First-Time Officiant FAQs

Tags: preparation, local-wedding-requirements, online-ordination, first-time-officiants, ceremony-planning

Published: Monday, Jun. 22nd, 2020

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Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!

Firsttime

Summer - and the height of wedding season - always leads to an influx of questions from first-time officiants. While we have answered these questions on our website and in various articles, we thought it would be helpful for our newly-ordained ministers to have some of our most popular questions answered in detail in one place as a starting point.

 

Okay, I'm ordained! What’s next?

Once you’re ordained, you’ll want to:

1) Determine whether or not you have to register with a government office.

2) Visit our Wedding Officiant Training, read more helpful articles and tips here on our American Weddings blog, and/or order additional resources in the AMM Store.

3) Start working with the couple to craft their ceremony.

4) Practice, practice, practice before the big day!

 


How do I know which states require me to register before I perform marriage?

For quick reference, the following states, cities, territories, and districts will require you to register with their local government after you get ordained with us. Note that when you purchase your materials and credentials for registration in these states, we include step-by-step instructions to make the process as simple as possible.

 

● Arkansas

District of Columbia

● Hawaii

● Louisiana (by Parish)

● Massachusetts

● Minnesota (by local County Registrar)

● New York City 

● Nevada (by County)

● New Hampshire (Non-Residents Only)

● Ohio

● Oklahoma

● Puerto Rico

● Vermont (Non-Residents Only)

● Virginia*

● West Virginia

* Due to longstanding unlawful discrimination, Virginia is the only state in which non-traditional officiants have difficulty registering in – in which case we encourage you to reach out to us for more information and assistance: [email protected]

 


I was asked to officiate, but I don’t know much about wedding ceremonies. Where do I start?

This is exactly why we offer an easy-to-follow, detailed introduction to everything ceremony related in our Wedding Officiant Training section – from explaining all the parts of a wedding ceremony, to writing your own ceremony script, to filling out the marriage license after the ceremony.

You can also review sample vows and find inspiration from others who have already performed marriage and shared their photos and experiences on the AMM Wedding Wall!

Remember, you were asked to officiate for a reason – and even the most successful, seasoned wedding officiants had to start somewhere.

 

 

What do I wear as an officiant?

Each occasion and season calls for something a little different. Plan on discussing your attire with the couple so there are no surprises or complaints. Even if the couple says, “dress any way you want,” you need to think about your attire in the context of the role you are playing as the wedding ceremony officiant – not just a wedding guest. 

We discuss the topic of officiant attire at length in this article, but here are some general guidelines to keep your officiant attire stylish, comfortable and on point in every setting:

● Dress in neutral colors. Solid black is fine, but you can always opt for grey, navy, or khaki-colored ensembles with minimal prints or colors. They will create a clean, refined look that won’t distract from the couple.

● Some nice slacks, dress shirt, tie and jacket, or dress pants with a trendy blouse and/or a blazer will typically fit the bill. Solid-colored dresses work well, too!

● Check the forecast, and consider the ceremony setting. (Is it indoor, or outdoor? Will you be standing on a hard floor, or on a soggy lawn?)

● Bringing a set of back-up clothing (especially footwear) is never a bad idea!

 


 

Ready for more first-time officiant tips? Check out our Wedding Officiant Do's & Don't's!

GET ORDAINED
WITH AMM

Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!