How to Officiate Weddings in Jackson
A guide to marrying folks and planning the ceremony in Jackson Mississippi
So, you’re gettin’ hitched in Jackson, Mississippi! It may not be the first place to jump to mind when you think of “urban hot spots” in the South, but you can’t say that Jackson doesn’t have soul. This town’s history goes way back, starting with its role during the Civil War, and evolving into one of the birthplaces of gospel and blues.
To this day, it’s still the hub of all the goings-on in Mississippi, and lucky for you, that goes double for wedding amenities. If you’re planning a classic Southern wedding in Jacktown, you’ve come to the right place. From mouth watering Southern-style catering services to rustic, charming wedding venues, Jacktown is where it’s at.
But before you start searching the Internet for the one perfect pair of cowboy boots to suit your entire wedding party, let’s get the logistics of your ceremony squared away, starting with getting your minister of choice ordained. Then, we’ll help you with the rest.
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to FindLaw, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies:
- “Ministers of the gospel who are in good standing and have been ordained according to the rules of his church or society
- Rabbis or other spiritual leaders who are in good standing and have been authorized by their religious body to perform marriage ceremonies, or
- Any judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court, or county court”
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, Hinds 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 just order your credentials in advance to be safe, or order them from our store just to be safe.)
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Hinds 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, 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 Jackson, once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The couple will take care of the rest.
File for the Marriage License from the Hinds County Clerk's Office
To obtain your marriage license, you both members of the couple will have to visit the Circuit Clerk’s office at 407 E Pascagoula St.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- $36 in (cash and credit/debit cards are acceptable)
- Proof of age (driver’s license, ID, passport or birth certificate)
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Hinds County for reference.
Issuance Office: 407 E Pascagoula St.
Waiting Period: 3 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- Make sure to take note of the major events that occur each year in Jackson. You’ll probably want to avoid scheduling your wedding on the same day, so you don’t get stuck in traffic or end up paying higher hotel and rental car prices.
At the top of the list is St. Paddy’s Day -- it’s a big deal in Jackson. The parade and green beer draw in about 80,000 people each year. The Mississippi State Fair is another biggie. Live music, carnival rides, and the famous talent show are the main draws of this renowned fair, which stretches from the beginning to the middle of October. So, if you’re planning on taking advantage of the great fall weather, just make sure you venue is far enough away from the historic district of downtown, where the action is.
Speaking of venues, Jackson has some lovely historic and modern options. You’re sure to find one that suits your needs. Both industrial and chic, the South Warehouse is a favorite in Mississippi. It’s located centrally just outside of the downtown area, near the Pearl River. Its brick walls, concrete floors and exposed wood beam ceilings scream Chip and Joanna Gaines -- for all the HGTV fans out there.
For a touch more traditional elegance, you’ll love the Ice House, which was built in the early 1900s. Its most prominent feature, the spiral staircase, is the perfect place for timeless wedding photos, but you’ll also swoon for the original ironwork and brick courtyard. Don’t worry, this venue may be over 100 years old, but it’s been updated with modern amenities to accommodate the needs of a modern wedding.
Transportation -- Located at the intersection of highways I-20 and I-55, Jackson is pretty easily accessible to out-of-towners by car. If you or your guests are without wheels, Amtrak is also an option; it connects Jackson to cities like Chicago and New Orleans. But if you have guests flying in from farther areas of the country, Jackson International Airport is just about a 15 minute drive from downtown. If your wedding festivities are concentrated in the downtown area, you can get around fairly easily by public transportation -- check out the map view of JATRAN’s routes here. Otherwise, if you’re trying to avoid renting a car, you can rely on rideshares, which are available in town.
Weather -- Mississippi is known for its hot summers -- July and August being the hottest and most humid -- and temperate winters, with January being the coolest month. Locals will tell you to visit between March and May, and during the fall, when the weather is mild. It rains sporadically throughout the year, which is what keeps the state so lush, but it also means you’re running a risk when planning an outdoor wedding. Just make sure to prepare for a downpour by renting a venue with a covered area or acquiring a party tent.