How to Officiate Weddings in Baltimore
A guide for officiating weddings and planning ceremonies in Baltimore
Baltimore is known for a great many things; the birthplace of the national anthem, the home of famed writer Edgar Allen Poe, and could soon be known by your loved ones, friends and family as the location of your dream wedding. It’s certainly a city that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves considering it’s rich history and thriving multicultural society.
But since you already know what a great city Baltimore is, and you’re really just here to learn about officiating weddings in America’s Comeback City, or plan your wedding, we’ll jump right into the nuts-and-bolts of getting ordained, getting the paperwork squared away, planning your ceremony, and finally officiating when the big day arrives!
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Per the Baltimore County Clerk’s website, wedding officiants need to be ordained through a religious organization. If you are not yet a clergy member or affiliated with a religious organization, you are in luck. You can get ordained with AMM -- the process is free and will take just a few minutes. Once you’ve got that box checked, we’ll get to the good stuff.
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Baltimore County
Now that you’ve got your credentials taken care of, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is a true honor, but requires a bit of preparation. 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 for obtaining responsibility the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony and that all the names and other details are correct.
Once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. As the officiant, it is your duty to return the marriage license to the Baltimore County Clerk’s office after the ceremony.
File for the Marriage License from the Baltimore County Clerk's Office
To get your marriage license, one member of the couple will need to visit the Baltimore County Clerk’s office at:
County Courts Building
401 Bosley Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204
If you or your partner live in Maryland, you can apply in one of the counties where either or both of you live. If you obtain a marriage license in Baltimore County you must also perform the ceremony in Baltimore.
When you go, remember to bring the following:
- $35 cash
- Photo ID
- Social Security Number
Once you’ve completed your marriage application and obtained your license you have 6 months from the date of issuance to conduct the ceremony and return the completed form. Of course, we recommend that you return the completed marriage license at the first available opportunity, so that the marriage can be entered into the state’s records and the process finalized.
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Baltimore County for reference.
Issuance Office: County Courts Building
401 Bosley Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204
Fee: $35 cash
Waiting Period: 48 hours
Expiration: 180 days
Return: by Officiant
The Basics -- Baltimore is a one-of-a-kind city with some truly unique history, and the home of some famous and transformative people! Writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Upton Sinclair once called Baltimore home. Maybe your wedding theme could be centered around The Great Gatsby. Only one city can lay claim to being the birthplace of our national anthem, and you guessed it, it’s Baltimore.
Just check the city’s event pages before you pick your wedding date. If you or your soon-to-be spouse are sports fans, you could try and coordinate your ceremony during a week when you could take a night to see the Baltimore Orioles or the Baltimore Ravens play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, or M&T Bank Stadium.
If you and your partner are ready to start looking at venues, Baltimore has a wide variety of options including traditional venues, like the gorgeous stone hall in Chase Hall, an example of traditional gothic architecture and beautiful stonework. Another terrific idea is holding your ceremony at The Elkridge Furnace Inn, a beautiful option in a historic mansion from 1774,overlooking the Patapsco river. You could even take a pie baking class there.
Or, you could hold your wedding reception at one of the cities world-famous BBQ joints! You might be interested in Blue Pit BBQ & Whiskey Bar, another great alternative to a traditional venue space. If you are a fan of traditional pulled pork, cornbread and whiskey this might be a great idea and it’s cost effective too.
Transportation -- If you don’t want to get a rental car, it’s easy to get around downtown Baltimore as they have a well connected transit system. The MTA is well-liked by residents, with easy access to the downtown area with a day pass. Rideshare services are available as well.
Weather -- Winters are pretty chilly in Maryland, and it’s close enough to the coast to get that “wet-cold” that really gets under your skin. Expect an average temperatures in the 30s for December and January. During the summer it is quite pleasant, if a bit muggy, and temperatures can climb to the 80s.