Step 1 GET ORDAINED WITH AMERICAN MARRIAGE MINISTRIES
Getting Ordained with American Marriage Ministries is your first step towards performing marriage in West 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 688,368 Ordained Ministers and hundreds of thousands of successful weddings, what are you waiting for?
Apply For Ordination!
Step 2 WEST VIRGINIA MINISTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
ALL MINISTERS ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA SECRETARY OF STATE
You are required to register with the office of the West Virginia Secretary of State before performing marriage. The application process is straightforward and is outlined below:
MARRIAGE CELEBRANT APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
The West Virginia Secretary of State provides the following guidelines on minister registration:
- 1. Applicant must be 18 years of age or older. Show proof by submitting a copy of his/her birth certificate, driver’s license, military ID or passport.
- 2. Applicant shall present certification that he or she is authorized to perform marriages by his/her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization
- 3. Applicant shall present documentation that he/she is in regular communion with the church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization of which he/she is a member.
- 4. The application shall provide at least one of the following as a statement of his/her representation of a religious group;
- 4a. An official ordination paper from a church, synagogue, spiritual assembly organization, group or school showing that the person is an ordained minister for that group; or
- 4b. A letter or document signed by at least two members of a group stating that the person requesting to be registered to perform marriages ministers to that group and is in regular communion with that group.
WHAT YOU NEED TO REGISTER WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA SECRETARY OF STATE
You will need to submit the following documents in order to successfully register as a "Marriage Celebrant" with the Secretary's office:
● Your Completed West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Form
● Valid Government ID
● Your Official Ordination Certificate
● Your Letter of Good Standing
● A $25 Check or Money Order Payable to the “West Virginia Secretary of State”.
WHAT GOVERNMENT ID IS ACCEPTABLE?
Any of the following forms of ID are accepted by the West Virginia Secretary of State's office:
● Driver’s License
● Military ID
● Birth Certificate
HOW DO I GET MY OFFICIAL ORDINATION CERTIFICATE AND LETTER OF GOOD STANDING?
Order your West Virginia Minister Ordination Package to obtain an official copy of your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing.
Your Ordination Certificate meets points 2 and 4a and your Letter of Good Standing meets points 3 and 4b. Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by two Church Officers, dated, and notarized. Your package also includes a partially completed West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Form for your convenience.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE WEST VIRGINIA MARRIAGE CELEBRANT REGISTRATION FORM
The Marriage Celebrant Registration Form is a simple one page form that should only take you a few minutes to complete.
The application asks for basic information such as your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and your signature.
For the field labeled "Denomination" we recommend that you put "Non-Denominational" unless you plan on conducting the marriage according to the Tenets a specific religious denomination.
SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION TO THE WEST VIRGINIA SECRETARY OF STATE
Once all you have all your paperwork is in order you are ready to mail it to:
West Virginia Secretary of State
Building 1, Suite 157-K 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
Do not forget to include the $25 Application Fee.
APPROVAL OF YOUR APPLICATION WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA SECRETARY OF STATE
It should take no more than a few days for the Secretary's office to process your application. Once you are approved they should notify you of this via email.
You can also confirm your registration with the Secretary's office by using their Business & Licensing Search. Search for yourself by putting in your first and last name and selecting "Minister" from the select field labeled "Type".
Once you have confirmation that you have successfully registered with the Secretary of State's office you will have authority to perform marriage anywhere in West Virginia!
If you have further questions about the registration process you can contact the West Virginia Secretary of State at:
Phone: (304) 558-8000
Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm M - F
Step 3 LEARN HOW TO OFFICIATE WEDDINGS
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.
ASKED TO OFFICIATE | OFFICIANT TRAINING MANUAL
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.
Step 4 OFFICIATE THE WEDDING!
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.
COMPLETING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
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.
RETURNING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
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 West Virginia marriage licenses.
WEST VIRGINIA MARRIAGE LICENSE INFORMATION
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
Marriage License Fee
Marriage License Waiting Period
3 Days Before Completing
Marriage License Expiration
Marriage License Return
What Does Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return Mean?