Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Minnesota
A guide to performing marriage.
Regulations vary throughout the country, and it is important for ministers and couples to be informed. Continue reading to learn about performing 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 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:
- Complying with any applicable government regulations.
- 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
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. 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 Minnesota, completed marriage licenses must be returned within 5 days of the wedding. 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 [state] must file for a marriage license with the County Registrar's office before their wedding day. The state will not recognize a marriage without a marriage license.
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 July 7th, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 4,630 AMM Ministers in the State of Minnesota, who have registered 855 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