Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Is it legal or not?

My dad is an ordain minister and I want him to perform my wedding! But I don't know if it is legal for him to do so.... Any California brides out there know the laws and regulations for an ordain minister?
~Soon to become Mrs. O'Kane!~

Re: Is it legal or not?

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If your dad is licensed to perform weddings in the state of California, he can do the ceremony.
  • It shouldn't be a problem at all. My dad performed my wedding and he's a minister. I've never heard of a minister being licensed by state, but rather by their church denomination, so they are actually able to perform a wedding ceremony in any state. My dad lives in TX, but he's licensed through his church, which is not restricted to TX. My ceremony was in NM. 

    The marriage license didn't even ask for my dad's church or proof of ordination or anything, only his name and title, which he filled in. I don't even know how they would verify this because they don't know where he lives or what church he is affiliated with. It seems that they don't question it too much, since anybody can get ordained these days online.

    Of course, I don't know all the rules, especially in CA, but I can't imagine this would be a problem for you.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_is-it-legal-or-not?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:09fb3119-8f90-4562-a5fc-7dbca8add133Post:4c3b1a6b-d1dc-4c00-bcc5-5f0f8361a271">Re: Is it legal or not?</a>:
    [QUOTE]It shouldn't be a problem at all. My dad performed my wedding and he's a minister. I've never heard of a minister being licensed by state, but rather by their church denomination, so they are actually able to perform a wedding ceremony in any state. My dad lives in TX, but he's licensed through his church, which is not restricted to TX. My ceremony was in NM.  The marriage license didn't even ask for my dad's church or proof of ordination or anything, only his name and title, which he filled in. I don't even know how they would verify this because they don't know where he lives or what church he is affiliated with. It seems that they don't question it too much, since anybody can get ordained these days online. Of course, I don't know all the rules, especially in CA, but I can't imagine this would be a problem for you.
    Posted by 2012FutureMrsB[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>This isn't true in all states.  Virgina, for example, requires ministers to fill out paperwork with the state proving their affiliation with a church, in order to be able to perform legal wedding ceremonies.  "Internet" ministers are not allowed to perform ceremonies -- ministers have to actually have a congregation with a valid Tax ID number.   A minister from another state would have to fill out the paperwork and pay a small licencing fee (like $20) in order to perform weddings in Virginia.</div><div>
    </div><div>OP, check the laws in California to see what is required.  If you google "California Marriage Laws" you should find the official website that lists the rules and regulations for getting married, who can perform ceremonies, etc.  </div>
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  • rlavachrlavach member
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited June 2012
    Wouldn't it be faster if you call your town registrar? They will tell you what you need to know. Laws change often, even within the same town. For instance, in the town I was married in, a church official was only recognized as an ordained minister by the town if their congregation was in that town. If their congregation was anywhere else, they weren't recognized as an ordained minister & couldn't marry you. That was a few years ago & now when I got married, that has changed. So your best bet is to call the registrar and find out straight from them.
  • I'm an attorney in California. California is among the more open states in terms of who can officiate at marriages. Here's the relevant section of the Family Code:

    400.  Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of
    the age of 18 years or older:
       (a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any
    religious denomination.

    In my non-professional experience, "denomination" here means "religious group." Thus, the pastors of my inter-denominational church were authorized.

    Also, very little about California marriage law depends on the county. Just like you can have someone ordained online to officiate at a religious wedding in California, you can have someone deputized by the county to officiate at a secular wedding in California, if that county sets up the procedures. Each county can also adjust the cost of a marriage license, within a certain range. Other than that, it's all state law administered by the counties.

    Most California marriage licenses are good throughout the state, no matter what county issues them.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_is-it-legal-or-not?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:09fb3119-8f90-4562-a5fc-7dbca8add133Post:df0284f4-62f1-4bfb-ad7d-69914d4d4354">Re: Is it legal or not?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm an attorney in California. California is among the more open states in terms of who can officiate at marriages. Here's the relevant section of the Family Code: 400.  Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 years or older:    (a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination. In my non-professional experience, "denomination" here means "religious group." Thus, the pastors of my inter-denominational church were authorized. Also, very little about California marriage law depends on the county. Just like you can have someone ordained online to officiate at a religious wedding in California, you can have someone deputized by the county to officiate at a secular wedding in California, if that county sets up the procedures. Each county can also adjust the cost of a marriage license, within a certain range. Other than that, it's all state law administered by the counties. Most California marriage licenses are good throughout the state, no matter what county issues them.
    Posted by ElisabethJoanne[/QUOTE]

    <div>Good to know! I was also wondering about this myself. </div>
  • California does not license or authorize people to perform weddings (with the exception of the deputy for a day program, where you can register with your county registrar & have marriage powers for a short period). When I looked into this with the Humboldt County registrar I was told that if his religious institution says he has the power to marry, then he does. Pretty loosy goosy to me, but I guess that makes it easy!
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  • Thanks guys! Im pretty sure I'm safe, but I want to be certain... I will call and ask!
    ~Soon to become Mrs. O'Kane!~
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_is-it-legal-or-not?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:09fb3119-8f90-4562-a5fc-7dbca8add133Post:65b10d66-0215-451c-83a2-7ff3cec14857">Is it legal or not?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My dad is an ordain minister and I want him to perform my wedding! But I don't know if it is legal for him to do so.... Any California brides out there know the laws and regulations for an ordain minister?
    Posted by sierraberry32[/QUOTE]

    Your county clerk's website should detail who is allowed to marry you.
    I know in California all the county clerk's websites are set up differently, but the answer is in there somewhere (I checked last week)
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