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How to Register as a Certified Wedding Officiant

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson

When your friends are getting married and they want someone they care about to perform the ceremony, they may approach you even if you aren't an ordained minister. If you want to help, look into becoming certified online. Being a certified ordained ministry is a great way to earn a little extra money while you share in a couple's happy moments. Be sure to follow your state's regulations for officiating at a wedding.

Check State Law

Check your state's laws about becoming a wedding officiant. Many states require only that you hold a valid minister's license, but some states have more extensive requirements. In fact, Alabama, Connecticut, some New York counties, parts of Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and even Las Vegas do not accept Internet-ordained ministers. They require that clergy be connected to a church and a congregation. In those cases, you won't be able to become a certified officiant unless your career is in the ministry.

Register Online

If your state allows Internet-ordained wedding officiants, then the process is simple. Find an online ministry, like Universal Life or First Nation Ministry. Fill out an online application to become ordained and pay the appropriate fee. You must use your legal name to register, or the ceremony you officiate won't be deemed legal. You must wait for the online registration to be accepted before you can perform the ceremony, which normally takes a day or so.

Good Standing

Some states and counties require that you do a little extra beyond just registering with an online ministry and paying the fee. If you're performing a ceremony in New York City, for example, you must register with the City of New York by submitting an online application and providing a certificate or letter from your ministry. Some states, such as Ohio and Nevada, require a letter of good standing from your ministry. Most online services provide these extra certificates and letters for an additional fee.

Additional Items

Many online ordination sites let you buy extras with your registration if you want to offer a fancier service. You may purchase a package that include words that you can say at the wedding, an official seal and even a marriage renewal certificate for later if the couple ever wants to renew their vows. Some packages are good for a limited number of marriages, while others are unlimited. After the ceremony, don't forget to fill out and sign the marriage license and mail it back to the county clerk.

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