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Marriage Licenses  »  Marriage License  »  Officiants Requirements

State Law Officiants Requirements

Usually the state laws licensing provide any recognized member of the clergy (such as a Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Imam, Cantor, Ethical Culture Leader, etc.), or a judge, a court clerk, and justices of the peace have authority to perform a marriage. However in some states even the clergy must be first certified or licensed.

Some states have laws that permit other persons to apply for authority to perform marriage ceremonies. For example, California law permits anyone to apply for permission to become a Deputy Commissioner of Marriages — the grant of authority is valid for one day — and thus officiate at the wedding of family or friends on that one day.

In the United States, certain states and some counties have guidelines for ministers who want to perform marriages. Here’s a summary of what is involved to perform marriages in each state.

  • Alabama:   Marriage Officiants:  Any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which he is a member may perform marriages. Also, marriages may be performed by the pastor of any religious society according to the rules of the religious society. — Ministers must provide a certificate of the marriage to the judge of probate within one month after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk for the judge of probate.


  • Alaska:   Marriage Officiants:  The minister, priest or rabbi of any church or congregation in the state may perform marriages. — Ministers must provide marriage certificates to the newlyweds and report the marriage to the Marriage Commissioner.

    — For questions see the municipal clerk.


  • Arizona:   Marriage Officiants:  Any licensed or ordained clergyman may perform marriages. — Ministers must record the marriage on the marriage license and return it to the clerk of the Superior Court within 20 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the Superior Court


  • Arkansas:   Marriage Officiants:  Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must have their ordination credentials filed by the county clerk who will then issue a certificate to the minister.

    — The marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the county clerk within 60 days from the date the license was issued.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • California:   Marriage Officiants:  Any priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, of the age of 18 years or over may perform marriages. — Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the county clerk within 4 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Colorado:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by any minister.

    — Ministers must send a marriage certificate to the county clerk.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Connecticut:   Marriage Officiants:  All ordained or licensed clergymen belonging to this state or any other state may perform marriages as long as they continue in the work of the ministry.

    — – Marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the city or town clerk.

    — For questions see the city or town clerk.


  • Delaware:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained minister of the gospel and every minister in charge of a recognized church may perform marriages. — Ministers do not need to be licensed to perform marriages but they must report their name and address to the local registrar in the district in which they live.

    — Ministers must keep the marriage license or a copy for at least one year. Also, the minister must, within 4 days, complete and return forms required by the State Board of Health to the clerk of the peace.

    — For questions see the clerk of the peace.


  • District of Columbia:   Marriage Officiants:  Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages.

    — Marriage licenses are addressed to the minister who will perform the ceremony. The minister must complete a marriage certificate for the couple and return another certificate to the clerk of the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions within 10 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the Court of General Sessions.


  • Florida:   Marriage Officiants:  All regularly ordained ministers of the gospel in communion with some church may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage on the marriage license and return it to the office from which it was issued.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Georgia:   Marriage Officiants:  Any minister who is authorized by his or her church may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the ordinary within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the ordinary’s clerk at the county courthouse.


  • Hawaii:   Marriage Officiants:  Any minister may perform marriages if they are authorized by their church to do so.

    — Ministers must obtain a license from the department of health before performing marriages.

    — Ministers must keep a record of all marriages they perform.

    — Ministers must report all marriages they perform to the department of health.

    — For questions see the department of health.


  • Idaho: Marriages may be performed by priests or ministers of the gospel of any denomination.

    — Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and to the groom. Also, the minister must complete the license and marriage certificate and return it to the recorder who issued it within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county recorder.


  • Illinois:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by ministers of the gospel in regular standing in the church or society to which they belong.

    — The marriage license and certificate must be completed by the minister and returned to the county clerk within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Indiana:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel and priests of every church throughout the state may perform marriages.

    —Ministers must return the marriage license and a certificate of marriage to the clerk of the circuit court within 3 months after the marriage.

    —For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.


  • Iowa:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel who are ordained by their church may perform marriages.

    — Minister must give a certificate of marriage to the newlyweds. Also, the minister must report the marriage to the clerk of the district court within 15 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the district court.


  • Kansas:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained clergyman of any religious denomination or society may perform marriages.

    –Ministers are required to file credentials or ordination with the judge of a probate court before performing marriages.

    — Minister must return the marriage license and a certificate of marriage to the probate judge who issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the probate court.


  • Kentucky:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by any minister of the gospel or priests of any denomination with any religious society.

    — At the present time there are no licensing requirements applicable to ministers or priests who wish to perform marriages in Kentucky. — Minister solemnizing the marriage or the clerk of the religious society before whom it was solemnized “shall within ONE MONTH return the license to the county clerk of the county in which it was issued, with a certificate of the marriage over his signature, giving the date and place of the marriage ceremony and the names of at least two of the persons present.

    — It is illegal to solicit marriages.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Louisiana:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination in regular communion with any religious society may perform marriages. — Ministers must register with the clerk of the district court of the parish or with the health department if in New Orleans.

    — After performing a marriage, the minister must complete a marriage certificate and return it to the clerk of the district court.

    — For questions see the clerk of the district court.


  • Maine:   Marriage Officiants:  “A marriage, solemnized before any known inhabitant of the State professing to be a justice, judge, justice of the peace or notary public, or an ordained or licensed minister of the gospel, is not void, nor is its validity affected by any want of jurisdiction or authority in the justice, judge, justice of the peace, notary or minister or by any omission or informality in entering the intention of marriage, if the marriage is in other respects lawful and consummated with a full belief, on the part of either of the persons married, that they are lawfully married.” (Title 19A § 657)

    Whether a resident or nonresident of this State and whether or not a citizen of the United States:

    An ordained minister of the gospel; A cleric engaged in the service of the religious body to which the cleric belongs; or A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body.
    (Title 19A § 655)

    “Every person authorized to unite persons in marriage shall make and keep a record of every marriage solemnized by that person in conformity with the forms and instructions prescribed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics…” (Title 19A § 654)

    “A person who solemnizes a marriage when not authorized to do so under section 655 commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture not to exceed $100 for each offense may be adjudged. Forfeitures collected must be distributed to the municipality in which the offense occurred.” (Title 19A § 659)

    Official Information: • Maine’s State Legislature (search statutes)

    If questions should arise concerning any aspect of the marriage process or marriage laws in the State of Maine, the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Vital Records is the state agency which handles information for this particular area. You may contact this office at: 207.287.3181


  • Maryland:   Marriage Officiants:  In Maryland, any adult can sign as clergy, as long as the couple who are getting married agree that he is a clergy. The celebrant doesn’t have to be a resident, register in advance, or fulfil any other requirements.

    —For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.


  • Massachusetts:   Marriage Officiants:  Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. — Before performing marriages, ministers are required to apply for a certificate from the state.


    For applications write to:

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Secretary, Supervisor, Commissions Division, State House, Boston, Massachusetts 02133.

    You must file a copy of your ordination certificate and a statement from the church saying that you are in good standing.

    Please let us know well in advance if you need a statement from us.

    Ministers must keep records of all marriages they perform. Also, ministers must return a certificate of the marriage to the town clerk or registrar who issued the marriage license and to the town clerk of the town where the marriage was performed.

    — For questions see the town clerk or registrar or write to the Secretary of State.


  • Michigan:   Marriage Officiants:  A minister of the gospel who is ordained or authorized by his or her church to perform marriages and who is a pastor of a church in this state, or continues to preach the gospel in this state may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete a marriage certificate and give one to the couple. Another marriage certificate must be returned to the county clerk who issued the license within 10 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Minnesota:   Marriage Officiants:  Any licensed or ordained minister of the gospel in regular communion with a religious society may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must file a copy of their credentials of ordination with the clerk of the district court of any county.

    — Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and groom and also file a certificate with the clerk of the district court in the county which issued the marriage license.

    — For questions see the clerk of the district court.


  • Mississippi:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained minister of the gospel who is in good standing with his or her church may perform marriages. — Ministers must send a certificate of marriage to the clerk who issued the marriage license within three months after the marriage. — For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.


  • Missouri:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by any clergyman who is a citizen of the United States and who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state.

    — Ministers must keep a record of all marriages they perform. They must give the couple a marriage certificate and must complete the marriage license and return it to the recorder of deeds within 90 days after the marriage license was issued.

    — For questions see the recorder of deeds.


  • Montana:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel of any denomination may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete and return a marriage certificate to the clerk of the district court within 30 days after the marriage. Also the minister must provide marriage certificates to the bride and groom upon request.

    —For questions see the clerk of the district court.


  • Nebraska: Any ordained clergyman whatsoever, without regard to the sect to which they belong may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must report marriages they perform to the county judge who issued the marriage license within 15 days after the marriage. Also the minister must provide marriage certificates to the bride and groom upon request.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Nevada:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained minister in good standing with his denomination, whose denomination is incorporated or organized or established in the State of Nevada may perform marriages.

    — Ministers are required to apply for a certificate of permissions to perform marriages. Among other requirements, the applicant’s ministry must be primarily one of service to his congregation or denomination and his performance of marriages must be incidental to such service. See Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS)Certificates of Permission to perform marriages.


  • New Hampshire:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by any ordained minister of the gospel who resides in the state and is in good standing with his church. Ministers not residing in the state may obtain permission to perform a marriage upon application to the Secretary of State.

    — Ministers must send a copy of the marriage certificate to the town clerk.

    —For questions see the city/town clerk.


  • New Jersey:   Marriage Officiants:  In New Jersey, “[various government officials] and every minister of every religion, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriage between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization.” It is a misdemeanor for someone not so authorized to “solemnize” a marriage and it is a misdemeanor for someone who is authorized to perform a marriage without the presentation of a license. (Title 37:1-13,15)

    As in most states, the prospective newlyweds give the marriage license directly to the minister: “Before a marriage can be lawfully performed in this state, the persons intending to be married shall obtain a marriage license from the licensing officer and deliver it to the person who is to officiate, but if the marriage is to be performed by or before any religious society, institution or organization, the license shall be delivered to such religious society, institution or organization, or any officer thereof.” (Title 37:1-2)

    A clergyman is also permitted to do “work of a psychological nature consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions” and “work of a marriage and family therapy nature, … , when acting within the scope of the person’s profession or occupation and doing work consistent with the person’s training”. (Title 45:14B-8, 8B-8)


  • New Mexico:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained clergyman whatsoever, without regard to the sect to which he or she may belong may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must provide the county clerk with a marriage certificate within 90 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • New York:   Marriage Officiants:  Important Note: The City of New York has significantly different laws and procedures from the rest of the state. See “New York City” below.

    Ministers must complete a marriage certificate and return it to the town or city clerk who issued the marriage license within 5 days after the marriage. — For questions see the town or city clerk.

    To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:

    • Various government officials;

    • a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;

    • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing Church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;

    • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

    • the person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits.

    • officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.

    • Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.


  • New York City:   Marriage Officiants:  In a nutshell:
    If the address on your Drivers License is within NYC limits, you will need three things to be able to perform marriages within NYC, instead of only one.

  • They are:

    • Ordination Certificate

    • Founding Document

    • and a Letter signed by one member of your Congregation.

    Before performing marriages in New York City, the minister must register his or her name and address in the office of the city clerk of the city of New York and show some documentation.

    The Official NYC handbook on the Domestic Relations Law, p. 89., À/Í À/ÍC11:2 (subdivision 1) permits a clergyman or minister of any religion to solemnize marriages. “Clergyman or minister” includes a duly authorized pastor, rector, priest, or rabbi. It also includes any other person having authority from, or in accordance with, the rules and regulations of the governing ecclesiastical body of the denomination or order, if any, to which the church belongs. Persons who otherwise have authority from the church or synagogue to preside over and direct the spiritual affairs of the church or synagogue are likewise included. While the state may act to prevent marriages being solemnized by mere philanderers purporting to officiate under the guise of a pseudo-religious faith, it may not interdict marriage ceremonies having a reverent character performed by a person having ecclesiastical sanction.

    To have authority to solemnize marriages, there is no requirement that the church, synagogue, or other religious congregation over which the clergyman presides be affiliated with any denomination or order. Nor is there any requirement that clergy have received formal sanctioning authority from a governing board of a denomination or order or from the church, synagogue, or congregation itself.

    The liberality in construction is stretched to the breaking point where the officiating clergyman appears to be a mere philanderer professing a pseudo-religious faith. In Ravenal v. Ravenal, 72 Misc.2d 100, 338 N.Y.S.2d 324 (Sup.Ct.N.Y.County 1972), at issue was the validity of a marriage purportedly solemnized by a person who obtained his minister’s credentials by mail, who did not preside over an actual church or religious organization, whose beliefs did not provide for any form of worship or religious service, and whose accrediting organization professed a willingness to ordain anyone for a modest free will offering. The court concluded that, under these circumstances, the person who performed the ceremony could not be properly viewed, even with the benefit of a liberal construction, as a clergyman or minister of a religion. The Ravenal case represents an extreme situation where the person who purported to solemnize the marriage lacked, at least to the court’s mind, any of the objective manifestations of attributes generally associated with ministers or clergy. The court appears to have been convinced that the solemnizing officer was a charlatan, claiming ecclesiastical authority by virtue of a mail order ordination granted by a corporate entity that would ordain all comers. Where the parties to the marriage and the person who solemnized the marriage belong to, or ascribe to, a genuine religious faith, then the authority of the officiating person must be recognized.

    The question of genuineness of religious faith is tested by objective criteria such as the regularity of worship and the existence of tenets or principles. The subjective values of the particular religion or faith are irrelevant, no matter how unconventional or no matter how unschooled in theology the clergyman appears to be.

    1. In cases where the denomination publishes a directory of its clergy, the registrant may show that he or she is listed in that directory. If the registrant’s name does not yet appear in the denominational directory, the registrant claiming membership in that denomination may instead present written confirmation for that membership from the body that puts out the directory. Such confirmation can also consist of a certificate or letter showing that the registrant graduated from the seminary or theological school pertaining to the denomination.

    2. In cases where the denomination does not have such a directory, the registrant must show several pieces of documentary proof of authority. First, the registrant must present an ordination certificate accompanied, if necessary, by an English translation thereof. Ordination certificates issued by the Universal Life Church or its affiliates are not acceptable as evidence of clerical authority based on Ranieri v. Ranieri, New York Law Journal, March 27, 1989. Ravenal v. Ravenal, 72 Misc.2d 100, 338 N.Y.S.2d 324 (Sup.Ct.N.Y.County 1972). In lieu of an ordination certificate, the registrant must present a “license to minister” or a letter of appointment from his or her religious body, i.e. from its hierarch or its board of trustees. Second, the registrant must present a letter from his or her local congregation verifying that he or she is the pastor or associate pastor of that congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. Lastly, if the church is incorporated, the registrant must present a copy of the articles of incorporation. If the church is not incorporated, the registrant must submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

    3. In cases where the registrant belongs to a denomination that does not have a directory and does not grant certificates of ordination or licenses to minister, the registrant must present a letter stating that he or she is the recognized spiritual leader of a congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. The registrant must also submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

      To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include: the mayor of a city or village; the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants; a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council; a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the NYS Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court, the NYS Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing Judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record; a village, town or county justice.


  • North Carolina:   Marriage Officiants:  Any ordained minister of any faith who is authorized to perform marriages by his church may do so.

    — ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the register of deeds who issued it.

    — For questions see the register of deeds.


  • North Dakota:   Marriage Officiants:  Ordained ministers of the gospel and priests of every church may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must file a certificate of marriage with the county judge who issued the license within 5 days after the marriage. Certificates must also be given to the persons married.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Ohio:   Marriage Officiants:  To have legally recognized clergy status in Ohio, one must have ordination papers from a church recognized in Ohio.

    Contact the Ohio Secretary of State at 30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor; Columbus, OH 43266-0418. Request the application for a minister’s license. When you receive it, send the completed form, a photocopy of your ordination certificate, and a $10 check or money order to the above address. This will take 2-3 weeks.

    By Ohio Law, licensed clergy must report suspected child or elder abuse to authorities, as well as follow State laws when marrying couples. A summary of the laws is provided at licensure. This license makes chaplaincy status at hospitals, etc. easier to obtain.

    Any ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state may perform marriages.

    — Before performing a marriage, ministers must present their ordination credentials to the probate judge of any county. The judge will provide the minister with a license to perform marriages. The minister must then present his license to the probate judge in any county in which he performs a marriage.

    —Ministers must send a certificate of marriage to the probate judge of the county which issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the probate court.


  • Oklahoma:   Marriage Officiants:  Oklahoma statutes provide for clergy who are not licensed therapists to give certain kinds of counseling. Clergymen may also visit prisoners. The law also provides a right to confidential communications with a clergyman acting in his professional capacity. In this state, the confidentiality belongs the communicant, not in the clergyman.

    Weddings
    Constitution of Oklahoma: Article I § 2. Religious Liberty — Polygamous or plural marriages. Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.

    Title 43 § 7 Solemnization of marriages. A. All marriages must be contracted by a formal ceremony performed or solemnized in the presence of at least two adult, competent persons as witnesses, by a judge or retired judge of any court of record in this state, or an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age. The preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or ecclesiastical dignitary who is a resident of this state shall have filed, in the office of the court clerk of the county in which he resides, a copy of his credentials or authority from his church or synagogue authorizing him to solemnize marriages. The preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or ecclesiastical dignitary who is not a resident of this state, but has complied with the laws of the state of which he is a resident, shall have filed once, in the office of the court clerk of the county in which he intends to perform or solemnize a marriage, a copy of his credentials or authority from his church or synagogue authorizing him to solemnize marriages. Such filing by resident or nonresident preachers, ministers, priests, rabbis or ecclesiastical dignitaries shall be effective in and for all counties of this state; provided, that no fee shall be charged for such recording; but no person herein authorized to perform or solemnize the marriage ceremony shall do so unless the license issued therefor be first delivered into his possession nor unless he has good reason to believe the persons presenting themselves before him for marriage are the identical persons named in the license, and for whose marriage the name was issued, and that there is no legal objection or impediment to such marriage.

    B. Marriages between persons belonging to the society called Friends, or Quakers, the spiritual assembly of the Baha’Is, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which have no ordained minister, may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in any such society, church or assembly.

    Title 43 § 8 Endorsement and return of license. The person performing or solemnizing the marriage ceremony shall immediately upon the completion thereof endorse upon the license authorizing the marriage his name; official or clerical designation; the court of which he is judge or the congregation or body of which he is pastor, preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or dignitary, provided, that the authority to perform or solemnize marriages shall be coextensive with the congregation or body of which he is pastor, preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or dignitary; the town or city and county where the same is located; and signed by him with his official or clerical designation. The witnesses to the ceremony shall endorse the license authorizing the marriage with their names and post office addresses. The license with such certificate thereon shall be transmitted without delay to the judge or the court clerk who issued the same. Provided that all marriages solemnized among the society called Friends, or Quakers, the spiritual assembly of the Baha’Is, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the form heretofore practiced and in use in their meetings shall be good and valid. One person chosen by such society, church or assembly shall be responsible for completing the certification of marriage pursuant to this title in the same manner as a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages. Such person shall be chosen by the society, church or assembly for this purpose.


  • Oregon:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of any church organized, carrying on its work, and having congregations in this state may perform marriages in this state if authorized by their church to do so.

    — Before performing marriages, ministers must file their credentials with the county clerk of the county in which they reside or in which the marriage is to be performed.

    — Ministers must give the bride and groom a marriage certificate upon request. Also, the minister must send a marriage certificate to the county clerk who issued the marriage license within one month after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Pennsylvania:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of any regularly established church or congregation may perform marriages. Also, persons may marry themselves if they obtain a certificate from the clerk of the orphans’ court.

    — Ministers must provide a certificate of marriage to the bride and groom. Also, they must send a marriage certificate to the clerk of the orphans’ court who issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of the orphans’ court.


  • Rhode Island:   Marriage Officiants:  Everyone who has been, or is, the minister of any society professing to meet for religious purposes, or incorporated for the promotion of such purposes, and holding stated and regular services, and who has been ordained according to the customs and usage’s of such society may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must obtain a license from the city or town clerk before performing marriages.

    — Ministers must endorse and return the marriage license to the town or city clerk in which the marriage was performed.

    — For questions see the town or city clerk.


  • South Carolina:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel who are authorized to administer oaths in this state may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete the marriage license and give one copy to the parties and the other two must be returned to the county judge of probate who issued it within 15 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county judge of probate or his clerk.

    Also, anyone that is a notary public in the state of South Carolina is authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.


  • South Dakota:   Marriage Officiants:  Marriages may be performed by a minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination.

    — Ministers must provide the bride and groom with marriage certificates upon request. Ministers must also keep a record book of all marriages they perform. Finally, the minister must send a marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the clerk of courts.


  • Tennessee:   Marriage Officiants:  (a) (1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and all members of the county legislative bodies, county mayors, judges, chancellors, former chancellors and former judges of this state, former county executives or county mayors of this state, former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions, the governor, the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives, the county clerk of each county, former county clerks of this state who occupied the office of county clerk on or after July 1, 2014, and the mayor of any municipality in the state may solemnize the rite of matrimony. For the purposes of this section, the several judges of the United States courts, including United States magistrates and United States bankruptcy judges, who are citizens of Tennessee are deemed to be judges of this state. The amendments to this section by Acts 1987, ch. 336, which applied provisions of this section to certain former judges, do not apply to any judge who has been convicted of a felony or who has been removed from office.

    (2) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act.

    (3) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which any minister officiated before June 1, 1999, such marriage shall not be invalid because the requirements of the preceding subdivision (2) have not been met.

    (b) The traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whereby the parties simply pledge their vows one to another in the presence of the congregation, constitutes an equally effective solemnization.

    (c) Any gratuity received by a county mayor, county clerk or municipal mayor for the solemnization of a marriage, whether performed during or after such person’s regular working hours, shall be retained by such person as personal remuneration for such services, in addition to any other sources of compensation such person might receive, and such gratuity shall not be paid into the county general fund or the treasury of such municipality.

    (d) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a county executive officiated prior to April 24, 1981, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

    (e) For the purposes of this section, “retired judges of this state” is construed to include persons who served as judges of any municipal or county court in any county that has adopted a metropolitan form of government and persons who served as county judges (judges of the quarterly county court) prior to the 1978 constitutional amendments.

    (f) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a retired judge of this state officiated prior to April 13, 1984, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

    (g) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a judicial commissioner officiated prior to March 28, 1991, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

    (h) The judge of the general sessions court of any county, and any former judge of any general sessions court, may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. Any marriage performed by any judge of the general sessions court in any county of this state before March 16, 1994, shall be valid and declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

    (i) All elected officials and former officials, who are authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state.

    (j) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a county mayor officiated outside such mayor’s county prior to May 29, 1997, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state.

    (k) The judge of the municipal court of any municipality, whether elected or appointed, shall have the authority to solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of the state.


  • Texas:   Marriage Officiants:  Ordained Christian ministers and priests; Jewish rabbis and persons who are officers of religious organizations and who are duly authorized by the organization to conduct marriage ceremonies may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the county clerk who issued it within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Utah:   Marriage Officiants:  Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination who are in regular communion with any religious society may perform marriages.

    —Ministers must provide a certificate of marriage to the county clerk who issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county clerk.


  • Vermont:   Marriage Officiants:  Ordained ministers residing in this state may perform marriages. Non-resident ordained ministers may perform marriages with the permission of the probate court of the district within which the marriage is to take place.

    — Ministers must complete the marriage license and certificate of marriage and return it to the clerk’s office from which it was issued within ten days from the date of the marriage.

    — For questions see the city/town clerk.


  • Virginia:   Marriage Officiants:  The procedure in Virginia is less well defined. According to the official in Arlington County, you bring (in person) your “certificate of ordination”, a photo ID, and $16 the Clerk’s office of any Circuit Court. Then the clerk will ask you “some questions” about things like whether or not you have a congregation in Virginia, how many members, and whether your group is recognized as a religious group by the IRS. Then either the clerk will register you or buck the problem up to a judge. Nonresidents are eligible.

    VA-resident non-clergy can sign up for a one-time permit to celebrate a wedding. Apply in person at the Clerk’s office of any Circuit Court.


  • Washington:   Marriage Officiants:  Regularly licensed or ordained ministers or any priest of any church or religious denomination anywhere within the state may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must send two certificates of marriage to the county auditor within 30 days after the marriage.

    — For questions see the county auditor.


  • West Virginia:   Marriage Officiants:  The West Virginia Legislature adopted S. B. 59, establishing new provisions for the registration of religious representatives to be authorized to perform marriages in any county in West Virginia.

    The provisions replace previous requirements for registration with the county clerk, however approval of the bond or exemption from the bonding requirement was left with the county commission.

    Requirements for Registration:

    1. Proof of Age The registrant must be 18 years of age or older, and may show proof using a birth certificate, driver license, passport or military ID.

    2. Proof of Authority The registrant must be: duly authorized to perform marriages by his or her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization; and in regular communion with that group of which he or she is a member.

    3. Bond The bonding requirement is waived if the registrant gives proof before the county commission of his or her ordination or similar formal authorization by the religious organization.

    A bond of $1,500 with surety approved by the county commission, is required if the formal ordination or similar authorization is not provided. A letter from the members of a single congregation unaffiliated with a recognized religious body is not considered proof sufficient to be exempt from the bonding requirement.

    Registry The Secretary of State will establish a registry of all persons authorized to perform marriages.

    The law requires county clerks in the 55 counties to forward to the Secretary of State by October 1, 2001, the name of every person authorized since 1960 to perform marriages for inclusion in the registry. The Secretary of State must then forward the completed registry and periodic updates back to the county clerks.


  • Wisconsin:   Marriage Officiants:  765.16″ Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.

    take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The following are authorized to be officiating persons:

    (a) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.

    (b) Any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of the church or denomination.

    (c) The 2 parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.

    (d) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.

    (e) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).

    (f) Any municipal judge.

    (2m)”,An officiating person under sub. (1m) (a), (b), (d), (e), or (f) must be at least 18 years old.


  • Wyoming:   Marriage Officiants:  Every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel may perform marriages.

    — Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and groom upon request and must return a certificate to the county clerk.

    — For questions see the county clerk.