How to Officiate Weddings in Lincoln
A Lincoln Nebraska Guide for Couples and Wedding Ministers
Is it the dirt cheap dive bars filled with chummy locals? Is it the all-unifying fan force of the Lincolnites’ Huskers during football season? Is it people-watching with a cup of hot tea while sitting on a park bench in the historic Haymarket district? Lady Gaga’s heart wrenching ballad “You and I,” about falling in love in Nebraska says it all. It’s hard to put your finger on, but there really is just “something, something about this place.”
If you’re getting married in Lincoln, Nebraska, first off -- congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! You’ve come to the right place. We have all the need-to-know legal info, plus some other useful tips about getting married in Lancaster County. Our first recommendation? Crack open a bottle of Mélange A Trois and play You and I on repeat while you read our guide to really get in the spirit.
Let’s start by getting your wedding officiant of choice legally ordained. According to Lancaster County Clerk’s website, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies:
“Every judge, retired judge, clerk magistrate or retired clerk magistrate, and every preacher of the gospel authorized by the usages of the church to which he or she belongs to solemnize marriages, may perform the marriage ceremony in this State.”
If you’ve been asked to officiate the ceremony, 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, Lancaster 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.)
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.
When it comes time to completing the marriage license, you should sit down with the couple to help them fill it out, after they pick it up from the county clerk’s office. Lancaster County has some rules that you’ll want to take note of.
First off, use only black ink when completing the license and certificate of marriage and do not write outside of the license’s designated boxes. You, the officiant, must fill in box numbers 21a through 21f. Remember to sign and print your name in box 21d and fill in your full mailing address, including city, state and zip code in box 21f. You must also include your title (i.e., “minister”) in box 21e.
If an error is made below the signature lines, just cross it out and print the correction above or to the side. Resist the urge to use whiteout -- the Lancaster county clerk’s office won’t accept it.
Once you have performed the ceremony and the marriage licensed is fully completed and notarized by you, it is also your responsibility to return the original (not photocopied) license to the county clerk’s office within 15 days of the ceremony. A self-addressed envelope will be provided to you if you prefer to mail it in.
To get your marriage license, both members of the couple will need to visit one of the state county clerk’s offices or courthouses together. Download a printable marriage license application here and fill it out before you go down to the office at 555 S. 10th Street in room 108.
To schedule an appointment, you can contact the office at 402-441-7484, but an appointment is not necessary.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- Marriage license application worksheet (One per couple)
- A non-expired driver's license, State ID or passport
There is no waiting period in Lincoln, so you can technically get married the same day that you apply for the marriage license.
Issuance Office: 555 S. 10th Street in room 108.
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 1 year
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- Lincoln is a major economic and cultural hub in the region, not only because it’s the capital of Nebraska, but also because it’s part of the “Silicon Prairie” (the Midwest’s Silicon Valley) and a college town. That being said, only about 300,000 people live here, so you’re not going to faced with extreme competition for venues and sky high prices as you would in larger cities. (Another reason to love Lincoln.)
For the couple looking for a classic venue, you’ll want to check out both the Marriott Cornhusker Hotel and the Embassy Suites Lincoln, both of which have ample capacity for large receptions and are located right downtown. For a more modern, industrial setting with a warm ambiance, check out the Talon Room. You can take a virtual tour on their website to explore every corner of their concrete dance floor and get up close and personal with their full-service bar. Or if you really want to do something different, rent out the Rococo Theater! You can host both your ceremony and reception in this charming old landmark building.
Transportation -- You can rely on Lyft and Uber pretty much year round, rain, snow or shine. Public transportation within the city limits is decent but it stops running after 9pm. However, if you’re from out of town, the best bet is to rent a car, regardless of the season, especially if you’ll be spending time in multiple towns as they are quite spread out.
Weather -- The most pleasant months in Lincoln are between May and September. July is the peak of the heat with daily highs hitting in the mid-80s and sometimes 90s. However, the spring and summer months are also subject to tornadoes and thunderstorms. So, if you’re planning a wedding anytime after April or before September, make sure to come up with a back up plan in the case that your wedding day brings some inclement weather.
December and January are the height of winter in this region. If you’re planning a Nebraska wedding in the winter, kudos on your bravery. Most would steer clear of these months because of the intense cold and snow, but you may be able to find amazing deals on venue rentals during this time.