Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Minnesota
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 Minnesota as an AMM minister.
Minister Licensing Summary
Minister Required to Register with County Minnesota Statutes 517.04
Minimum Minister Age: 21 Years
Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
Same-Sex Marriage Recognized: Yes
Minister Licensing OfficeCounty Registrar
All minister must register with the local County Registrar. 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 Minnesota are required to register with the County Registrar's office that issues the marriage license to the couple. There is no dedicated office that handles minister licensing and marriage license issuing so depending on the county you may need to register with the County Clerk, Department of Licensing, Treasurer, Recorder, or Auditor, to name a few.
Most counties charge a $10 application fee, though this may vary by county. You do not need to be a Minnesota resident to perform marriage though you do need to be at least 21 years of age. Same-sex marriages are recognized in Minnesota.
The application procedure varies by county however all County Registrar's office require a letter from the minister's church that bears a live signature to be submitted with their application. Some offices may also ask to see a copy of the minister's Ordination Certificate.
The County Registrar's offices commonly require:
- County Registrar's Application Form
- Application Fee
- Personal ID
- Letter of Good Standing
- Ordination Certificate
- AMM Articles of Incorporation
No matter what county you need to register with, we recommend that you order your Minnesota Minister Licensing Package. It contains everything you need to register with any County Registrar in Minnesota. Included in the package is your Letter of Good Standing (Bearing a live signature and notarized), Ordination Certificate, and the American Marriage Ministries Articles of Incorcopration (Notarized). We will also provide any additional paperwork if requested by the County Registrar.
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.
For more specific registration steps please contact the appropriate county office:
Please select a county to view their specific contact information.
After you have all your paperwork in order you simply need to submit your application to the County Registrar's office. The registration process shouldn't take more than a few days and once registered you are able to 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 Minnesota the completed marriage license must be returned within 5 days of the wedding. 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 Registrar before the wedding day. The marriage license is the document absolutely required for the marriage to be legal in the eyes of the State.
Minnesota Marriage License Info:
Issuing Office: County Registrar
Waiting Period: 5 days to receive
Expiration: 6 Months
Return: 5 Days from Wedding
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 March 29th, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 4,628 AMM Ministers in the State of Minnesota, who have registered 771 weddings. What's This?Top
517.04 Persons Authorized to Perform Marriages
Marriages may be solemnized throughout the state by an individual who has attained the age of 21 years and is a judge of a court of record, a retired judge of a court of record, a court administrator, a retired court administrator with the approval of the chief judge of the judicial district, a former court commissioner who is employed by the court system or is acting pursuant to an order of the chief judge of the commissioner's judicial district, the residential school administrators of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, a licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination, or by any mode recognized in section 517.18.
Chapter 517: Marriage
History: (8565) RL s 3555; 1978 c 772 s 3; 1981 c 101 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1987 c 377 s 10; 1987 c 384 art 1 s 55; 1991 c 85 s 1; 1995 c 129 s 1; 2009 c 129 s 3
517.05 Credentials of Minister
Ministers of any religious denomination, before they are authorized to solemnize a marriage, shall file a copy of their credentials of license or ordination or, if their religious denomination does not issue credentials, authority from the minister's spiritual assembly, with the local registrar of a county in this state, who shall record the same and give a certificate of filing thereof. The place where the credentials are recorded shall be endorsed upon and recorded with each certificate of marriage granted by a minister.
Chapter 517: Marriage
History: (8566) RL s 3556; 1978 c 772 s 4; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 2009 c 129 s 4