How to Officiate Weddings in Minneapolis
A wedding guide for officiants and couples in Minneapolis and St. Paul MN
So, you’re planning a wedding in the North Star State. If you’re a resident of the Twin Cities area, we don’t have to tell you how much this Midwest metropolitan area has to offer. But if you’re an out-of-towner, you are in for a treat!
With more than 5,000 acres of parks and more than 10,000 lakes, Minnesota appeals to the outdoor enthusiast. But it’s also a haven for arts-and-culture buffs, home to the largest literary and book arts center in the country and the largest urban sculpture garden in the country. So, there is plenty to choose from in terms of wedding venues, musicians and catering when it comes to planning a wedding.
We’re here to help you get the logistics of your marriage license and wedding officiant squared away, so you can focus on the fun parts of wedding planning. Let’s get started.
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. In Minnesota, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies: a judge or retired judge of a court of record, a court administrator, a former court commissioner who is employed by the court system or is acting pursuant to an order of the chief judge of the commissioner's judicial district, the residential school superintendent of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, a licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination.
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, Hennepin County will 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 just order them from our store now to be safe.)
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Minneapolis-St. Paul
Before performing marriage in Minnesota you are required to register with a county level government office. You will need to complet your marriage officiant credential filing with the Hennepin County office.
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, 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.
In Minnesota, once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. Just be sure the marriage license is returned to the county clerk’s office within 5 days of the ceremony.
File for the Marriage License from the Hennepin County Courthouse
To obtain your marriage license, visit the Hennepin County Courthouse. Both members should be present, but in the case that one cannot make it, you’ll just need to have that party print and fill out a separate form for the other to bring in.
You can save some time by pre-applying online before making the trip down to the office. Otherwise, you can start the process onsite.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- A driver's license, state-issued identification card or passport.
- $115 in cash, check, credit/debit card or money order
- Absence form (above) if one member cannot appear in person
If you’d like to reduce the fee to $40, you can take 12 hours of premarital education and then provide the state’s office with proof by filling out this form.
You will also be asked to provide an address where you would like the marriage license sent if you choose to have a copy mailed to you.
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Hennepin County for reference.
Issuance Office: 300 South 6th St., Minneapolis
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 6 months
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- After their long, cold winters, Minnesotans really enjoy their spring and summer festivities. From May through October, there are all kinds of parades, festivals, marathons and even pow wows going on, like the MayDay Parade and the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival. Be sure to check your wedding date to make sure you won’t overlap with a large scale event nearby to your venue.
Speaking of venues, the Greater Twin Cities area has countless options for you to explore during your wedding planning process. Minnesota is home to 10,000 lakes, so many couples opt for waterfront celebrations at golf clubs, resorts, or simply in public parks. If you want to encapture the Midwest charm, you’ll love all the refurbished barn spaces and old houses that are available, as well.
Transportation -- Minneapolis has great public transportation, with light rail services and free buses. If you have guests coming from out of town, they may want to take advantage of the public transit -- otherwise, ride-sharing services including Uber and Lyft are both available in the area.
Weather -- Minnesota’s location in the upper Midwest gives it four distinct seasons. Its winters are known for below freezing temps, and snow storms last through early spring. Spring and summer temperatures average in the 80s, but can climb above 100 degrees. Tornadoes are known to happen from June through August, however, they can occur any time of year. Most Minnesotans plan a wedding in the summer or fall. Early fall in the Great Lakes Region on the Lake Superior coast delivers unrivalled colors and landscapes.▲ TOP