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Virginia

officiant question

Hey girls,  I wanted a family friend to marry us and read online today that in Virginia a wedding isn't considered legal if it is done by an online ordained minister.  I'm not from Virginia so I don't know the rules behind this so I was hoping someone could let me know!

Re: officiant question

  • I found this on 

    but it applies to all of Virginia:  

    Who May Perform a Marriage Ceremony?

    The clergy, minister or other person performing the marriage must be authorized by a Circuit Court of this Commonwealth to celebrate the rites of matrimony.

    The clergy, minister or other person officiating at the marriage ceremony must complete and sign both forms of marriage license and forward both forms to the Clerk of the Court who issued the license within 5 days after the ceremony is performed.

    A commemorative certificate of marriage may be prepared by the officiant and given to the newly wedded couple upon request.

    Qualifications of Minister to Perform Marriages in Virginia

    1. Clergy must have an active congregation.
    2. Congregation must be recognized as tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the United States Code.
    3. Celebrant must appear in person between the hours of 8 A.M. and 3:30 P.M., Monday through Friday, with the following:
      • Proof of #1 and #2 above.
      • Certificate of Ordination and identification.
      • Payment of $29.00 by cash or credit card (Mastercard and Visa only; a service charge of four (4) percent of the amount paid will be collected on credit card payments).
    4. When #3 above has been completed the celebrant can perform a marriage ceremony anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The certification is valid for life.


    So basically, no, you cannot get ordained on the internet and legally marry people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  You have to have (and be able to prove that you have) an active congregation with tax exempt status, and present these to a circuit court in order to be certified to perform wedding ceremonies.

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  • I got this off the Virginia State Bar web site after doing a google search "After you have obtained a valid marriage license, your marriage ceremony must be performed within 60 days of the date your license is issued. A qualified minister, any judge, or a person appointed by the court can perform the ceremony. "

    There is a possiblity he might be legal to perform the ceremony in the state of Virginia and not be an ordained minister. The Reverand that is marrying my fiance and is a licensed nondemonational minister in the state of Virginia and she doesnt have a church or congregation but she is legal to perform ceremonies in the state, so I dont know. She is licensed and appointed by the courts and like it says above, the certification is valid for life.

    I also have a friend of mine that was a Chaplain in the military, and kept up with his ordained license when he got out and can still perform ceremonies, and he doesnt have a congregation. So the wording is really confusing to me, I would just make sure to have him double check his license with the local courts where you are getting married to make sure it is valid and that your marriage will be fully legal.

    You can do a search on the internet for the court system and call the civil court division and ask them or have him call and check to verify he is legal because he got his cerfitication over the internet...I would rather be safe than not have your marriage legal. It isnt to doubt him in any way shape or form, its to protect your future husband and you. It would suck for you to go through all of this and than not have it be legal, with Virginia being a commonwealth state, its tricky and can trick you back..trust me Ive been here all my life.
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