• Charity Parrish

How to Legally Officiate a Wedding

At The Elopement Co., one of the services we offer is providing a licensed officiant to perform your wedding ceremony. However, many of our couples find it a really special touch to have a friend or family member perform the ceremony instead. So we get the question a lot, "How do I sign up to be a legal officiant?"

Minister/Officiant performs ceremony for couple at Providence Cotton Mill
Kristy Yetman, one of our main Officiants

It's a lot easier than you might think!

There are a few ways to go about getting “ordained” to be able to legally officiate a wedding. Most of us don’t want to go to a theology seminary for a few years. So beyond the traditional religious way, the simplest way that I have found is through an organization called American Marriage Ministries, or AMM: https://theamm.org. This organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit created for the sole purpose of helping people legally be able to officiate wedding ceremonies. And it’s completely free! While it sounds a little too good to be true, I can personally attest that it is completely credible. Our very own Kristy Yetman (seen above!), who officiates a large majority of TEC’s elopements and micro-weddings, got her officiant’s license through this site.

Once you complete the application, you will receive confirmation that you are now legally ordained. If you would like a certificate for proof, you may purchase one from the AMM website. In some states, you are required to register with the state as a “minister registration.” Each state and even different counties all have different registration requirements for this. You can find out more about your state’s requirements here: https://theamm.org/minister-registration.

The AMM website also offers training if you want to learn more about how to officiate a ceremony, information about the legal marriage laws of each state, and even some swag for purchase if you want to look more “minister official.” There are tips on how to write a ceremony script, and even tips on things such as including children in the ceremony. If you want more tips on how to write or perform a ceremony, or if you want some more unique ceremony ideas, hit up the ole Google or Pinterest!

Officiating someone’s wedding can be a truly special experience. You get to be the one to walk this couple through one of the most intimate moments of their lives. And beyond being a legal requirement in the US, providing a ceremony done well adds a lot of meaning to the day.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! If so, leave us some comments!

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