Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Arkansas
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 Arkansas as an AMM minister.
Minister Licensing Summary
Minister Required to Register with County Arkansas Code 9-11-213
Minimum Minister Age: 18 Years
Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
Same-Sex Marriage Recognized: No
Minister Licensing OfficeCounty Clerk
All minister must register with the local County Clerk. Registration requirements may vary by office.
Please select a county to view their specific contact information.
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:
- All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
- It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
- 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:
- Complying with any applicable government regulations.
- 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
All ministers in Arkansas are required to register with the County Clerk's office prior to performing marriage. The minister can register with any County Clerk's office, it does not need to be in the county where the marriage is taking place. You do not need to be an Arkansas resident though you must be at least 18 years of age to qualify to perform marriage. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in Arkansas.
The application procedure varies by county however all County Clerk's offices require a signed document from the minister's church to be submitted with their application. The most commonly requested documents are:
- Ordination Certificate
- Letter of Good Standing
We recommend that you order your Arkansas Minister Licensing Package. It contains everything you need to register with any County Clerk's office in Arkansas. Included in your package is your Letter of Good Standing (Signed and Notarized), Ordination Certificate, and instructional materials on how to conduct a wedding. We will also provide any additional paperwork if requested by the County Clerk.
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.
Once you have all your paperwork in order you need to mail your application to the appropriate County Clerk's office:
Please select a county to view their specific contact information.
Once you have received your paperwork from us, simply mail it to the County Clerk's office. Based on past experience, the registration process should only take a few days and once registered you can perform marriage!
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 Arkansas the completed marriage license must be returned within 60 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 County Clerk before the wedding day. The marriage license is the document absolutely required for the marriage to be legal in the eyes of the State.
Arkansas Marriage License Info:
Issuing Office: County Clerk
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 60 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 May 25th, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 1,625 AMM Ministers in the State of Arkansas, who have registered 205 weddings. What's This?Top
9-11-213 Persons who may solemnize marriages
(a) For the purpose of being registered and perpetuating the evidence thereof, marriage shall be solemnized only by the following persons:
(1) The Governor;
(2) Any former justice of the Supreme Court;
(3) Any judges of the courts of record within this state, including any former judge of a court of record who served at least four (4) years or more;
(4) Any justice of the peace, including any former justice of the peace who served at least two (2) terms since the passage of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 55;
(5) Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination;
(6) The mayor of any city or town;
(7) Any official appointed for that purpose by the quorum court of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized; or
(8) Any elected district court judge and any former municipal or district court judge who served at least four (4) years.
(b) (1) Marriages solemnized through the traditional rite of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, are recognized as valid to all intents and purposes the same as marriages otherwise contracted and solemnized in accordance with law.
(2) The functions, duties, and liabilities of a party solemnizing marriage, as set forth in the marriage laws of this state, in the case of marriages solemnized through the traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends shall be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation or, in his or her absence, his or her duly designated alternate.
Title 9: Family Law - Subtitle 2: Domestic Relations - Chapter 11: Marriage - Subchapter 2: License and Ceremony
Rev. Stat., ch. 94, Â§ 10; Acts 1873, No. 2, Â§ 1, p. 2; C. & M. Dig., Â§ 7046; Pope's Dig., Â§ 9026; Acts 1947, No. 231, Â§ 1; 1977, No. 95, Â§ 2; 1979, No. 693, Â§ 1; 1983, No. 850, Â§ 1; A.S.A. 1947, Â§ 55-216; Acts 1987, No. 394, Â§ 1; 1997, No. 862, Â§ 1; 2001, No. 1068, Â§ 1; 2003, No. 1185, Â§ 16; 2007, No. 98, Â§ 1.