How to Become an Ordained Minister Online

3 Easy Steps to Officiating Weddings for Your Friends and Family

Performing Marriage is Easier Than You Think!

Having a friend or family member as the Wedding Officiant is a growing trend in the Wedding Industry. This practice has been going on for decades yet many people are still surprised to learn that this is a viable option.

You are probably here because you have been asked to officiate a wedding and are doing your research. You probably have tons of questions.

Are online ordinations legal for the purpose of performing marriage? How much does it cost? Where do I go to get ordained? What if I am not religious? Do I need to register with the government? And so on...The whole thing can seem quite intimidating and confusing.

Have no fear, American Marriage Ministries is here! Ordaining and training Wedding Ministers is what we do. If you follow our simple steps, you can officiate too!

Below are three easy steps you can follow to go from your already awesome self to an even more awesome bonafide AMM Wedding Officiant!

Step 1Get Ordained Online with American Marriage Ministries

Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries

If you've done some Googling you have probably noticed that there are no shortage of websites where you can get ordained online. This is where we tell you why you should get ordained with AMM and not one of those other perfectly fine but not quite as qualified online churches.

Here are some facts about American Marriage Ministries:

  1. We were formally inorporated as a non-profit in Washington State on July 4th of 2009.
  2. On August 7th of 2015 we were Certified by the IRS as a 501c3 Charitable Non-Profit Church. We are currently the only online church that has been Certified by the IRS as a Non-Profit Charity.
  3. We work closely with government offices across the country and maintain foreign corporations in states where required, such as Nevada, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.
  4. If you plan on officiating a wedding in Las Vegas, your best bet is to do so as an AMM Minister. We maintain a close working relationship with the Clark County Clerk's office. They are familiar with the registration of our ministers and certify them daily.
  5. We have ordained over 658,752 AMM Ministers who have officiated just as many weddings across the country.
  6. We are experts in marriage laws and marriage officiant registration procedures. Our main focus is to understand the esoteric processes required to become a wedding officant and to explain them to you in a clear and concise fashion.
  7. We are not just an online ministry. We pick up the phones, we respond to your voicemails, we answer your emails, we are active on Facebook. Our customer service person as a real human being with a name. Natasha is passionate, dedicated, and good at her job. If you have questions not addressed on our website, she is here to help.
  8. We provide free tools to our ministers to help prepare them for performing marriage, such as a personalized wedding ceremony script that they can use as a starting place to writing their own ceremony.
  9. We welcome people of all sexual orientations, races, economic backgrounds, and spiritual (or non-spiritual) persuasions. We are an inclusive, commonality based church. Just as with weddings, we are about bringing people together, not creating more tribal boundaries.
  10. Our online ordination is free. If Google Maps is free, so should our ordination. There are no membership fees or anything like that. If you do decide to order something from our store, we really appreciate your support. it is not required thouhg every order helps us to keep our services free for those who could not otherwise afford it.

With all that in mind, what are you waiting for? Our ordination takes only a minute. After you get ordained you will be one step closer to performing marriage!


Step 2Observe any Government Registration Requirements

Minister Registration

Once you have completed our online ordination, your next step is to find out if you need to register with a government office in the state where the wedding is taking place. Most states do not keep records of wedding officiants and hence have no registration requirements for ministers. Below are the states that do require ministers registation as wedding officiants:

  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. Oklahoma
  12. Puerto Rico
  13. Vermont
  14. Virginia
  15. West Virginia

These registration procedures are not about determining your qualifications as a minister. They are simply about keeping records of the persons that are officiating weddings in their state. Your right to perform marriage as an AMM Minister is protected by the Religious Non-establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.

If you are not officiating a wedding in any of these localities, then you can skip this step and move on to preparing for the wedding ceremony.

Step 3Write, Refine, and Rehearse the Wedding Ceremony Script

Writing a Wedding Ceremony

Many people get caught up on the minister registration side of things but preparing for the ceremony is where you are going to spend most of your time and energy. If you have never conducted a wedding before this may seem like a daunting task.

We get it. You are not alone. Most of our freshly minted ministers have never officiated a wedding before. We understand this and beyond ordination we provide a wealth of resources to help shape you into a skilled wedding officiant.

The Wedding Ceremony Structure

Have you ever wanted to know what the "I Do" part of the ceremony is called? Or the "I now pronounce you..." part? The following resources teach you what the parts of a wedding ceremony are called and how wedding ceremonies are structured. Understanding the format of a wedding ceremony and what each part is called provides the foundation for you to write your own ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Format

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Once you have learned what each part of the wedding ceremony is called it is helpful to see how they all fit together. Below are links to wedding ceremony scripts of all varieties, from Christian, to Non-Religious, to wedding ceremonies that involve children!

5 Short Non Religious Wedding Ceremony Scripts
3 Wedding Ceremony Scripts Including Children
3 Civil Wedding Ceremony Scripts
10 Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts
5 Christian Wedding Ceremony Scripts
1 Simple Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts
1 Jewish Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Writing and Rehearsing for the Wedding Ceremony

Now it is time to write your own wedding ceremony script. The following links are great resources for guidance on writing the script and rehearsing for the ceremony.

Tips for Writing a Wedding Ceremony Script
Preparing for the Wedding Ceremony

Understanding Your Responsibilities with the Marriage License

Your one remaining legal responsibility is to properly complete your portion of the marriage license. This is as simple as completing a few fields on an application. That being said, it is not every day that you fill out a marriage license. And as the marriage license is the legal document that enshrines the marriage contract, we understand the importance of completing this task carefully and with thoroughness.

The link below is a great reference for completing the various fields on the marriage license you will need to complete as the wedding officiant.

This page also provides comprehensive information on marriage license in all US states, including the marriage license cost, what office issues the marriage license, its waiting period, return deadline, and expiration. This information is more relevant to the couple, but it does not hurt to know.

How to Complete a Marriage License


Officiating a Wedding Ceremony

By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. We would say good luck but you won't need it. Instead we'll say, Have Fun! You were asked to officiate because the couple already knew you would be awesome at it. Officiating their wedding is a great honor, but that doesn't mean it can't be delightful!

We also have published wedding training books if you would prefer to learn this information without having to stare at your computer or phone screen. Some of us here at American Marriage Ministries are old school that way, and reading an actual book is so much easier on the eyes. You millenials will understand in about a decade 😜!

Our AMM Minister's Manual Is a great resource for the minister registration registration information. It also serves as a good primer for the ceremony preparation side of things as well as explaining your duties as an AMM Minister. For a better value, your AMM Minister's Manual is also included in your Minister Ordination Package which also includes your official ministry credentials and government applications in states where you do have to register.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to officiate wedding ceremonies, we recommend Asked to Officiate. This book was originally written by a couple who spent decades officiating wedding ceremonies. We have added our own insight drawing from the experience of our ministers. There is no book like it out there and is currently the definitive book on how to officiate weddings.

Asked to Officiate is also included in your Signature Wedding Officiant Package along with all the other materials described above. More importantly, it also contains our cool AMM Wedding Stole!

If you still have more questions about us or otherwise, we encourage you to check out our About AMM and FAQ. If you still have questions or just want to say hi, don't hesitate to Contact Us!