Complete Guide to Officiating a Wedding in South Dakota

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in South Dakota with this comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate weddings, the steps to get ordained, and how to conduct a memorable ceremony. Sign up at Provenance.co for ceremony script tools and more.
Table of Contents
  1. Intro

Getting married in South Dakota offers the opportunity to celebrate your love amidst some of the country's most stunning landscapes, from the iconic Mt. Rushmore to the breathtaking Badlands. Whether you’re planning an intimate ceremony or a grand celebration, understanding the state's marriage laws is crucial. This comprehensive guide, brought to you by Provenance.co, will cover all the essential steps to becoming a wedding officiant in South Dakota, ensuring your ceremony is legally binding and memorable.

Who Can Officiate a Wedding in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, a variety of individuals are authorized to officiate weddings. These include:

  • Justices of the Supreme Court
  • Judges of the circuit court
  • Magistrates
  • Mayors (within or outside their municipality)
  • Members of the clergy, which includes ministers ordained through organizations like Universal Life Church (ULC) or American Marriage Ministries (AMM)

Requirements for Officiants:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Residency in South Dakota is not required
  • Online ordination is recognized

Ministers of the ULC and AMM can officiate weddings in South Dakota, provided they present documentation verifying their ordination if requested.

How to Become an Officiant in South Dakota

Becoming a wedding officiant in South Dakota is a straightforward process, especially if you choose online ordination through organizations like ULC or AMM. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Get Ordained Online: Visit the ULC or AMM websites and follow their simple ordination process. This typically involves filling out a form and receiving your ordination credentials.
  2. Prepare Your Documentation: Depending on the county, you might need to present your ordination credentials to the local registrar. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your ordination certificate and a letter of good standing from the church.
  3. Understand State Laws: Familiarize yourself with South Dakota's marriage laws to ensure the ceremony complies with state regulations.

How to Officiate a Wedding in South Dakota

Once you’re ordained, officiating a wedding involves a few key steps to ensure the ceremony is legally binding:

  1. Verify Identities: Before the ceremony, verify the identities of the couple and the witnesses. This can be done through photographic identification.
  2. Public Declaration: Ensure there is a public declaration of consent from both parties during the ceremony. This is a legal requirement in South Dakota.
  3. Pronounce the Couple: Officially pronounce the couple as married once the vows and rings (if used) have been exchanged.
  4. Complete the Marriage License: Fill out the marriage license with all required details, including your information as the officiant.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in South Dakota

Filling out the marriage license accurately is critical. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Application: Both members of the couple must apply for the marriage license together in person at the county registrar’s office. They must present valid identification and pay the application fee, typically around $40.
  2. Waiting Period: South Dakota has a mandatory 24-hour waiting period after the marriage license is issued before the ceremony can take place.
  3. License Validity: The marriage license is valid for 20 days from the date of issuance. The ceremony must be conducted within this period.
  4. Submission: After the ceremony, the officiant must return the completed marriage license to the county registrar’s office within 10 days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can officiate a wedding in South Dakota?

Anyone authorized by a church to solemnize marriages, including online-ordained ministers from ULC or AMM, can officiate weddings in South Dakota. Judges, magistrates, and mayors are also authorized.

Do I need to be a resident of South Dakota to officiate a wedding there?

No, residency is not required to officiate a wedding in South Dakota.

How long does it take to get ordained online?

The online ordination process through organizations like ULC or AMM is usually quick and can be completed within a few minutes.

What documents do I need to present as an officiant?

You may need to present your ordination certificate and a letter of good standing from your ordaining church, depending on the county.

How much does it cost to apply for a marriage license in South Dakota?

The marriage license application fee is typically $40.

Why Choose Provenance?

At Provenance.co, we make it easy for you to create a personalized and legally binding wedding ceremony. Our tools and resources help you write the perfect ceremony script, vows, and toasts. Sign up today to start planning a ceremony that reflects your unique love story.

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Conclusion

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Officiating a wedding in South Dakota is a rewarding experience that allows you to play a significant role in a couple’s special day. By following the state’s guidelines and utilizing resources like Provenance.co, you can ensure the ceremony is both meaningful and legally binding. Whether you’re a friend, family member, or professional officiant, this guide provides everything you need to know to get started.

Please Note: State and county marriage certificate requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different, and we would always advise that you contact the office of your local marriage authority or a licensed attorney to address any specific questions or concerns you may have. While Provenance will aim to update this information as relevant and as able, you should reach out to the local county clerk for the most up to date information.

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in South Dakota with this comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate weddings, the steps to get ordained, and how to conduct a memorable ceremony. Sign up at Provenance.co for ceremony script tools and more.
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