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How Old Do You Have To Be To Officiate A Wedding?

Published Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 2023

Este articulo en español

A groom and bride walk away from the camera, side by side with their arms around each other in a colorful room, with friends and family standing to either side.

Is there an age requirement to officiate a wedding for friends, or to work as a professional wedding officiant?



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AMM Audio Articles · How Old Do You Have To Be To Officiate A Wedding?



One of the simplest ways to make your wedding ceremony special and uniquely ‘you’ is to ask a close friend or family member to officiate. Your chosen officiant might be a college roommate, a beloved grandparent, the coworker who introduced you, or a favorite cousin or nephew.


There are so many benefits to getting married by someone you already know and trust: They understand your sense of humor, your personal values, and all the meaningful adventures and challenges you and your partner have faced together. 


Of course, it’s important to make sure your chosen officiant has the right qualifications – including being old enough to officiate!

So, how old do you have to be to officiate a wedding? 


Answer: You must be at least 18 years old to become an authorized wedding officiant in most states, and 21 years old in Minnesota.


Here’s why! 


In most states, wedding officiants must be at least 18 years old in order to sign an official marriage license, which is a government-issued document that makes the marriage a legally binding contract. An exception to this is in Minnesota, where an officiant must be at least 21 years old to perform marriage.



The marriage license is applied for by the couple before the ceremony, signed by the officiant and any required witnesses following the ceremony, and then filed with the local clerk’s office to record the marriage. 


In addition, many churches only ordain members who are at least 18 years old. This is important because online ordination is the most common pathway to becoming an authorized wedding officiant.


At American Marriage Ministries (AMM), online ordination is free and easy, and available to anyone 18 years old or older. 




Children as Co-officiants


If you’d like to have a child participate in your wedding ceremony, consider making them an honorary ‘co-officiant.’ 


In this role, they’ll stand up front with your officiant and participate in special readings, the exchange of wedding rings, or help guide you through a unity ceremony. After the ceremony, the authorized officiant will sign your license. 


Having a child ‘co-officiate’ is a great choice for blended families who want to ensure their children are included in a meaningful way during the wedding ceremony, and for any couples who play an central role in a younger relative’s life. 


Related: Co-Officiating a Wedding Ceremony: The More the Marrier? 




Read Next: 


How to Officiate a Wedding For the First Time


Learn how to officiate a wedding for the first time, including how to get ordained online, the requirements to become a wedding officiant, how to sign a marriage license, and more! 


Read the full article here. 



A young minister reads from the wedding script while laughing and gesturing at an outdoor wedding





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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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