Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Alabama

A guide to performing marriage.

You have been asked to perform a wedding and you want to learn more about the process. Continue reading to learn the steps that you must take to perform marriage in the State of Alabama as an AMM minister.

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Minister Licensing Summary

No Minister Registration Required Alabama Code 30-1-7

Minimum Minister Age: 18 Years

Minister's Residency: Irrelevant

Same-Sex Marriage Recognized: Yes

How to Perform Marriage

1. Become an Ordained Minister

American Marriage Ministries is a non-profit, interfaith and non-denominational church, with the mission to ensure that all people have the right to perform marriage. We offer ordination to all people, regardless of religious background or spiritual philosophy, that agree with our three tenets:

  1. All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
  2. It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
  3. All people have the right to solemnize marriage.

Applying to become an AMM Minister is not a declaration of exclusive faith, it is an act of allowing our tenets to coexist with personal beliefs. We encourage people of all backgrounds to find community within the simple tenets of our faith.

About Our Ordination

The AMM Ordination is free, requires no special course of study, and takes only a moment. Our goal is to help people on their path to performing marriage for friends and family.

A wedding is a momentus spiritual event, but the legal act of solemnizing marriage involves nothing more than signing a piece of paper. We believe that completion of this legal act does not necessitate the time, expense, and academia of a traditional seminarial degree. The act of solemnizing marriage historically belonged exclusively to the people; it is only recently that marriage has become the domain of the state.

Our ordination is informed by these facts - we exist to protect the right of all people to solemnize marriage. If you have been asked by people close to you to solemnize their marriage, we believe you have the right to.

2. Prepare for Performing Marriage

Preparing to officiate a wedding involves two major steps:

  1. Complying with any applicable government regulations.
  2. Preparing what you will say for the ceremony.

We will discuss both steps in more detail below, but to fully utilize our resources we recommend you register the wedding using the AMM Wedding Helper - a free tool AMM Ministers can use to prepare for performing marriage.

a. Minister Licensing Requirements

In Alabama no laws exist requiring ministers to register with any government office in order to perform marriage though all wedding officiants must be at least 18 years of age. Same-sex marriages are recognized in Alabama.

The only step you need to take to have the legal authority to perform marriage is to become an AMM minister. Our ordination is free and does not expire. You do not need prior ministerial experience and we welcome people of all beliefs and backgrounds.

If you would like to confirm for yourself that you do not need to register with the Alabama State Government, you can contact the in the locality where the marriage is taking place:

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Please select a county to view their specific contact information.

Please be aware that government workers are prohibited from giving anything that may be construed as legal advice. As such they may provide indirect answers if asked pointed questions. Regarding the legality of performing marriage, the most important question to ask is "I am an AMM minister. Will you dutifully record the completed marriage license if I officiate the wedding and the marriage license has been properly completed and returned within the timeframe specified by the State?".

Though not required, we encourage you to order your Alabama Minister Licensing Package. The minister licensing package includes your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing and is good to keep for your own records.

Standard shipping for all orders is 3-10 business days, depending on where in the country your package is being shipped. We also offer expedited shipping methods in case you are on a tighter timeline.

b. Preparing the Ceremony

Many AMM Ministers get ordained to perform their first marriage and are often unsure of the process. Aside from legal concerns, the biggest fear most people have is public speaking. Hakuna Matata! Plan ahead, practice, and you will do a great job.

A typical wedding ceremony is only 10-20 minutes long, and follows a time tested format. Remember that you have been personally chosen by the couple, so when you go to speak the most important two people already have faith in your ability. Weddings are a celebration with friends and family – the best audience anyone could ask for.

If you have never conducted a wedding or are simply looking to refresh your knowledge, visit the Wedding Training section of our site.

Our Wedding Training resources will walk you through a wedding ceremony discussing the structure, providing a sample, and more.

Every wedding is unique, and the couple will want to personalize the format of their ceremony. Since you already know them, you should have no trouble collaborating and choosing your words for the ceremony.

Once the script is set, we highly recommend that you rehearse the ceremony by yourself and in front of friends. Setting aside the time to practice is invaluable. With enough practice, you will be fully prepared to confidently officiate your first wedding.

3. Officiate the Wedding

By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. This part is all up to you. Have fun!

Handling the Marriage License

This is the legal component, filling out a form and signing your name. In the eyes of the state, solemnizing marriage is simply acting as a third party administering a contract (the marriage license) between two people.

On the wedding day, either before or after the ceremony, the couple will present you with their marriage license. Your job is to look over the information, confirm that it is accurate, and complete your portion of the license.

Marriage Licenses can vary dramatically in appearance, but they all ask for a similar set of information. Once the license is in front of you it should be clear. Our Handling the Marriage License page explains all of the forms that may appear on a marriage license.

Once completed, you or the couple return the license to its issuing office (usually by mail). In Alabama the completed marriage license must be returned within 30 days of its issuance. The Marriage License is then recorded and forwarded to a state office, that state office records it, and the marriage becomes a legal binding contract.

About the Marriage License (FOR THE COUPLE)

* The information in this box is not for the minister, but for the couple. Regardless we have included this information here for reference.


The marriage license is the legal document of marriage filed for by the couple from the Probate Court before the wedding day. The marriage license is the document absolutely required for the marriage to be legal in the eyes of the State.


Alabama Marriage License Info:

Issuing Office: Probate Court

Cost: $40-80

Waiting Period: none

Expiration: 30 Days

Return: Before Expiration


Waiting Period: The minimum amount of time the couple must wait to get married from the date that they are granted their marriage license.

Expiration: The amount of time that the marriage license is valid from its issuance date.

Return: The amount of time that the completed marriage license must be returned after the wedding.


That’s all there is to it!

As of April 18th, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 2,452 AMM Ministers in the State of Alabama, who have registered 341 weddings. What's This?

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Alabama Code

Solemnization Of Marriage

30-1-7 Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriages

(a) Generally. Marriages may be solemnized by any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which the minister is a member; by an active or retired judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals, any circuit court, or any district court within this state; by a judge of any federal court; or by an active or retired judge of probate.

(b) Pastor of religious society; clerk of society to maintain register of marriages; register, etc., deemed presumptive evidence of fact. Marriage may also be solemnized by the pastor of any religious society according to the rules ordained or custom established by such society. The clerk or keeper of the minutes of each society shall keep a register and enter therein a particular account of all marriages solemnized by the society, which register, or a sworn copy thereof, is presumptive evidence of the fact.

(c) Quakers, Mennonites, or other religious societies. The people called Mennonites, Quakers, or any other Christian society having similar rules or regulations, may solemnize marriage according to their forms by consent of the parties, published and declared before the congregation assembled for public worship.

Title 30 Marital and Domestic Relations - Chapter 1: Marriage

(Code 1852, §1946-1948; Code 1867, §2335-2337; Code 1876, §2674-2676; Code 1886, §2311-2313; Code 1896, §2841-2843; Code 1907, §4881-4883; Code 1923, §8995-8997; Code 1940, T. 34, §6-8; Acts 1988, No. 88-551, p. 867; Act 2003-303, p. 721, §1; Act 2004-485, p. 903, §1.)

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