Guide to Officiating Weddings in Maryland

Planning a wedding in Maryland? Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about becoming an officiant, obtaining a marriage license, and officiating a wedding ceremony in Maryland.
Table of Contents
  1. Intro

Who can officiate a wedding in Maryland?

In Maryland, couples have the freedom to choose who officiates their wedding ceremony. According to Maryland law, a marriage ceremony can be performed by:

  • Any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony.
  • Any clerk.
  • Any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county.
  • A judge.

How to become an officiant in Maryland

Becoming an officiant in Maryland is a straightforward process. Here are the key requirements:

  • Minimum Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Residency: Residency is not required.
  • Document(s) Required: Varies by County.
  • Online Ordination Recognized: Yes, ordination from the Universal Life Church (ULC) or American Marriage Ministries (AMM) is recognized in Maryland.
  • Relevant Office of Registration: Circuit Court Clerk.
  • Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed: After the Ceremony.
  • Minister I.D. # Issued: No.

As an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries, you are considered a religious official under Maryland law. However, the state does not impose any requirements on your religious beliefs or lack thereof. Additionally, there is no requirement to register with the state, but depending on the county, you may need to submit your Ordination Credentials to the clerk’s office along with the completed marriage certificate.

How to Officiate a Wedding in Maryland

When officiating a wedding in Maryland, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Marriage By Proxy: Not Allowed.
  • Minister Required to be Present: Yes.
  • Number of Witnesses Required: None.
  • Couple's Consent Required: Yes.
  • Pronouncement Required: Yes.

Each partner must formally declare their consent to be married and to take the other partner as a spouse. Both the minister and both partners must be physically present for the entire ceremony. Maryland does not require additional witnesses, although Society of Friends celebrations must include two overseers.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in Maryland

To obtain a marriage license in Maryland, follow these steps:

  • Who Picks Up License: The Couple.
  • Where License is Valid: County of Issuance.
  • Marriage License Pick-Up: In Person/By Mail.
  • Cost of License: $10 + Filing Fee.
  • Accepted I.D. Types: Photo ID.
  • Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable): No.
  • Blood Test Required: No.

A marriage license must be issued by the circuit clerk’s office in the county where the wedding ceremony will take place. The fee for the license varies by county. If either partner is a resident of the county where the wedding will be held, then at least one partner must appear in person at the clerk’s office in that county to apply for a marriage license.

Applying For a Marriage License in Maryland

  • Mandatory Waiting Period: 6 am of Second Day After Issuance.
  • License Valid For: 6 Months.
  • License Must Be Submitted: Within 5 Days of Ceremony.

A Maryland marriage license is issued with a marriage certificate attached. For the marriage to be valid, a wedding ceremony must take place in the county where the license was issued within six months after the issue date. The marriage certificate must be returned to the issuing office within five days after the ceremony.

Maryland Marriage Requirements

  • Min. Age of Couple: Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent.
  • Residency: Not Required.
  • Min. Distance of Kin Allowed: First Cousins.
  • Marriage Equality: Yes.

Nearly all couples are welcome to get married in Maryland, including same-sex couples, out-of-state couples, and couples from around the world. Maryland allows first cousins to marry; however, the partners cannot be closely related by blood or law. Both partners must be at least 18 years of age, with exceptions for minors with parental or guardian consent.

Finalizing the Union

After the ceremony, the minister must complete and sign both copies of the marriage certificate. If a title is requested, a ULC minister should write “minister.” The minister must return one copy of the certificate, together with the original marriage license and his or her ordination credentials if needed, to the issuing clerk’s office within five days after the ceremony.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Ready to write the perfect ceremony script for your Maryland wedding? Sign up for Provenance.co today!

FAQs

Q: Can I officiate a wedding in Maryland if I'm ordained online?A: Yes, Maryland recognizes online ordinations from the Universal Life Church (ULC) or American Marriage Ministries (AMM).

Q: Do I need to register as an officiant in Maryland?A: No, there is no registration requirement for officiants in Maryland, but depending on the county, you may need to submit your Ordination Credentials to the clerk’s office along with the completed marriage certificate.

Q: How long is a Maryland marriage license valid?A: A Maryland marriage license is valid for six months from the date of issuance.

Q: Can same-sex couples get married in Maryland?A: Yes, Maryland allows marriage equality, and nearly all couples are welcome to get married in the state.

Q: Are there any residency requirements for getting married in Maryland?A: No, residency is not required to obtain a marriage license or get married in Maryland.

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.

Planning a wedding in Maryland? Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about becoming an officiant, obtaining a marriage license, and officiating a wedding ceremony in Maryland.
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