How to Officiate Weddings in Cedar Rapids

A Cedar Rapids Wedding Ceremony Guide For Wedding Officiants and Couples


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...as easy as pie!

So, you’re getting married in Iowa! Or perhaps a friend of yours has asked you to officiate their wedding ceremony. Either way, congratulations are in order. The Land of the Rolling Prairie may be quiet, but tucked in its endless miles of sweeping green countryside are dozens of one-of-kind venues waiting to be discovered. 

 

But before you get lost in the world of Iowa wedding venues, let’s get the legal stuff checked off first.

 

In Cedar Rapids, getting married is easy as pie -- Kathy’s pie, that is. In our guide, we have all the need-to-know info about getting hitched and getting your officiant of choice legally ordained. But don’t wait ‘til knee high on the fourth of July to get started.




How To Perform Marriage in Cedar Rapids

Steps for the Wedding Officiant

STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries

 

In Iowa, judges of the supreme court, court of appeals or the district court or persons ordained or designated as a leader of the person’s religious faith are all allowed to perform wedding ceremonies.

 

If you do not fall into any of these categories, no sweat. You can get ordained with AMM to become a legal minister. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.

 

Lucky for you, officiants are not required to register with the State of Iowa! So once you’re done registering at AMM, you’re legally allowed to perform weddings in the state of Iowa. All that’s left to do is learn your legal responsibilities as an officiant.

 

STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Linn County

 

Now that the easy part is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is an honor, but can feel like a lot of pressure. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly. 

 

Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to  brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.

 

STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License

 

The couple will take care of obtaining the marriage license from the recorder’s office, but just be sure that they have it on hand before you perform the ceremony.

 

After the “I do’s,” each party will complete their own designated section of the application. Make sure to bring a pen with black ink with you to fill out the form. Let the couple know to print legibly, refrain from using all capital letters, and to use their current full legal name (not their partner’s last name, if either one of them intends to change their name.)

 

The two witnesses at the ceremony will also need to sign and print their names. Then, you or one of the members of the couple need to return the completed marriage license to the county registrar in which the license was issued to the couple within 15 days of the ceremony.

 

Once that’s taken care of, your role is complete! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
 

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How To Get Married in Cedar Rapids

Steps for the Couple

To obtain your marriage license, you, your partner and one witness over the age of 18 need to head down to the Linn County Recorder’s Office at 935 2nd St. SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 to pick it up. Or you can request one by mail.

 

There is a mandatory waiting period of three days before to use it once they hand it to you, so make sure you go to the recorder’s office to apply at least a week before the date of your ceremony 

 

When you go, just remember to bring a valid form of state-issued ID for everyone and the $35 application fee.

 

After the recorder’s office issues you your marriage license, you will hold onto it. Then, your officiant will help you fill it out and notarize it directly after the ceremony.

 

There is no “count down” from when you are issued the marriage license in which you need to host your ceremony, BUT, after the ceremony is performed, then the document must be returned within 15 days of the date you had the ceremony.
 

Linn County Marriage License Info

Issuance Office: 935 2nd St. SW Cedar Rapids, IA 
Fee: $35 
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: None
Return: by Officiant or Couple within 15 days



Wedding Venue and Planning Tips



The Basics -- The Hotel at Kirkwood Center and the DoubleTree by Hilton are some of the most prominent wedding venues in the Cedar Rapids area, both of which are good options, but there are a few other notable gems to check out before you settle on your decision.

 

Ashton Hill Farm isn’t just another renovated barn venue space. It has an impressive offering of features, including a bridal suite, groom’s lounge, loft, outdoor ceremony garden, and a two-level veranda. Its bistro lighting and simplistic architecture gives it a bit of an urban vibe, so it’s a great option for a modern couple. It’s open for booking from May to November.

 

A Touch of Class is another great option. This private park offers outdoor and indoor spaces, beautiful gazebo as a backdrop to your ceremony, and even onsite catering. Check, check, and check!

 

But if you’re not satisfied with the options close-in and want to venture outside of the Cedar Rapids area, there are a ton of unique venues sprinkled throughout Iowa and your marriage license is valid anywhere in the state. Why not make your special day into a mini road trip?

 

Transportation -- Most Iowans get around by car, as is true in most of the Midwest. The state is laid out in a grid pattern, so if you’re driving along and end up getting lost, just pick a direction to drive and you'll almost always find yourself back on a major highway in a few miles. If you’re staying in the Cedar Rapids area and don’t have a car, you can utilize its bus system, but Lyft and Uber are also available in town, if you prefer.

 

Weather -- If you’re from Iowa, you know the weather here is no joke. Winters are consistently snowy and can be dangerously cold, with temperatures often dropping well below zero. Springtime can feel like a long wait, but average daily highs finally climb into the 50s in April. With spring come frequent thunderstorms and yes, tornadoes! The state gets an average of about 50 per year, with the majority occurring in May and June.

 

When summer finally does come, it’s beautiful, but wet. Showers are a regularity and humidity is part of the deal. The average daily highs are in the 70s, but climb into the 90s at the hottest point, in August. Fall is many people’s favorite season here. It’s the least volatile season and the most pleasant, temperature-wise. In September, the daytime temperatures still hover in the 70s and the humidity levels drop off noticeably as the summer rains dry up.

 

That’s why fall is the perfect season to plan your wedding in Iowa, and the majority of couples choose a September or October wedding date.
 

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Weddings in Cedar Rapids FAQ

  • Is there a process to register as an officiant to perform marriages in Iowa?

    Officiants are not required to register with the State of Iowa, so all you need to do is register with a ministry like AMM to perform marriages in the state.
     
  • Does a copy of the marriage license application count as our marriage certificate?

    No, after you return the completed and notarized marriage license application to the county registrar, they will issue you a certified copy for your records. Follow the instructions here.
     
  • When does the 15 day countdown to return the marriage license after the ceremony start?

    The officiant has 15 days from the marriage ceremony to return the marriage license to the county registrar.
     
  • If we obtain a marriage license in Linn County, must we also get married in the same county?

    No, you can get married anywhere in Iowa.
     
  • Does the three-day waiting period to use the marriage license count the day in which you applied?

    No. For example, if you apply for the license on Monday, you can get married on Friday.

     
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