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How to Get Legally Ordained for Your Friend's Wedding

Are you planning to officiate your friend's wedding and wondering how to get legally ordained? Don't worry; you're not alone. With more and more couples choosing to have their friends or family members officiate their weddings (over half of couples these days!), it's become increasingly important to know how to get legally ordained.

In this post, we'll walk you through the process of becoming legally ordained to officiate a wedding. We'll cover everything from the legal requirements to the various options available for getting ordained, and we'll also address some frequently asked questions.

So let's get started!

Legal Requirements

Before you start your journey to becoming ordained, it's essential to know the legal requirements in your state. Marriage laws vary from state to state, and some states have specific requirements for who can legally perform a wedding ceremony.

Most states require that the wedding officiant be at least 18 years old and ordained or licensed by a recognized religious organization or government agency. Some states also require the officiant to register with the county clerk's office or obtain a letter of good standing from their ordaining organization.

Check your state's marriage laws to ensure you meet all the legal requirements before you start the process of getting ordained.

Options for Getting Ordained

There are technically several options for getting ordained, and the process varies depending on the route you choose. While we've included the most common options, the first one is likely the only you're looking for.

  1. Online Ordination

Online ordination is the most popular option for getting ordained. No matter your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), many online organizations (like Universal Life Church and American Marriage Ministries) offer ordination services for free or a nominal fee, and the process is usually quick and easy (i.e. you can be legally ordained after clicking a few buttons).

To get ordained online, you'll need to provide your personal information, such as your full name, address, and email address. You may also need to answer a few questions to ensure you meet the legal requirements to perform a wedding ceremony (or it may just involve checking the one box that confirms you meet their requirements).

Once you've completed the registration process, you'll receive your ordination confirmation via email or regular mail. Some online organizations also offer additional services or products for you to pay for, such as training courses and resources for wedding officiants, but those likely aren't legally necessary so check with your county clerk to see what's needed and save yourself some money.

  1. Religious Organizations

If you're affiliated with a religious organization, you may be able to get ordained through your church or religious institution. Many religious organizations offer ordination services to their members, and the process is often straightforward.

To get ordained through a religious organization, you'll need to contact your church or religious institution and request information about their ordination process. You may need to attend training or classes, and you may also need to meet other requirements, such as completing a background check.

  1. Government Agencies

Some states allow government officials, such as judges or justices of the peace, to perform wedding ceremonies. If you're interested in getting ordained through a government agency, you'll need to contact your local county clerk's office or other government agency to find out about the requirements.

The process of getting ordained through a government agency is often more involved than other options and will take more time (sometimes years), and you may need to attend training or classes and pass an option one is probably your best and only bet if you're just trying to officiate your friend's upcoming wedding.

How To Write The Wedding Ceremony Script

There are three-ish main responsibilities of being asked to officiate: get legally ordained, (write and) perform the ceremony, and (sign and) turn in the marriage certificate. The first responsibility - get legally ordained - is very simple and outlined above (aka do it online, it's quick and free). The second responsibility can be a lot of pressure, and most people don't know where to start. Instead of googling around for random templates, check out to get the step-by-step guide on what to include in the ceremony script and how to customize it so it's personal to the couple. The final responsibility involves following the instructions given by that county and turning the signed license in in the legally-required amount of time.


Q: Do I need to be religious to get ordained?

A: No, you don't need to be religious to get ordained. Many online organizations offer secular ordination services, and some religious organizations also offer non-denominational ordination.

Q: How long does it take to get ordained?

A: The time it takes to get ordained varies depending on the option you choose. Online ordination can take just a few minutes, while getting ordained through a religious organization or government agency can take several weeks or months.

Q: How much does it cost to get ordained?

A: The cost of getting ordained varies depending on the option you choose. Online ordination is often free or low cost, while getting ordained through a religious organization or government agency may

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