How to Officiate Weddings in Ann Arbor
A guide for officiating weddings and planning ceremonies in Ann Arbor
If you’re planning a wedding in the Michigan area, Ann Arbor may be the perfect corner of the Midwest to plan a party to remember. This quirky college town is charged with energy from the state’s oldest university, U Michigan. Around every corner of its quaint downtown you’ll find mom and pop shops, from diners to coffee shops to upscale eateries to low-key dive bars. And the wedding venue options are just as plentiful.
At AMM, we’re here to help you take care of the logistics of getting your marriage license and registering your officiant of choice, so that you can focus on making the fun decisions, like choosing between a wedding on campus, or in the beautiful Michigan countryside. Let’s get the logistical stuff out of the way first.
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Michigan’s government website, magistrates, Michigan mayors, judges, and ordained ministers may all perform marriage ceremonies.
If you’re not a mayor or a justice, don’t worry. You can get ordained with AMM to become an officially ordained minister. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Washtenaw County may ask you to present proof of your status as an ordained minister. You can give their county clerk’s office a call to ask if they’ll need it. If that’s the case, or you just want to be prepared, AMM can provide your official documentation, available from our store.
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Washtenaw 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
Now, back to taking care of the marriage license. It is the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have done so before performing the ceremony.
Once the festivities are over and the marriage license is properly signed, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. Just remind them to return the marriage license within 33 days of the ceremony.
File for the Marriage License from the Washtenaw County Clerk's Office
You can find a printable PDF of the marriage license application online and fill it out ahead of time to get a head start, if you want. In order to complete the process, one or both members of the couple will have to visit the Ann Arbor County Clerk’s office 200 N. Main Street with the following:
- Proof of address for both applicants (Valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or Washtenaw County ID Card with your current home address)
- Birth certificates (not a hospital certificate)
- Social security numbers
- $20 total for in-state residents or $30 total for out-of-state residents (Cash, check, or money order or debit/credit card are accepted)
Regarding the forms of ID, photocopies or photos on cellphones are acceptable.
If one of the members of the couple is a Washtenaw County resident, you can apply at the Washtenaw county’s clerk’s office and the marriage license will be valid anywhere in the state. Just note that if both members are from out-of-state, you’ll need to apply within the county where you’re planning to get married.
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Washtenaw County for reference.
Issuance Office: 200 N. Main Street
Waiting Period: 3 days (but you can pay a fee of $50 to wave it)
Expiration: 33 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- Ann Arbor is a hotspot for beautiful wedding venues, with options ranging from rustic farm spaces to classic elegance. If you’re in the market for the latter, there are a handful of options, our favorite being the Graduate Ann Arbor. This hotel’s event space has that air of elegance and dignity perfect for a traditional wedding. It also has a spacious terrace if you want to take the party outside.
For a modern twist, you might want to check out the Rust Belt Market, located just about 45 minutes outside of Ann Arbor. Its chevron wood backdrop and full bar is perfect for the modern couple with an affinity for an industrial vibe. If you really want to embrace of old Michigan, a barn wedding may be a good choice. We like Frutig Farms. Its 16 acres of tranquil greenery are located just six miles from downtown Ann Arbor but feel like it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the university. Regardless of your taste, we’re confident you’ll find a great fit for your wedding day needs in the Ann Arbor area.
Transportation -- On Football Saturdays, traffic jams up the town’s roadways for hours before and after the game, and drive up hotel prices over the weekend. So, if you’re planning to have a Saturday wedding in Ann Arbor during football season, you should really consider choosing another date.
Ann Arbor’s bus system is cheap for riders and covers most of the parts of the city, but the buses themselves are not very frequent, so you’re better-off using a rideshare or renting a car to get around. If your guests are from out of town, advise them that traffic can really slow things down during rush hour, and that they may want to allocate extra time when getting from point A to point B.
Weather -- Ann Arbor’s climate is typical of the Midwest. Its winters can get quite cold and snowy, and daily highs barely reach above freezing. Summer days are warm and usually humid, with average highs reaching around 80 degrees. Fall and spring are both beautiful and mild in Michigan -- great seasons to visit or to plan a wedding.