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How Much Does it Cost to Get Ordained Online in California to Officiate a Wedding?

Published Wednesday, Jun. 14th, 2023

Este articulo en español

Bride and groom hold hands during an outdoor wedding ceremony on the California coast, in the distance is sand and the ocean shore, with a blue sky above
Photo: Pablo Heimplatz / Unsplash

Want to get ordained in California to officiate a wedding, but aren’t sure how much it costs? 



This will probably be a shorter article than you’re expecting… Because online ordination with American Marriage Ministries is always free in California! 




American Marriage Ministries a non-profit, interfaith and non-denominational church that provides free ordination, advocacy, and training for our ministers to ensure that all people have the right to get married and to perform marriage. 


To date, we’ve ordained over one million ministers who have officiated weddings all across the United States… including almost 150,000 ministers in California.



Are there additional costs to officiate a wedding in California? 


No: California doesn’t require ministers to register with the state before performing a marriage ceremony – this means that once you’ve been ordained, you’re qualified to officiate a wedding anywhere in the state and don’t need to purchase additional documents. 



However, it’s recommended that you order proof of your ordination for your records, to have on hand in case you need to verify your standing as an ordained minister. These credentials can be ordered from the AMM Store: 





Newlyweds stand outdoors in front of green leafy trees with their wedding officiant during their ceremony. The bride places a ring on the groom's hand as the officiant smiles happily and continues reading from the script. The groom is wearing flower wreaths made of roses, the bride is in a white decorative wedding sari, and the officiant is in a beautiful red and white patterned dress with a red and gold headwrap.

Photo: Carsten Vollrath


Are there other free or low-cost options for online ordination in California?


If you’re researching how and where to get ordained online in California, and believe that all people have the right to get married and officiate weddings, AMM might be a great fit for you. But we know it’s important to consider all your options! 


Below, we compare the costs of several internet churches offering online ordination to help you choose the best match for your needs, beliefs, and budget. Some of these options are free, while others charge a fee. 


1. American Marriage Ministries: Free


As mentioned above, AMM offers free online ordination to people of all faiths and backgrounds, and our ordinations are legally recognized in California. AMM is an inclusive federally-recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit interfaith church. We believe that every couple has the constitutionally protected right to enter into the institution of marriage on their own terms, including the right to choose who performs their wedding ceremony.



2. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster : $59


It doesn’t cost anything to be a Pastafarian, but members who wish to become ordained through The Church of the FSM to perform weddings or other ceremonial rites will need to purchase an Official Ordination Pack. At the time of writing, this package costs $59 and can be purchased on the website. 


3. The Universal Life Church (ULC): Free


Originally formed in the early 1960s, ULC follows the doctrine, “Do that which is right.” Several offshoots of this church have formed over the years, including some that aren’t affiliated with the original Modesto church. Ordinations through The Universal Life Church are free, but may not be recognized in all states. 


4. Various online Christian Churches: $100 or less


There are several online Christian ordination services that offer ordinations for free, or for a fee of $100 or less. It’s important to note that these organizations require ministers / pastors to adhere to their specific religious views and practices (or sign a Statement of Faith), and to the views of each individual church, in order to become ordained. A few lower-cost Christian options include Minister Now ($25 at time of writing); Christian Harvest Church ($78 at time of writing); and the National Association of Christian Ministers.


In addition to the few listed here, there are many other organizations providing online ordination for free or for a fee. Research your options carefully to choose the best ordination for your needs, beliefs, and budget. 




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Photo of AMM Minister Dyanna Volek officiating a wedding ceremony in San Francisco, California

When San Francisco City Hall halted civil wedding services during COVID, this Deputy Marriage Commissioner got ordained with AMM to help desperate couples get hitched quickly and safely. Read the full article here. 




Officiate Weddings in California!


Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in California


Conviértete en un Oficiante de Bodas en California


Friends and family members can officiate a wedding in California if they’ve been ordained. Online ordination is free and easy with American Marriage Ministries. 


♡ Get ordained online with AMM here







Free Online Wedding Officiant Training


Visit Wedding Officiant Training for free resources on how to officiate a wedding for the first time. You'll find information on the basic parts of a wedding ceremony, what your legal responsibilities are and how to fill out the marriage license, how to write a custom wedding ceremony script for the happy couple, and advice for the wedding day. 



Visit AMM Wedding Officiant Training 


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