Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Maryland

No Minister Registration Required Maryland Code 2-406

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 fellowship, allowing our tenets to coexist with personal beliefs. We believe that people of all backgrounds can 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.

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

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 below, but to fully utilize our resources we recommend that you register the wedding that you will perform with the AMM Wedding Helper - a free tool for AMM Ministers.

a. Minister Licensing Requirements

In Maryland, 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 Maryland.

The only step you need to take to have authority to perform marriage is to become an AMM Minister. You do not need prior ministerial experience.

If you would like to confirm for yourself that you do not need to register with the Maryland State government, you can contact the local County Clerk office's where the couple will apply for their marriage license:

Please select a county to view their specific contact information.

Please be aware that non-attorney government workers are prohibited from giving legal advice. If you ask about legal issues, you will likely receive indirect answers. Regarding your rights as an AMM Minister, the most important question to ask is "I am a minister. If I officiate a wedding and the marriage license is been properly completed and returned within the timeframe specified by the State, will you dutifully record the license?".

Though not required, we encourage you to order a Minister Licensing Package. The Minister Licensing Package includes documentation of your ordination, materials to aid you in performing marriage, and an AMM Minister's manual. AMM is supported solely through the sale of books and packages.

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. Plan ahead, practice, and you will do a great job!

A typical wedding ceremony is only 10 - 20 minutes and follows a time tested format. When you speak, remember that you were personally chosen by the couple, and that 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 want to refresh your knowledge, visit the Wedding Training section.

Our resources are here to walk you through a wedding ceremony, discussing structure, providing samples, 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. 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. Perform the ceremony and have fun!

Handling the Marriage License

After the ceremony it is time for official recordkeeping. The couple will present their marriage license for you and the witnesses. The minister's job is to look over the license, confirm that the information is accurate, and complete the officiant's section.

In the eyes of the state, solemnizing marriage is the act of administering a contract (the marriage license) between two people.

Marriage licenses vary dramatically in appearance, but all ask for a similar set of information. Our How to Complete a Marriage License page explains all of the details that may be required on a marriage license.

Once completed, you or the couple must return the license to its office of issuance (usually by mail). In Maryland, completed marriage licenses must be returned within 180 days of its issuance. The license is then recorded by the state and the marriage becomes a legal binding contract.

About the Marriage License (FOR THE COUPLE)

* This information is not for the minister but for the couple, and is included for reference.

Couples getting married in Maryland must file for a marriage license with the County Clerk's office before their wedding day. The state will not recognize a marriage without a marriage license.

Maryland Marriage License Info:

Issuing Office: County Clerk

Statewide License Cost: $30 - 85

Waiting Period: 2 days to receive

Expiration: 6 Months

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 February 23rd, 2018, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 3,888 AMM Ministers in the State of Maryland, who have registered 1,461 weddings. What's This?


Maryland Code

Solemnization Of Marriage

2-406 Performance of ceremony

(a) Authorized officials.-

(1) In this subsection, "judge" means:

(i) a judge of the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;

(ii) a judge approved under Article IV, § 3A of the Maryland Constitution and § 1-302 of the Courts Article for recall and assignment to the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;

(iii) a judge of a United States District Court, a United States Court of Appeals, or the United States Tax Court; or

(iv) a judge of a state court if the judge is active or retired but eligible for recall.

(2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:

(i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony;

(ii) any clerk;

(iii) any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county; or

(iv) a judge.

(b) Period during which ceremony may be performed.- Within 6 months after a license becomes effective, any authorized official may perform the marriage ceremony of the individuals named in the license.

(c) Performance by unauthorized individual prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony unless the individual is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony under subsection (a) of this section.

(2) An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.

(d) Performance between individuals within prohibited degrees prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not knowingly perform a marriage ceremony between individuals who are prohibited from marrying under § 2-202 of this title.

(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.

(e) Performance without license prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony without a license that is effective under this subtitle.

(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.

(f) Ceremony performed by a clerk or deputy clerk.- The county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county shall designate:

(1) when and where the clerk or deputy clerk may perform a marriage ceremony; and

(2) the form of the marriage ceremony to be recited by the clerk or deputy clerk and the parties being married.

(g) Forms of religious ceremonies.- This section does not affect the right of any religious denomination to perform a marriage ceremony in accordance with the rules and customs of the denomination.

Family Law - Title 2. Marriage - Subtitle 4: Licensing and Performance

[An. Code 1957, art. 27, §§ 392, 394; art. 62, §§ 3A, 4, 15; 1984, ch. 296, § 2; 1999, ch. 336, § 2; 2002, ch. 207; 2004, ch. 199; 2009, ch. 324.]

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