How to Become a Wedding Officiant and Preside Over ‘I Dos’

As weddings crank back up following an extended pause during the pandemic, demand is increasing for officiants to help all those couples tie the knot.

Officiating a wedding is a rewarding role that requires research, preparation — not to mention ordination. It’s also a fun and lucrative side gig.

Here’s the lowdown on how to become a wedding officiant so you can start presiding over all those joyous “I dos.”

How to Become a Wedding Officiant

Before you can start presiding over weddings and signing marriage licenses, you’ll need to take a couple important steps.

Get Ordained

Becoming ordained is usually simple, and many officiants get ordained online.

Some state laws are more strict when it comes to online ordinations, so you may have to pursue other options based on where you live. The cost of getting ordained ranges from free to around $50. You may also have to pay a small fee for a certified copy of your ordination document to prove it.

Organizations like American Fellowship Church, Rose Ministries, Universal Life Church and Universal Ministries offer online ordination. Though many of these organizations have religious connotations in their titles, anyone is welcome to get ordained. “Becoming a minister with the AMM does not require you to hold any particular spiritual belief,” American Marriage Ministries says on their website.

Check Local Rules and Register if Needed

Marriage is the domain of the state. So even if you’re ordained to officiate weddings, you must comply with local rules and regulations.

States — and even some counties — have different rules about who can perform a wedding ceremony. Check your state’s website or speak with your local county clerk’s office.

“Some (places) are easier to register in; some do not require you register; some only recognize ‘ordained’ religious persons and judges; some notaries too can do weddings,” says Chaplain Jerry Schwehm, moderator and president of the

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