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How to Get Certified to Marry Someone: Ordination, Certification, and Minister Licensing Explained

Published Wednesday, Feb. 12th, 2020

Este articulo en español

Close up photo shows a young minister filling out paperwork to register as a wedding minister and prepare to officiate a wedding ceremony.

Everything you need to know about getting certified to marry someone



Listen now: 

AMM Audio Articles · How - To - Get - Certified - As - A-wedding - Officiant




The first step to officiate a wedding, even before you start talking about the ceremony, is to make sure you're legally allowed to solemnize weddings in your state. 


Everyone has the legal right to perform marriage, but just as with other important life events, the government's found a way to involve itself in the process...


To perform a legal wedding as a wedding minister, you need to ensure that you meet your state’s requirements. 



En español : Cómo Obtener una Certificación para Casar a Alguien: Licencia Ministerial, Certificación y Ordenación explicados



First, you have to get ordained. 


You can get ordained online with AMM. Just fill out the application and submit it online. It's simple and free.


(We’ll wait for a second while you fill out and submit the form)





Second, understand state-specific certification rules.


Once your ordination is taken care of and out of the way, the next step is learning whether or not your state requires minister certification and what it entails. 


The certification process may seem confusing at first, because different states and municipalities use the terms “certification” and “licensing” interchangeably. But don't worry -- It helps to know these words mean the same thing.


Many states do not require ministers to register before performing marriage, but many do -- and the laws regarding how a minister registers vary from state to state. 


The most important thing to remember is that certification, or licensing, requirements will depends on where the wedding is taking place, not where you live.






Currently, there are 15 states require ministers to register before performing a ceremony, listed below. 



The laws regarding minister registration vary from state to state. And while many states do not require ministers to register before performing marriage, many do. This depends on where the wedding is taking place, not where you live.

States where Wedding Officiant Registration is Required*


*However, always check with your local county clerk before performing a ceremony, as many county-level offices have their own policies.



  1. Arkansas
  2. District of Columbia 
  3. Hawaii
  4. Louisiana
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Minnesota
  7. Nevada
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New York
  10. Ohio
  11. Puerto Rico
  12. Vermont
  13. Virginia
  14. West Virginia


Again, the most important thing to remember is that Certification, or licensing requirements will depends on where the wedding is taking place, not where you live.


Visit Minister Registration : Weddings By State for details on how to get certified by your state or local county government. 




And third, order your minister credentials and documentation.


If you're going to officiate a wedding in any of the states mentioned above, you should order your Minister Ordination Package for that state.


This package contains everything you need to successfully register, including Government Applications, your Ordination Certificate, and a Letter of Good Standing.






If your state is not listed above, it’s still a good idea to make sure you have your ordination credentials on hand, since you are performing a legal function, and proof may be required at a later date. If you'd like to work as a traveling wedding officiant and perform marriages in other states, check their certification rules ahead of time, and read the two articles linked below. 




Watch now: 








Can I Officiate Weddings in Other States?


A wedding officiant holds the microphone up to the bride as the groom laughs during an outdoor beach wedding



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Updated April 2022




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. 









Signature Wedding Officiant Package



AMM’s Signature Wedding Officiant Package gives you the most robust ordination available, combined with a full suite of training and officiating tools, including full accreditation and proof of your ordination, and step-by-step guidance through the process of ceremony creation and how to perform a wedding ceremony. 








Lewis King
Lewis King

Staff Writer

Lewis loves exploring the space between power, discourse, and material reality where institutions like marriage are defined. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling and restocking the sparkling water.

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