How To Perform Marriage in Virginia

A Step-by-Step Guide to Officiating Weddings

Ministers in Virginia : 10,123

Minister Registration Summary

Who Can Perform Marriage?
a minister authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in this Commonwealth, under a license issued in this Commonwealth, and showing on the application therefor the place out of this Commonwealth where said marriage is to be performed, shall be valid as if such marriage had been performed in this Commonwealth.
Are AMM Ministry Credentials Recognized?
Depends on County | Order Your Ministry Credentials
Is government registration required?
Yes | Code of Virginia 20-23
With what office do I need to register?
Superior Court
Does my residency affect registration?
What is the minimum age for an officiant?
Do I need to complete a Gov. application?
Check with the County Clerk
Do I need to provide Gov. ID?
Check with the County Clerk
Do I need to submit my Ministry Credentials?
How much does registration cost?
Check with the County Clerk

4 Steps to Performing Marriage in Virginia


Getting Ordained with American Marriage Ministries is your first step towards performing marriage in Virginia. American Marriage Ministries is the only IRS Certified 501c3 Non-Profit that offers online ordinations. Getting ordained with AMM is free, quick, and easy!

Beyond ordination we provide all the information and resources you need to learn how to prepare for and officiate weddings. Whether it is your minister registration requirements, learning how to write a wedding ceremony script, or making sure you understand your legal responsibilities when completing the marriage license, we have you covered!

We welcome people of all walks of life. As long as you have a sincere desire to bring communities together through marriage, it is not important to us if you are religious or non-religious, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. Ordination as an AMM minister is about celebrating our commonalities.

As a Minister of American Marriage Ministries we encourage you to officiate weddings that reflect the values and beliefs of you and the couple. With over 688,369 Ordained Ministers and hundreds of thousands of successful weddings, what are you waiting for?

Apply For Ordination!




Since May 24th, 2010, many County Clerks in Virginia have systematically denied ministers ordained by way of the internet the right to perform marriage. Many clerks cite a letter written by an Opinions Counsel of the Attorney General's Office as justification to refuse the review of applications from ministers ordained online.

While some County Clerks may agree with the opinions expressed within the Opinions Counsel letter, it is not settled case law and as defined by Virginia Code § 2.2-505, it carries no legal weight. County Clerks do not have the authority to judge the validity of your credentials or implement their interpretation of the law.

It is our position that all ministers have the right to perform marriage in Virginia. Officiant registration can be complicated, but there are County Clerks that do not discriminate and will happily process the applications of AMM Ministers.

American Marriage Ministries has instituted a policy of providing ministers with all the appropriate documents for registration at no cost. Contact us if you would like to attempt to register to perform a marriage in Virginia.

It is important to note: As long as you are registered in a different County of Virginia, you do not need to register with the local County Clerk's office or the office that issues the couple's the marriage license. Authorization from any county grants you the authority to perform marriage throughout Virginia.

Before performing marriage, you are required to register with a County Clerk's office. This is the same office that issues the marriage license to the couple. You do not need to register with the same office that issues the marriage license to the couple. Successful registration with one Clerk grants you the authority to perform marriage anywhere in Virginia.

Application Instructions

As ministerial registration is done at the county level, the application fee and registration requirements vary. We recommend that you contact a few Clerks office to get the specifics of their registration procedure, and a sense of how receptive they would be to your registration.

Once you are clear what is required of you and you still wish to continue with the registration process we recommend that you order your Minister Ordination Package. Your package for Virginia is free and includes your official ministerial records along with AMM Church Documents. Additionally, your package contains wedding training materials.

Don't hesitate to contact us if have questions on any of the forms provided by the Clerk.

If your application is denied by the Clerk you can still conduct the wedding ceremony. The only thing you will not legally be able to do is sign the marriage license. The Virginia government has no authority over the ceremony, only the marriage license. The marriage license can be completed at the courthouse, separating that from the wedding celebration, which you can still conduct.



Chances are good this will be the first wedding you officiate. This undertaking may seem daunting and we are here to guide you through the process. The Wedding Training section of our site will teach you how to officiate weddings like a pro.

We break down the process of preparing for officiating a wedding into simple, easy-to-follow steps. We start with explaining the structure of a wedding ceremony and provide sample wedding ceremonies to help you get an idea of what other people have written.

Once you have the first draft of your wedding ceremony script written, you can follow our guide on officiant best practices for advice on how to polish and practice reading your ceremony script.


If you are interested in a thorough resource that covers everything you could ever possibly want to know about officiating a wedding ceremony, we recommend purchasing a copy of our book Asked To Officiate. Originally written by two career wedding officiants, Asked To Officiate draws on their decades of experience officiating hundreds of wedding ceremonies.

Asked To Officiate is also included in our Signature Wedding Officiant Package. This package covers all the bases, including your Ministry Credentials, a Wedding Stole, Asked To Officiate, and your Minister's Manual.



By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. Have a fun and memorable wedding ceremony! After you have conducted the wedding you have one last and very important job… to complete the marriage license for the couple.


This is your one legal responsibility. Fortunately, it is also an easy task to fulfill. Completing the marriage license simply involves completing your portion of the license and signing it with the couple in the presence of any required witnesses. That's it!

We understand that you want to do everything correctly. That’s why you are the officiant! If you want to know more about what fields you may have to complete on the marriage license and what you should write, check out our Wedding Officiant Guidelines for Completing Marriage Licenses.


After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to its issuance office. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister. When the couple receives their marriage license it should also come with instructions as to who must return it and how.

Different states have different deadlines that dictate when the completed marriage license must be returned, so make sure that this duty be done as soon as possible. In most states this is as easy as mailing the marriage license back to the county clerk. Below is more information about Virginia marriage licenses.


Prior to the wedding ceremony it is the couple’s responsibility to file for their marriage license. The marriage license issuance office is usually located at the county courthouse. Your job as the wedding officiant is to sign and complete your section of the license. Once the marriage license is completed and returned to the office where it was issued, the marriage is recorded and made legal.

Marriage License Issuance Office

County Clerk

Marriage License Fee


Marriage License Waiting Period


Marriage License Expiration

60 Days

Marriage License Return

Within 5 Days from Wedding

What Does Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return Mean?


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