If you want to learn how to be a wedding officiant legally, you must consider three steps. This article will discuss the requirements, dos, and don’ts for those interested in becoming a wedding officiant.
It’s crucial to go through the legal process to ensure that you’ll facilitate a recognized union and marriage. But first, you may also hear of the term “celebrant.”
Read about what is a celebrant wedding because it is often used interchangeably with the term “officiant.”
How To Be A Wedding Officiant In The US
Step 1. Know the laws and legalities of being a wedding officiant
- All aspiring wedding officiants must research and familiarize themselves with their local laws regarding performing a wedding ceremony; states vary or have small differences with their regulations for wedding officiants
- It’s also essential to know the wedding officiant laws by county and city level to avoid any issues; there are places where you must be a member of a congregation to legally perform a marriage, while other areas are more lenient and almost anyone can conduct a wedding ceremony
- Know the requirements you must accomplish to perform a wedding ceremony to get authorized and approved for officiating a wedding legally
- Besides the wedding officiant laws, it’s your duty as a potential wedding officiant to understand the marriage license laws in your area; note that performing a union without being authorized can be considered illegal
- Be aware of the penalties not just for yourself, but remember that you want to ensure that the couple will be legally married when you perform their ceremony
Step 2. Get ordained to be an officiant
- The easiest way to perform marriages legally is to get ordained by a religious organization; for example, the American Marriage Ministries grants complete legal authority to conduct weddings all over the US
- But what if you are not religious and want to officiate a wedding? There are religious organizations that don’t require you to have a specific belief, so it’s still possible to get ordained by them despite having a different or no spiritual belief
- However, you must still refer to the laws in your state as some places limit those who can get authorization; even if you get ordained, if your state’s marriage laws only allow a specific person like a judge to be authorized, you still can’t legally perform a wedding
- You can usually get ordained online, but make sure that the organization is legitimate; check how they’ll provide training, certification, and other details for the legalities of being a wedding officiant
Step 3. Know your price for officiating a wedding ceremony
- You might only want to become a wedding officiant to perform a friend or relative’s wedding; however, those who wish to offer it as a service must know the amount you can charge; you can also read how much to pay a wedding officiant to know the reasonable amount you can ask in exchange of your services
- You must not under-price or overprice your officiating services
- You want to advertise for this business if you want it to be a source of steady income
- How to market an officiant business? You can start with free classified sites and lead-referral sites when you’re just starting to gain experience
- As you have gained experience and money to pay for better advertisements, you can improve your marketing
- If you know a wedding planner, you can also ask if they can recommend you to couples who don’t have an officiant yet
What Is The Use Of A Wedding Officiant?
A wedding officiant is responsible for performing a union or wedding ceremony. Marriage officiants can be civil officers or religious officiants under a particular denomination.
Depending on your local laws and regulations, it’s also possible for anyone to get ordained online. Then, with the proper certification and requirements, an ordained person can legally perform a marriage, and the union will be recognized.
What does a wedding officiant do?
- Meet with the couple to plan the ceremony and the elements on it
- Possibly pre-marriage counseling
- Attend the rehearsal dinner
- Perform the wedding ceremony starting with the introductions and welcoming, a short talk about the marriage, readings, I dos, vow and ring exchange, unity ceremony, pronouncement, and the kiss
What Does Officiant Say Before I Do?
Officiant: Do you, [groom’s name], take [bride’s name] to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love, honor, and keep her, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, for as long as you both shall live?
Groom: I do.
Officiant: Do you, [bride’s name], take [groom’s name], to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love, honor, and keep him, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, for as long as you both shall live?
Bride: I do.
And if you’re one of the couple, here is who goes first in wedding vows to plan your vows accordingly.
Was this guide helpful? You just learned how to be a wedding officiant by knowing the laws, getting ordained, and knowing how to offer your services.
The emphasis is necessary on checking your local laws to avoid issues with your legalities performing a union. And, of course, check the legitimacy of where you’ll get ordained.