Published: Monday, May. 2nd, 2022

How to Officiate a Sign & Go Marriage Ceremony


No Wedding? No Problem! 


For some couples, marriage is about love and commitment, not the ceremony.



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AMM Audio Articles · How to Officiate a Sign & Go Marriage Ceremony


Getting married at home, on a midweek coffee run, or over burgers at the local diner won’t sound romantic to everyone…


But for couples in search of a simple way to say “I do,” these offbeat license signings without the ceremony might be the perfect start to married life!


What is a ‘sign-and-go’ marriage ceremony?
During these simple civil signing ceremonies, a couple meets with a wedding officiant to sign their marriage license and make their marriage legal. Also called a ‘marriage license signing ceremony,’ ‘signing-only ceremony,’ and ‘officiant signature services,’ a sign-and-go ceremony must meet certain legal requirements to be valid, but doesn’t include any of the ritual aspects of a traditional wedding ceremony.


If you’ve been asked to officiate a sign-and-go ceremony for the first time but aren’t sure where to start, remember: 

Your role as a wedding officiant is to unite your couple in a legal marriage in any way they choose. You must make sure all the legal requirements are met, but the rest is up to you and your couple. 


So if the couple wants to get married while wearing sweatpants and drinking coffee together on the porch, well then, hell yeah! Give them the best sweatpants-and-coffee signing ceremony ever! 


Below, we cover everything you need to know to perform a sweet – and legal – sign-and-go ceremony. 


couple signing a marriage license with their wedding officiant

Sign your license with your officiant, file it with the county, and you're married! 


How to Perform a Sign & Go Marriage Ceremony


The Basics 


  • Get ordained
  • Meet state requirements
  • Perform a short ceremony
  • Complete the license
  • Return the license


The Details


Getting Started 


Before solemnizing marriage in any kind of ceremony, you must be authorized to marry people in the state where the marriage takes place. 


This means you’ll need to get ordained, which you can do online for free with AMM. You may also need to register with the local government as a wedding officiant, depending on the state's minister registration requirements. 



Officiant Supplies 


Most couples will have a limited amount of time in which to meet with you, so make sure you’re prepared with the necessary supplies. This will keep stress levels low and help you avoid a last-minute search for an ink pen or ceremony template. 


You’ll need the following items to perform a signing ceremony:



Many couples will prefer a minister who can travel to their location – whether that’s a front porch, a favorite cafe, or a courthouse parking lot. If you’re traveling, don’t forget to bring these necessary supplies along with you! 



Young couple making the shape of a heart with their hands


What to Say and Do


There are no specific words that must be said during a marriage ceremony to make it legal. However, a few specific actions are required: The couple must express their intent to enter into a marriage contract together, and an authorized officiant must proclaim them officially married and sign their license. An exchange of rings and traditional wedding vows are not required. 


We call these ceremony requirements The Declaration of Intent and The Pronouncement.


Again, the wording you use is up to you and the couple, but these two actions must take place for a license signing to be a legal marriage ceremony (unless it is self-solemnizing).


Below, we’ve included a sample ceremony script as an example of what to say during a signing ceremony. 


Sample Script 

Sign & Go Marriage License Signing Ceremony Script 


Officiant to Couple


[Partner A] and [Partner B], I’m here today to join the two of you in marriage. You both expressed to me that it’s your marriage – not a wedding or a big ceremony – that’s most important to you. So today, we sign the document that legally seals this union, to honor the love that binds you. 


If you both come freely, to join together in the partnership of marriage, please take each other by the hands and reply 'we do.'


(The couple responds in the affirmative.) 


Do you promise to respect and honor each other, and uphold the shared values that brought you here today? 


(The couple responds in the affirmative.) 


Then by the power vested in me by the State of (State Name) and American Marriage Ministries, I pronounce you married.



Handling the Marriage License


As a wedding officiant, it’s your responsibility to sign the couple’s marriage license after completing their ceremony. Make sure you use black ink, and check the county requirements for who returns the signed marriage license (this might be you or the couple, depending on the county). 


Because every state’s marriage license form will ask for different information, we recommend that you be prepared to write: 


(if you were ordained by AMM this is ‘Minister.’)

(if you are non-religious or prefer not to say, you can write ‘nondenominational’ or ‘American Marriage Ministries’ as your denomination)

(the church that provided your ordination, for example, American Marriage Ministries)

(if asked if the ceremony was religious or civil, you will generally write ‘religious,’ regardless of whether or not the ceremony was secular, because you are performing it as a minister) 

  • Your Minister ID number 

(provided at the time of your ordination and on your clergy ID)


Click on the links above for detailed instructions and advice for each item. 


For a full overview on how to complete and return a marriage license, visit our Officiant Training Pages: 


Completing The Marriage License




And last but not least…

Remember to have fun! Being a wedding officiant is an unforgettable experience and an incredible honor. Enjoy!  



Asked to officiate?  


You only get one shot to deliver a perfect wedding ceremony.



There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’ --  Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony. 








Give yourself the tools and training you deserve to succeed as a wedding officiant, so that you can stand beside the lucky couple with complete confidence on their big day. 







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