online, without an actual place of worship, does not qualify as a church according to the IRS. There are many churches that offer online ordination. You must carefully research each internet-based church to see whether they are truly legit in the eyes of the government.

Every individual state, along with various cities and counties, has their own statutes regarding who is legally allowed to officiate weddings. For example, New York City requires officiants and ministers to officially register in order to officiate a ceremony anywhere in the city. However, registration is not required for the rest of New York State.

Other City

New Jersey will allow anyone who is recognized as a minister in any church to officiate weddings. Connecticut requires that someone is actively involved in the work of the ministry (aside from doing weddings) in order to be allowed to officiate. Ohio requires statewide registration through their Secretary of State. Most states do not have any formal registration requirement. Again, there is no uniform wedding officiant policy across all 50 states.

Embarking on a career as a wedding officiant, whether full-time or part-time, can be quite rewarding. Weddings are meant to be happy occasions. I always feel a sense of joy whenever I solemnize a ceremony, helping to unite the bride and groom in the bonds of marriage. You do not need to invest a whole lot of money to become an officiant. I definitely recommend a career as a wedding officiant.

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