How to Officiate Weddings in Fort Wayne
A Guide to Officiating Weddings in Fort Wayne
So, you’re getting hitched in the City of Churches! First of all, congratulations on finding your partner in life. And if you were asked to officiate a wedding in Fort Wayne, also congratulations, you’re going to do a great job, we guarantee it!
Whether you’re a Fort Wayne native or you’re an out-of-towner marrying a Hoosier, we think the Indiana’s second largest is the perfect place to start a lifetime of happiness: wedding venues that won’t break the bank, accommodating vendors with Midwestern hospitality, and not to mention, some of the region’s best diners -- what more could you want in a city?
If you just got engaged, you’re probably overwhelmed with all the to-do’s that need to be accomplished before you make it down the aisle. Here at AMM, it’s our job to help you iron out the logistics so you can focus on the fun part of wedding planning. Don’t worry, we’ve got all the need-to-knows about getting married in Allen County right here in our guide. So relax, grab a Coney Island hot dog and pen and paper and let’s get started.
Let’s begin with becoming an ordained minister. According to Indiana code 31-11-6, a long list of government officials and members of the clergy of religious organizations “even if the cleric does not perform religious functions for an individual congregation, such as a minister of the gospel, a priest, a bishop, an archbishop, or a rabbi,” may perform marriage ceremonies.
If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding ceremony, you can get ordained with AMM to fall within the minister category. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Allen County may ask you to present documentation, which AMM provides for a fee. (You can call the county clerk’s office before you perform the ceremony to ask if they will require you to bring the certificate in person.)
Now that you are a licensed officiant in Indiana, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Officiating a marriage ceremony can be an amazing, rewarding experience, but requires a bit of preparation. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our wedding training pages will help make sure your first ceremony goes off without a hitch.
Here you can find everything from tips for preparation to sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, and more.
When it comes time the handling of the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain it (which is detailed in the next section), but once they have it in their possession, your job is to help them sign and complete it correctly. Remember, it’s due back to the clerk’s office 60 days after its issue date.
Once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, either decide who will return it to the clerk’s office after the ceremony. You, the officiant can do this, or one of the members of the couple can. It can be mailed in or returned in person by either party. (Once the couple applies for a marriage license, they’ll be given an envelope with the county clerk’s address already marked on it, ready to be mailed.)
But if they’re planning to head off on their honeymoon straight away, you’ll score extra points if you offer to take care of it for them.
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities. You can start the application process online. (Scroll down to the bottom and click “Start Your Application.”) This isn’t required, but it will save you a little time during your visit to the clerk’s office.
To obtain your actual marriage license, both members of the couple will have to go down to the clerk’s office at 715 South Calhoun Street on the second floor. They’re open from 8am to 4pm on weekdays.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- $18 for in-state residents, $60 for out-of-state applicants (cash)
- Information about your parents (full names, last known addresses, birthplaces)
- ID (current driver’s license, passport or birth certificate)
Once you apply, you’ll be issued your application the same day -- there is no waiting period in Allen County.
Issuance Office: 715 South Calhoun Street
Fee: $18 for in-state residents, $60 for out-of-state applicants
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by Couple or Officiant
The Basics -- You don’t want traffic or parking problems adding stress to your day, so when choosing your wedding date, be sure to double check there are no events going on that are in close proximity to your venue of choice. Speaking of venues, let us make a few suggestions.
The Barn at Salomon Farm Park is one of our favorite venues in the area. Standing in the vast green meadow before a backdrop of trees and a glassy lake makes a quaint setting to say “I do,” and the accompanying renovated barn is the perfect place to start the party. Plus, this venue is super affordable and just 20 minutes from downtown Fort Wayne.
If you want more of an urban/industrial vibe, we also like the White Rose as an alternative, which has lovely grounds and a chic interior with features like exposed beams and white-washed bricks. And we’d be remiss not to include the stunning Embassy Theater, which oozes Old Hollywood -- a great choice for a winter wedding.
Transportation -- Fort Wayne’s public transportation is not the fastest way to get around, so if you’re visiting from out of town, it’s a good idea to either rent a car or have Lyft or Uber downloaded on your phone. Traffic isn’t too bad in Fort Wayne, so you won’t have to worry about factoring in a lot of extra time to make it from point A to point B or expensive fare as much as you would in larger cities.
Weather -- Indiana’s weather can be a bit unpredictable, but to generalize, it has four distinct seasons. Winters are quite cold and last from November through March. Around January, there are at least two weeks of snow and dropping temperatures, usually followed by a few days of freezing rain and warmer weather, often leading to some flooding. For the most part, spring is chilly and rainy -- and there’s the occasional snowfall -- but begins to warm up in April.
Summers are hot, but not unbearable for the most part, except the two-week stretch that falls in late July or August that breaks the 100 degree mark. Fall is lovely in Indiana, not too hot or cold, and the colors of the foliage are stunning.
A date between May and early July or September to October would be ideal for a wedding date. As a general tip, it’s not a bad idea to have a weather contingency plan in case unexpected showers or other weather present themselves unannounced. You never know what you’re going to get in Indiana.