Published: Tuesday, Apr. 20th, 2021
You’ve just performed a fun and joyful wedding ceremony for two dear friends… such an honor and something you’ll remember forever!
Now it’s time to fill out the marriage license and make things official… except… the license asks for your religious denomination, and, well, you don’t have one.
This is actually no problem at all! Here’s what to do:
In most cases, you’ll write in ‘Non-Denominational,’ unless the marriage was celebrated in accordance with a specific denominational rite. In those cases, you should specify that tradition.
By filling the marriage license out in this way, it reflects the spirit of the couple’s ceremony.
(There are a few other special cases where you may not want to or be able to write in non-denominational. You can find more information on these examples below.)
Write down ‘Non-Denominational.’
Write that specific tradition’s name down instead. For example, ‘Wiccan,’ ‘Baptist,’ etc.
If you’re worried that the county office will refuse to recognize the couple's non-mainstream faith, you might choose to write ‘Non-Denominational’ to ensure the license is filed without issue (see more below).
Not all marriage licenses will ask for the officiant's religious denomination,
but if it does, it might look something like this.
In the case of a specifically atheist wedding or atheist marriage ceremony -- one that focuses and talks about the couple’s atheism during the ceremony itself, rather than simply being non-religious or non-spiritual -- we recommend that you write down ‘Non-Denominational’ or ‘American Marriage Ministries’ (see our answer below).
This will help ensure that the license is filed without issue.
If you’re in one of these counties, we recommend that you write ‘American Marriage Ministries’ as your denomination.
As an ordained minister with American Marriage Ministries, this is an acceptable answer -- and we don’t require you to hold any specific religious or spiritual beliefs to belong to our community.
We also understand that writing ‘non-denominational’ might feel uncomfortable (or even offensive) to some wedding officiants and some couples. For people with an abusive or unaccepting background with a certain faith, even ‘non-denominational’ might feel off-putting, or too closely related to religion. In these cases, write ‘American Marriage Ministries.’ Again, this is a totally acceptable answer!
We cover it all!
P.S. Congratulations on being asked to officiate a wedding! It’s quite an honor, and a whole lot of fun.
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