How to Officiate Weddings in Lexington
A Lexington Ceremony Guide for Wedding Ministers and Couples
So, you’re getting hitched in Lexington? Well, we think you’ve made a mighty fine choice. We love this quaint southern city tucked in the rolling green hills of northern Kentucky for many reasons: it’s low cost of living, yet high quality of life, loads of Kentucky bourbon and, of course, its world famous horseback riding culture. It’s a special time to be a member of the Lexington community, as it seems the town is on the verge of becoming a full-blown city. But its classic southern charm doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
We reckon you’ll have a swell time planning your wedding, but before you start with the fun stuff, hold your horses: let’s get all the legal to-do’s -- like getting your officiant of choice ordained -- out of the way first.
Let’s start with the ordainment process. In Kentucky, ministers, priests, all justices and judges of the Court of Justice, justices of the peace and fiscal court commissioners may perform wedding ceremonies. You can check out our link to read all laws concerning marriage in the state.
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, Fayette 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 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 requires some preparation. You might want to check out our training pages, which are a great resource 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.
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
Once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant -- all you need to do is make sure that the license is filed with the county clerk after the ceremony. So, sit back, relax and treat yourself to a nice glass of smokey Kentucky bourbon. You’ve earned it.
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities. To obtain your marriage license, both members of the couple will have to visit the Fayette County clerk’s office 162 East Main Street.
When you go, don’t forget to bring:
- A form of ID for both members of the couple (drivers License, current state picture ID or passport)
- $35.50 (cash, in-state personal check, or credit card)
There is no waiting period after your application is accepted, so you can even get married the same day that you walk into the county clerk’s office to obtain your marriage license.
Issuance Office: 162 East Main Street
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 30 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- Lexington is just an hour from Louisville, an hour and a half from Cincinnati and about three hours from Nashville, so if you’re family and friends are spread out in the region, it’s a perfect middle point.
As Lexington grows, it’s seeing an increasing number of local restaurants, coffee shops and breweries that are energizing the downtown area of the city. The Carrick House is a very tasteful venue right in the center that combines classic southern architecture with a hint of a minimalist aesthetic. There’s also Limestone Hall, newly converted into a venue space, on the top floor of the historic courthouse built back in 1898. From outside, it’s got that grand, historic nobility, but inside it’s got a chic, cocktail party vibe.
And of course, if you want to go for an outdoor venue, you’ll be pleased with the dozens of gorgeous options, from renovated barns, to horse stables, to wineries available all around the outskirts of Lexington. One of our top favorites is Spindletop Hall, just 20 minutes from Lexington, which is the former home of Pansy Yount, wife of oil tycoon Miles Franklin Yount. It’s now a University of Kentucky building. To access the property, you drive down a long country road beneath a canopy of trees. The entrance of the grand brick building, framed with regal columns, is the perfect place to say “I do.” We also love the Talon Winery for a more romantic setting. It’s simply stunning at sunset.
One other quick but important note -- remember to block out the first Saturday in May as a potential wedding date, as this is Kentucky Derby Day. You don’t want to compete with the crowds on this special Saturday.
Transportation -- Lextran is good for getting around downtown, but if you need to get to the outskirts of the city or the countryside, driving is the only way to go. If you or your guests are coming in from out of town and do not have a car, the best option is to rent one, or save a little money by using rideshare services, like Lyft and Uber, which are available in the area.
Weather -- Kentucky has four distinct seasons: hot, humid summers, moderately cold winters, colorful chilly autumns, and mild springs. Be warned that Kentucky is part of Hoosier Alley and storms are known to occur around April and May, so if you’re planning a spring wedding, you are running a risk, but it’s a minute one. Locals say that the best time of year to visit is during the fall, when the leaves are changing and the heat of the summer heat has dissipated.