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New York’s One-Day Officiant License vs Online Ordination: Which is the best choice for Wedding Officiants?

Published Thursday, Jun. 8th, 2023


Photo: Ayaka Kato / Pexels

Which is a better option for wedding officiants in New York: 


A one-day marriage officiant license, or free online ordination with American Marriage Ministries? 

 

 

Listen Now: 

AMM Audio Articles · New York’s One-Day Officiant License vs Online Ordination: Best choice for Wedding Officiants?

 

 

 

New York State is offering a new one-day marriage officiant license – but is it a better option than online ordination for people who want to officiate weddings there? Let’s take a look! 

 

One-time licensure and online ordination both offer unique benefits, so it’s important to consider your specific circumstances, budget, and long-term goals when deciding between the two. 

 

In general, online ordination is probably a better choice for people who want to: Officiate more than one wedding in New York; serve as a professional officiant; officiate marriages in other states; and who feel called to celebrate the joys of marriage in their community as a minister. 

 

On the other hand, a one-day license might be a better choice for people who only want to officiate a single wedding in New York, and to whom ordination doesn’t appeal.  

 

Below, we compare the legal standing, cost, waiting period, requirements to apply, and broader meaning of each of these two options to help you make the best choice for your individual needs. 
  


One-Day Officiant License vs Online Ordination in New York

 

A side-by-side comparison

 

 

Legal Standing:

 

One-Day License: Legally recognized in NY 
AMM Ordination: Legally recognized in NY 

 

New York’s one-day marriage officiant license first became available in March of 2023, and is issued to would-be officiants by the Clerk’s Office in the town or city where the wedding will take place. The one-day license allows any adult to legally perform a single wedding on a specified date.

 

AMM Ministers are legally authorized to perform weddings anywhere in New York, at any time, provided they follow local guidelines. There are currently more than 50,000 AMM Ministers authorized to solemnize marriage in the state. 

 

 

Cost:   

 

One-Day License: $25 per wedding (plus processing fees)
Online Ordination: Free

 

The one-day officiant license permits you to perform a single marriage on a specific date, which means you must purchase a new license for every wedding you want to solemnize in the state. The price for each single-use license is currently set at $25 (as of March 3, 2023).  

 

Ordination with American Marriage Ministries is free and does not expire. In most parts of New York State, your ordination is all that’s required to legally officiate a wedding, meaning there are no other costs. 

 

*Ministers in New York City can expect additional costs: In NYC, ministers are required to file proof of their ordination with the City for a small fee. You’ll need to purchase copies of your ministry credentials and pay a local filing fee, at a total cost of about $50–$65 at the time of writing. Once you’ve registered, however, you can solemnize as many marriages as you want to, making this a better option for officiants who want to perform multiple weddings.

 


 

Wait Time:

 

One-Day License: Up to 23 days
Online Ordination: A few minutes 

 

Applicants for a one-day officiant license must apply at least 30 days before the ceremony date, and might wait up to 23 days to find out if their application has been approved or not. Although state guidelines require all applicants to be notified at least 7 days before the wedding day, some would-be officiants will have to wait longer than others to find out if they’ve been approved.

 

AMM’s Ordination Application only takes a couple minutes to complete, can be done at any time, and most applicants will receive an email confirmation of their ordination within minutes of applying. In most parts of New York State, your ordination is all that’s required to officiate – once you receive your email confirmation, you’re all set!  

 

*Ministers in New York City can expect additional wait time. In NYC, ministers are required to register proof of their ordination, a process which can take several days to several weeks to complete. Ministers in NYC should order their credentials as soon as possible and complete the minister registration process with the NYC Clerk's Office Marriage Bureau: Marriage Officiant Registration. 

 


Requirements to Apply: 

 

One-Day License: See Below
Online Ordination: See Below

 

To apply for a one-day license, applicants must be at least 18 years old, and submit an application with the Town or City Clerk in the town or city where the wedding will take place. Applicants must provide the following information: Exact date and location of the wedding ceremony; the full names, addresses, and birth dates of the people getting married; and their own personal details (date of birth, address, email address, etc.). 

 

To become an ordained minister with AMM, applicants must be at least 18 years old, complete an online application, and agree to these three guiding tenets:

 

  • All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
  • It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
  • All people have the right to solemnize marriage.

 

*Ministers in New York City will need to register proof of their ordination with the City following ordination. Learn more about the minister registration process here.


 

Secular versus spiritual : 

 

One-day License: Secular (Non-religious)
Online Ordination: Spiritual (Unique to Each Individual)

 

Much of the appeal of the one-day marriage officiant designation is that it offers a secular option for lay people who don’t want to become ordained within a specific church or denomination. This is a valid and understandable reason to choose a one-day license. 

 

Ordination is a meaningful decision, and we encourage anyone considering ordination to officiate weddings to research their options carefully.  

 

American Marriage Ministries is a non-denominational interfaith church that ordains people of all faiths and beliefs, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Pagans, Muslims, Agnostics, and many others. We’re a charitable organization and proud advocates for LGBTQIA+ and interracial couples, marriage equality, healthy communities, and environmental stewardship. 

 

 

AMM Ministers aren’t required to hold any specific religious or spiritual beliefs. As mentioned above, we just ask that you agree to uphold the 3 Tenets that guide our organization: 

 

  • All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
  • It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
  • All people have the right to solemnize marriage.

 

 


 

Read Next: 

 


 

Photo of an officiant gesturing and smiling as he reads from the wedding ceremony script during an outdoor wedding, behind him are green leaves

Asked to officiate a wedding? Follow these simple instructions to get ordained and prepare for the ceremony. Read the full article here.

 


 

 

AMM Minister Ordination Package

 

Product photo showing the AMM Minister Ordination Package, which includes a letter of good standing, ordination certificate, minister manual, and other documentation and materials fanned out on a white background

 

ORDER YOURS HERE

 

Don’t get caught without your required credentials when it’s time to officiate a wedding. Local governments often ask for proof of ordination and a letter of good standing to ensure that you're an ordained minister – these documents are recognized in all 50 states! Simplify the process with pre-filled registration forms and step-by-step instructions on completing your government registration, all included in this package (and customized to state and county requirements).

 

In addition to full credentials, this package includes our bestselling AMM Minister's Manual, with detailed instructions on how to perform marriage ceremonies, and other helpful tips on officiating memorable, meaningful and timeless weddings.

 

This package includes:

 

• 1 copy of our updated AMM Minister’s Manual 
• 1 Ordination Certificate
• 1 Letter of Good Standing
• 1 Certificate Holder
• Your "Getting Started" information kit
• Minister Licensing Instructions (where applicable)
• Minister Licensing Application Materials (where applicable)

 

 

ORDER YOURS HERE

 

AMM logo, two gold interlocking rings with three blue stars above

 

 


 


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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