Wedding Etiquette Forum

Using a friend for an officiant

My fiance and I decided we wanted a good, mutual friend of ours to act as the officiant for our ceremony.  He knew both of us individually before we became a couple, was the one to introduce us, and has remained an important person in our lives.  The only problem is we want to make sure that the ceremony is 100% legit, so we need to find a trustworthy way to get him licensed to preform a marriage ceremony.  Any recommendations?

Re: Using a friend for an officiant

  • First, you need to check with your county/city/state to find out if online ordinations are accepted.
  • First, you need to check with your county/city/state to find out if online ordinations are accepted.
    This. Our good friend officiated our ceremony and I believe he went through the Universal Life Church to get ordained online. Completely legit in MD. But definitely check with your state/county/city requirements.

  • First, you need to check with your county/city/state to find out if online ordinations are accepted.
    This. You have to be really careful about it. Some areas are more particular about where someone was ordained. I have heard that in NJ, they are passing legislation that would require non-religious officiants ordained online would have to register with the state, pay a fee, and take a required course in order to be recognized but anyone ordained by the Universal Life Church wouldn't fall into the category since they'd be an ordained minister of a church (religious organization). 

    Also, make sure that you find out from whoever you'll submit your marriage license to after the ceremony about what paperwork your officiant may have to send in to prove they are legally allowed to perform your ceremony.
    ~*~*~*~*~

  • Universal Life Church. Our friend is ordained through them and is performing our ceremony. 
  • Yup google the requirements in your state. Here in MA I have to send an application, a letter, and a fee to the governor's office. Then they mail back the certificate granting my friend the authority only for that one day listed on the application.

                                                                     

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  • jenna8984 said:
    Yup google the requirements in your state. Here in MA I have to send an application, a letter, and a fee to the governor's office. Then they mail back the certificate granting my friend the authority only for that one day listed on the application.
    Also in MA. It was pretty simple.
    image


    Anniversary
  • Yep.  What they said.  I'm a minister through the Universal Life Church and performed my sister's wedding in the US Virgin Islands last year.  Bride and Groom sent a copy of my certificate to the courthouse in St Croix just to be sure it'd be valid, then had it with them again when they went to get their marriage license a few days before the wedding.  We all signed papers after the wedding and they took all the paperwork back to the courthouse to make it all official.

    See if a website like this one http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/ can help you decide what else you need to know.
  • My BIL was able to officiate both his sons weddings. He lives in MA and submitted required info (application, fee, letter of reference) to the state in order to receive certificate giving permission to perform the ceremony. 
  • My uncle married my H and I. He was ordained through the Universal Life Church. However, I know regulations vary from state to state....luckily he is a lawyer and knew who to call to find out legality. I would for sure give yourself plenty of time to do your research!
  • jenna8984 said:
    Yup google the requirements in your state. Here in MA I have to send an application, a letter, and a fee to the governor's office. Then they mail back the certificate granting my friend the authority only for that one day listed on the application.
    Same in NH.
    --

    I'm the fuck
    out.

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  • My friend was ordained through American Marriage Ministries....and is also a Public Notary in Florida. 
    For instance, we got married in North Carolina, however, Universal Life Church Ministers are NOT eligible to marry people and not legal. (yes, I even contacted the State and spoke to a woman in the legal department)...
    So definitely call and email and call again the state that you are getting married in.  The "minister" will sign off on the license as will you, the groom and your MOH and Best Man.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • My friend was ordained through American Marriage Ministries....and is also a Public Notary in Florida. 
    For instance, we got married in North Carolina, however, Universal Life Church Ministers are NOT eligible to marry people and not legal. (yes, I even contacted the State and spoke to a woman in the legal department)...
    So definitely call and email and call again the state that you are getting married in.  The "minister" will sign off on the license as will you, the groom and your MOH and Best Man.

    This is not true in all states.  Only our officiant had to sign our license.  No witness had to sign it.

  • lilacck28lilacck28 member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2014
    I briefly considered this, but laws about this are very strict in CT. Make sure you do a lot of research. I read in one source that a friend could marry you but only if an ordained clergyman (not ordained through the internet. as in, being a priest or minister or rabbi is their profession) or jop/ judge was present to sign the paperwork. In other places I read that it must be a judge, jop, or clergyman (not ordained through online programs), no exception. It wasn't very important to me, it just seemed like it might be less expensive than paying $900 for a rabbi. But then it seemed very complicated so we stopped considering it. 
  • We did this as well. It was through Universal Life Church. He married us 9 years ago and next year he will officiate our vow renewal ceremony. It felt so special to have someone we both knew and loved share in the special moment.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • You didn't mention where you're located. Just in case you're in Canada, you can't have a friend as an officiant, unless your friend is also a minister or has the legal authority to perform marriages. All marriages have to be performed by either a recognized religious official, judge, JoP or authorized municipal official.

    Anniversary
  • My friend was ordained through American Marriage Ministries....and is also a Public Notary in Florida. 
    For instance, we got married in North Carolina, however, Universal Life Church Ministers are NOT eligible to marry people and not legal. (yes, I even contacted the State and spoke to a woman in the legal department)...
    So definitely call and email and call again the state that you are getting married in.  The "minister" will sign off on the license as will you, the groom and your MOH and Best Man.

    I, as well as J's cousin who married us, am ordained through American Marriage Ministries. Perfectly acceptable for Michigan :)
    ~*~June 21, 2014~*~


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