These days, more and more people are choosing to know how to become ordained to perform weddings because they want to be able to officiate for their friends and family. While many couples still prefer to do their marriages in the “traditional way” and have their weddings officiated by a church official, there are also those who would prefer that the minister be someone important to them. If you’re looking to become ordained to perform weddings so that you can have a unique and unforgettable role for the people you love, here is a guide on how to become ordained to perform weddings.
Is Being Ordained Online the Same as Being Officially Ordained in a Congregation?
The first thing that you need to know on how to become ordained to perform weddings is that if you want to become a legitimate minister, being ordained online is not the same thing. All states and countries will recognize a marriage that was performed by a legitimate minister, but there are places that will not recognize a marriage if it was performed by someone who was ordained online. If you want to be a legitimate minister, you will need to go through the traditional route of obtaining a degree in theology or by attending a seminary. However, if you simply want to act as a wedding officiant for a wedding and the couple being wed is fine with it, then being ordained online is a great option.
Why are People Choosing Their Own Officiant?
For couples who are looking for a more casual wedding ceremony, or for those who have a special person that they want to give a larger role in the wedding to, the role of a wedding officiant is both special and unique. The biggest benefit, of course, is that the people will be able to share such a momentous and joyous occasion together. What’s more, having a close friend or a loved one that knows how to become ordained to perform weddings means that the ceremony is much more personal and intimate, and the officiant can add their personal spin on the ceremony.
There is even a practical side to inviting a friend or loved one to be an officiant: couples are able to incorporate this person into their wedding if they are not in the wedding party, and if the couple is on a budget, they can save on the cost of getting a traditional minister.
How to Become Ordained Online
Getting ordained to marry someone is a quick and easy process online. It is as simple as six steps!
- Connect to the Internet with your smartphone or laptop.
- Find a non-denominational ministry website. Some examples include The Universal Life Church Ministries, American Marriage Ministries, or Open Ministry.
- Look for the “Get Ordained” option and click on it.
- Fill out the form.
- Pay the fee or donate, if the ordaining process is free.
- Check for the confirmation email.
After those six steps, you are now officially ordained to perform a wedding ceremony! However, you won’t be able to actually officiate a wedding without the official licensing documents. In some cases, it can take up to two weeks for the documents to reach you, so make sure that you set aside enough time for that. So, all of those “instant ordained minister” tropes that you see in movies and television shows aren’t exactly true!
Check Your State’s Requirements
As mentioned above, not all states will recognize officiants that were ordained online. If you want other ways on how to become ordained to perform weddings, you can visit your local county clerk to verify whether an online appointment is legal and recognized in your area. In Tennessee, for example, online officiants are not allowed to officiate a marriage ceremony, while in Wisconsin, you can even officiate your own ceremony!
If you find that your area does not allow for online ministers to officiate weddings, your loved ones or friends can contact the ministry for guidance, or if worse comes to worst, have your wedding in a state that allows officiants that were ordained online.
Does Religion Play a Factor?
While some online organizations only cater to specific religions, most are either interfaith or nondenominational. In fact, the American Fellowship Church has been ordaining people of any religion since 1975. Thus, if the wedding will not be strictly traditional, the officiant can be of a different religion from the couple to be wed.
What are Some Credible Organizations that Can Ordain Me Online?
Even when it comes to becoming ordained online, you need to be careful when choosing which ministry will ordain you. There are fake or scam ministries that will take your money and send you official-looking documents but are not actually registered ministries! If you don’t do your homework and sign up with a scam ministry, your ordainment will not be official.
Some of the most popular and long-standing online ministries are Universal Life Church, Open Ministry, Universal Ministries, and American Fellowship Church. If you are in doubt, you can check with your Secretary of State’s office to see whether a particular online ministry is registered with them. If you are in California, for example, the American Fellowship Church is legally registered with the Secretary of State’s office. Find out more about wedding guides.
If you want to give your loved ones or friends a special gift for their wedding, knowing how to become ordained to perform weddings is a great choice. Of course, you need to ask your friends first whether they would want you to officiate their wedding; they might want to go the more traditional route, after all! After you have officiated their wedding, you must complete their marriage license and mail it to the county clerk’s office to make the marriage valid and official.