26 Jan 2017
January 26, 2017

The Wedding Ceremony – Making it Legal

Although the making it legal part is usually the easy part (in most states), it is also technically the most important part and the question of how to make it legal is definitely one of the first things that should be worked out.  Depending on the state, county and even city/town, it can range between easy and not possible. The key is to verify that it is possible, and what is required, before spending any time preparing the ceremony.

Our Asked to Officiate workbook covers, in more detail, the steps and process but I did want to give you a couple tips to get you started.  First, it is essential that you check with a clerk where the marriage license will be obtained, and filed, as they are the final authority.  The reason for this is that local laws governing religion and clergy vary widely. For example, most states allow an Officiant who received their ordination online the ability to sign the license, and make the marriage legal, while some states even allow for the individual to register for the option to officiate on one specific day (e.g. California where it is called “Deputy County Clerk for the Day”). However, there are some states that make it tough, if not impossible, for someone to officiate a wedding when not a full-time religious figure.

The second tip is that both the couple and the Officiant carefully research specific rules about the marriage license for the place where they will be married. Some states have a waiting period, while others don’t. Some states require the license to be issued in the specific town where you will be married, or the specific county where you will be married, while others issue a license that is good throughout the entire state.  And, although not a substitute for personally talking to the clerk, more information on the rules in a specific state can be found on our resources page.

Just remember, there is no need for something that can be taken care of with a short call or in-person visit to cause you a big wedding headache.

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