Everything You Need to Know About Officiating a Wedding in New Hampshire

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in New Hampshire, including legal requirements and the process to officiate weddings. Sign up for Provenance.co to write your ceremony script effortlessly.
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  1. Intro

Everything You Need to Know About Officiating a Wedding in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, known for its picturesque landscapes and charming small towns, has specific marriage laws that officiants and couples must follow. Whether you’re planning to get married or hoping to officiate a wedding in New Hampshire, understanding the legalities and requirements is crucial. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate through the process with ease.

Who Can Officiate a Wedding in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, a variety of individuals are authorized to officiate weddings. This includes judges, justices of the peace, magistrates, and members of the clergy, including those ordained online by organizations such as the Universal Life Church Ministries (ULC) or American Marriage Ministries (AMM). The state recognizes the legitimacy of online ordinations, making it easier for friends or family members to become officiants.

Legal Excerpt:

According to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:31, a marriage may be solemnized by a justice of the peace, a state supreme court justice, a superior court judge, a circuit court judge, judges of the United States appointed pursuant to federal law, or ministers of the gospel ordained according to their denomination's usage.

How to Become an Officiant in New Hampshire

Becoming an officiant in New Hampshire is straightforward, especially if you choose to get ordained online. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose an Ordination Service: Select a reputable organization like the ULC or AMM to get ordained.
  2. Complete the Online Application: Fill out the necessary information to receive your ordination. This process is typically free and quick.
  3. Receive Your Ordination Documents: Once ordained, you might need to provide proof of your credentials, especially if you are an out-of-state officiant. These documents can often be purchased through the ordination website.

If you are a non-resident officiant, New Hampshire law requires you to obtain a special license from the Secretary of State. This special commission is only valid for the specific wedding you are officiating.

Legal Excerpt:

Per N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 457:32, out-of-state officiants must apply for a special license from the Secretary of State, which requires submission of ordination credentials or other proof of legal authority to perform marriages in their home state.

How to Officiate a Wedding in New Hampshire

Officiating a wedding in New Hampshire involves several key steps:

  1. Meet the Couple: Discuss the ceremony details with the couple to understand their preferences and any special requirements.
  2. Review the Marriage License: Ensure that the couple has obtained their marriage license from the appropriate municipal office.
  3. Plan the Ceremony: Work with the couple to plan the ceremony script. Provenance.co offers excellent tools to help you create a personalized and memorable ceremony script.
  4. Perform the Ceremony: On the wedding day, conduct the ceremony as planned, ensuring all legal requirements are met.
  5. Complete the Marriage License: After the ceremony, fill out the marriage license with all necessary details, including your name, title, and ordination organization.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in New Hampshire

Filling out a marriage license correctly is crucial. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Obtain the License: The couple must obtain the marriage license from the municipality where the ceremony will take place. The license fee is $50.
  2. Sign the License: After the ceremony, the officiant, the couple, and any witnesses (if applicable) must sign the marriage license.
  3. Return the License: The officiant must return the completed marriage license to the issuing office within six days of the ceremony.

Legal Excerpt:

According to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-C:49, the officiant must certify the fact of marriage and return the record to the clerk of the town or city where the license was issued within six days.

New Hampshire Marriage Requirements

New Hampshire has specific requirements for couples wishing to marry in the state:

  • Minimum Age of Couple: Age 18 (or age 16 with guardian consent)
  • Residency: Not required
  • Minimum Distance of Kin Allowed: Second cousins
  • Marriage Equality: Yes

Applying For a Marriage License in New Hampshire

Obtaining a marriage license in New Hampshire involves a few simple steps:

  1. Apply In-Person: Both parties must appear in person to apply for the license. If one or both are in the military and unable to appear, legal representatives can complete the paperwork.
  2. Provide Identification: Both parties must provide valid photo ID and any necessary documents, such as a divorce decree or death certificate if previously married.
  3. Pay the Fee: The fee for a marriage license is $50.
  4. No Waiting Period: New Hampshire does not have a waiting period, so couples can marry immediately after obtaining the license.

Finalizing the Union

Once the wedding ceremony is over, the officiant must complete their portion of the marriage license. This includes providing personal information, the location and date of the ceremony, and signing the document. The completed license must be returned to the clerk who issued it within six days to make the marriage legally binding.

FAQs

1. Can a friend or family member officiate our wedding in New Hampshire?

Yes, as long as they are ordained through a recognized organization like the ULC or AMM, they can legally officiate your wedding.

2. Do officiants need to register with the state of New Hampshire?

No, New Hampshire does not require officiants to register with the state. However, non-resident officiants must obtain a special license from the Secretary of State.

3. How long is a marriage license valid in New Hampshire?

A marriage license in New Hampshire is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

4. Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in New Hampshire?

No, there is no waiting period. Couples can marry immediately after obtaining the license.

5. What documents are required for obtaining a marriage license in New Hampshire?

Both parties must provide valid photo identification, proof of age, and, if applicable, documents such as a divorce decree or death certificate.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Ready to officiate a wedding in New Hampshire? Make the ceremony special with a custom script from Provenance.co. Sign up today and start crafting a memorable wedding experience.

By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to officiate a wedding in New Hampshire, ensuring the process is smooth and legally compliant. Remember, using tools like Provenance.co can enhance the ceremony, making it a truly unforgettable event for the couple.

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 New Hampshire, including legal requirements and the process to officiate weddings. Sign up for Provenance.co to write your ceremony script effortlessly.
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