How to Officiate Weddings in Kansas City
A guide for officiating weddings and planning ceremonies in the Paris of the Plains
This one-of-a-kind Midwestern town may not have as many honorable mentions in BuzzFeed “Top 10” articles as cities like Portland and Austin, but we think Kansas City deserves a category all its own.
The Paris of the Plains, as it is known by many, has the perfect balance of small town charm and urban amenities. It’s no wonder it was recognized in Travel and Leisure's list of America's best cities for hipsters. It’s got organic farmer's markets, pretentious coffee shops and jazz clubs, right alongside its trademark steak houses, old-timey summer carnivals and football stadium. Fire up your instagram account folks!
If you’re planning a wedding in KC, we think you’ll really appreciate all this city has to offer in terms of catering, venues and music. But before you get too wrapped up in the wedding plan, let us walk you through the logistics of getting your minister of choice ordained, and your marriage license squared away.
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Jackson County Clerk’s website, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies:
- “any clergyman, either active or retired, who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state
- any judge, including a municipal judge
- a religious society, religious institution, or religious organization of this state, according to the regulations and customs of the society, institution or organization, when either party to the marriage to be solemnized is a member of such a society, institution or organization.”
If you do not fall into any of these categories, no sweat. You can get ordained with AMM to fall within the priest or minister category. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Jackson 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, or you can order your credentials from our store in advance, just to be safe.)
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Jackson 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
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, the couple will obtain it, but you, the officiant, will need to check that they have it in their possession before the ceremony and sign it yourself afterward.
It’s your responsibility to return the marriage license to the county recorder of deeds or county clerk’s office within 15 days of the wedding. Once you’re done, make sure to reward yourself with Kansas City’s favorite beer, a nice cold Boulevard Pale Ale.
File for the Marriage License from the Jackson County Clerk's Office
To obtain your marriage license, you both members of the couple will have to visit the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds Department, or any other Recorder or Clerk’s office in Missouri. When you go, just remember to bring:
- ID for both parties (driver’s license, Passport, Military ID or other government ID)
- $50 Cash, credit (except American Express) or debit card
- Social Security Numbers of both halves of the couple
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Jackson County for reference:
Issuance Office: 415 E. 12th Street, Room 104
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: 30 days
Return: by Officiant
The Basics -- Kansas City hosts festivals and celebrations throughout the year that draw thousands of people, like the annual 18th and Vine Jazz and Blues Festival each October and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, which runs from Labor Day through Columbus Day each year. The first Friday of every month, there’s the Crossroads Arts District, at 19th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Just make sure that your wedding date doesn’t overlap with one of these events if you want to avoid expensive hotel prices and traffic. You can check out the KC events page here.
Moving onto wedding venues, you’ll find that Kansas City has an option for every couple. If you’re looking for character, you’ll love the Vintage House, which offers very fair pricing in a charming indoor/outdoor setting. For an upgrade, don’t miss Loose Mansion, which is an architecturally stunning historical property with a Victorian vibe, for the Jane Austin fan.
Transportation -- KC is famous for its trains. Amtrak trains connect Kansas City with destinations like St. Louis, Chicago and L.A., which your budget conscious out-of-town guests may want to take advantage of. Locally, the street car, which runs downtown, can take you to most of the city’s attractions, but the rest of the city’s public transportation isn’t regarded as excellent. Car rentals in the central area of town can be somewhat expensive because of the Arena Tax. So if you’re thinking of renting a car, note that less expensive rentals are available in the northern part of the city.
Weather -- The summer months are pretty hot and humid, with highs averaging in the 90s. The coldest month of the year is January, with an average high temperature of about 30 degrees. Locals say the best time to visit is in the fall, during September and October, when temperatures have cooled down a bit, but the fierce winter snow storms haven’t started yet.▲ TOP