How to Officiate Weddings in St Louis
A city guide to officiating weddings and planning ceremonies in St Louis
There’s nowhere quite like St. Louis, Missouri. This Midwestern and Southern city has a lot to offer, despite its somewhat “hardcore” reputation. Its national sports teams, high-ranking universities, and abundance of restaurant are just gravy on top of this strong community, which prides itself on hospitality and generosity -- and let’s not forget the gooey St. Louis original, butter cake.
Whether you’re a born-and-raised St. Louian (is that how it’s spelled?) or you’re marrying into the STL, you’ll appreciate that St. Louis has plenty to offer, from wedding venues to catering options. But before you get too involved in the fun aspects of your wedding planning, let’s get the nitty gritty details of your wedding squared away.
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to St. Louis County Clerk’s website, any “judge, associate circuit judge, licensed or ordained preacher of the gospel, or other person authorized under the laws of this state” may perform wedding ceremonies.
If you do not fall into any of these categories, no sweat. You can get ordained with AMM to become an official minister. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, St. Louis 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 go ahead and order them in advance from our store, just to be on the safe side.)
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in St. Louis 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 Missouri, 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, so go grab a slice of gooey St. Louis butter cake and call it a day.
File for a Marriage License from the St. Louis County Clerk's Office
To obtain your marriage license, you both members of the couple will have to visit the Recorder of the Deeds Office at 1200 Market St Hall, Room 126.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- $48 cash
- Proof of Identity for both members of the couple (driver's license, state ID card or passport)
If you need a copy of your marriage license, that will cost you an extra $12.
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in St. Louis County for reference.
Issuance Office: 1200 Market St Hall.
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 30 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- You’ll want to avoid planning your wedding on any day in which one of St. Louis’ annual events occur, like the St. Patty’s Day parade, the annual marathon and the Shakespeare Festival. On these days, traffic and crowds can make it a hassle for guests to navigate to your venue, and also mean higher-than-average hotel prices. Just be sure to check the various online calendars detailing St. Louis’ event line-up to make sure you don’t pick a date you’ll regret.
As far as where to host your big day, you’ll find that St. Louis is home to many unique wedding venues, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
The couple that pictures a classic fairytale wedding will love the Barnett on Washington, which looks like the set of a live-action Cinderella. Its twin staircases, elaborate chandelier and red carpeting ooze royalty.
If you’re looking for something more alternative, check out The Thaxton. This art deco-themed theater and lounge makes vintage fans fall in love, with its retro details, like its original elevators, ornate ceiling and onsite speakeasy. If you really want to mix it up, you can even get married at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Butterfly House. It’s the perfect setting for a couple that loves nature.
Transportation -- St. Louis has a good public transportation system, so if you and/or your guests may be able to get away with using the light-rail and bus system to get around town surrounding your wedding events. Rideshares are also available in town, so if renting a car is out of budget, you can always turn to these trusty rideshare services. If you are driving, downtown St. Louis has pretty ample parking, so you shouldn’t have to much of a problem finding a spot or paying exorbitant parking lot prices.
Weather -- St. Louis is known for its hot and humid summers and bitterly cold winters. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, you’ll want to aim for May-June or August-September, avoiding the height of the summer, when temperatures are at their highest. If you are planning a summer wedding, you’ll be thankful you chose an indoor (and air-conditioned) venue. During the winters, snow and ice storms can cause the flow of the city to come to a standstill. So, just take into account that if you’re planning a winter wedding, January is the worst of it.▲ TOP