Your Complete Guide to Officiating a Wedding in North Dakota

Learn how to become a wedding officiant in North Dakota with our comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate, how to officiate, and how to fill out a marriage license in North Dakota. Sign up for Provenance.co to create your perfect ceremony script.
Table of Contents
  1. Intro

Your Complete Guide to Officiating a Wedding in North Dakota

North Dakota, known for its stunning landscapes from the Red River Valley to the rugged Badlands, offers a beautiful backdrop for wedding ceremonies. Whether you’re a soon-to-be bride, groom, or officiant, understanding the state’s marriage laws is crucial. This guide, written in the voice of Steven Greitzer, walks you through everything you need to know to ensure a legally binding marriage in North Dakota.

Who Can Officiate a Wedding in North Dakota

In North Dakota, various individuals are authorized to officiate weddings, ensuring that couples can find the perfect person to solemnize their marriage.

Authorized Officiants

  • Judges: All judges of courts of record can officiate weddings.
  • Municipal Judges: These judges can also perform wedding ceremonies.
  • Recorders: Unless a different official is designated by the county commissioners.
  • Ordained Ministers and Clergy: Individuals ordained by recognized denominations, including those ordained online by the Universal Life Church (ULC) or American Marriage Ministries (AMM), are eligible.

To officiate a wedding in North Dakota, one must be at least 18 years old. The state recognizes online ordination, meaning ministers ordained through ULC or AMM are considered legitimate officiants.

How to Become an Officiant in North Dakota

Becoming an officiant in North Dakota is straightforward, especially with online ordination available through organizations like ULC and AMM.

Steps to Become an Officiant

  1. Get Ordained Online: Visit the ULC or AMM website and complete the online ordination process. This process is quick and often free.
  2. Gather Required Documents: The specific documentation required can vary by county, so check with the local recorder’s office where the wedding will take place.
  3. Understand Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with North Dakota’s legal requirements for officiants to ensure compliance.

After obtaining ordination, officiants should keep their credentials on hand, although personal beliefs, gender, or residence are not factors in their legitimacy.

How to Officiate a Wedding in North Dakota

Officiating a wedding in North Dakota involves several key steps to ensure the ceremony is legally recognized.

Conducting the Ceremony

  1. Ensure Both Parties Are Present: Proxy marriages are not allowed in North Dakota. Both the bride and groom must be physically present.
  2. Witnesses: At least two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
  3. Pronouncement: The officiant must formally pronounce the couple as married during the ceremony.
  4. Ceremony Script: Plan and prepare the ceremony script in advance. Provenance.co offers tools to help you create a personalized and meaningful script.

Post-Ceremony Paperwork

After the ceremony, the officiant must complete and submit the marriage license and certificate. These documents must include the full names of the parties before and after marriage and be signed by the officiant and two witnesses. The completed paperwork must be returned to the issuing office within five days of the ceremony.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in North Dakota

Filling out the marriage license correctly is crucial for the marriage to be legally recognized.

Steps to Complete the Marriage License

  1. Names and Details: Ensure the full names of both parties are included, both before and after marriage.
  2. Witness Signatures: Obtain signatures from the two witnesses present at the ceremony.
  3. Officiant’s Information: Include the officiant’s name, title, and the ecclesiastical body with which they are associated.
  4. Submit the License: Return the completed license and certificate to the county recorder’s office within five days of the ceremony.

Failure to submit the paperwork on time can result in penalties for the officiant, so timely submission is essential.

Additional Information on North Dakota Marriage Laws

Marriage License Application

Couples must apply for a marriage license together in person at the county recorder’s office. They need to bring government-issued photo identification, Social Security cards, and, if applicable, divorce decrees. The fee for the license is $65, with an additional $30 fee if the ceremony is held at the courthouse.

Marriage Requirements

  • Minimum Age: Both parties must be at least 18 years old, or 16 with parental or guardian consent.
  • Marriage Equality: North Dakota recognizes same-sex marriages in line with federal laws.
  • Prohibited Marriages: Marriages between close relatives, such as first cousins, are prohibited.

Marriage License Validity

  • Validity Period: The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
  • Submission Deadline: The marriage license and certificate must be submitted within five days after the ceremony.

FAQs about Officiating a Wedding in North Dakota

1. Can a friend or family member officiate our wedding in North Dakota?

Yes, a friend or family member can officiate your wedding if they are ordained by an organization like the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries.

2. Do we need witnesses for our wedding ceremony in North Dakota?

Yes, at least two witnesses are required to be present at the ceremony.

3. How soon do we need to return our marriage license after the ceremony?

The marriage license must be returned to the county recorder’s office within five days of the ceremony.

4. Can we get married in North Dakota if we are not residents?

Yes, non-residents can get married in North Dakota, but they must obtain the marriage license in the county where the ceremony will take place.

5. How much does a marriage license cost in North Dakota?

The marriage license fee is $65. An additional $30 fee applies if the ceremony is conducted at the courthouse.

6. What documents do we need to apply for a marriage license in North Dakota?

You need to provide government-issued photo IDs, Social Security cards, and, if applicable, divorce decrees.

7. Are online ordinations recognized in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota recognizes online ordinations from organizations like the Universal Life Church and American Marriage Ministries.

8. Can we choose our surnames after marriage in North Dakota?

Yes, you can decide upon your post-marriage surnames when applying for your marriage license.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Planning to officiate a wedding in North Dakota? Simplify the process by signing up for Provenance.co. Our tools help you create a personalized and meaningful ceremony script, ensuring your special day is memorable and legally sound. Join Provenance.co today and make your ceremony perfect.

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 North Dakota with our comprehensive guide. Discover who can officiate, how to officiate, and how to fill out a marriage license in North Dakota. Sign up for Provenance.co to create your perfect ceremony script.
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