Athens, Georgia Wedding Guide
Become a Wedding Officiant in Athens as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in Georgia, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.
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It’s hard to imagine a better place to hold a southern wedding than Georgia: the heart of the south, the land of peaches, belles and downhome cooking. If you’re lucky enough to call this place home (or you’re coming in from out of town for your big day!), be sure to take full advantage of all that this wonderful state has to offer couples.
Our guide has some quick tips that will help get your juices flowing on the wedding planning process, but also includes the need-to-know info on how to get married in Athens and how to get your officiant of choice legally ordained. It’s all here! Let’s jump into it.
Let’s start with the ordainment process. Never officiated a wedding before? AMM’s free online ordination is recognized under Georgia Code Annotated § 19-3-42.
Georgia’s state government does not require minister registration, so as soon as you’re done with the online process of signing up to become a minister with us, you are legally good-to-go to start officiating weddings in the state! Click here to get started.
We are also here to help officiants prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to perform a wedding ceremony is an honor, but requires a good deal of prep work! 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 off without a hitch.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
Writing and preparing for the ceremony will be the most time-consuming part of your job as an officiant, but you also have a responsibility when it comes to the legal process of the marriage, as well. But don’t worry -- this part’s easy.
On the day of the wedding, you just need to make sure that the couple has their government-issued valid wedding license in their possession, help them complete it correctly and notarize it, and discuss who is responsible for returning the marriage license.
Instructions on the marriage license itself will determine who is responsible for returning it to the office of the probate court (which will be either you or the couple, depending on the office’s protocol) and how to do so (in person or via mail.)
And that’s it, your job’s done!
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities. First, print out a copy of the marriage license application and fill it out with your spouse-to-be. The link can be found here.
Then, both applicants should head down to the county clerk or probate court’s office in any Georgia county to apply for the actual marriage license.
In Athens, the correct office is the Athens-Clarke Probate Court department of marriage licenses at 325 E Washington St, Suite 200.
* However, because of COVID-19, protocol has temporarily changed. Call the Probate Court at (706) 613-3320 to ask them if they are currently issuing marriage licenses and if you can make an appointment to come in and apply.*
When you go, just remember to bring:
If the couple has completed a premarital education program, the marriage license fee is $27. Without certification of a premarital education program, the marriage license fee is $67.
Following the ceremony, the completed license must be returned to the Probate Court that issued you the marriage license. With your application fee, you are entitled to one certified copy of your marriage certificate.
Normally, the couple can return the marriage license in person, but you may be required to mail it in because new protocols put in place due to COVID-19. Make sure to check with the clerk to see that their return policy is, and follow their instructions.
Issuance Office: 325 E Washington St, Suite 200
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 6 months
Return: by Couple
For The Couple
No need to head to Atlanta to find incredible wedding venues in Georgia! There is an abundance of options located in and around Athens for you to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:
If you’re looking for a truly elegant, centrally located venue, the Georgian Hall is the perfect choice. The historic building’s intricate tile floors, towering white columns and Palladian windows give the place an heir of Greco-Roman design true to the city’s name. Classic yet minimalistic, this venue is a universal crowd-pleaser.
You may have already been to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia to see its gorgeous flower displays and walk its picturesque trails, but did you know the property also hosts weddings? This is another amazing venue option right in town, perfect for nature-loving Athenians. The property even has a chapel onsite, although you can opt to hold your ceremony outside among the blooming buds if you desire.
Some other lovely venues of note are the Georgia Club, an exclusive-feeling golf club just 20 minutes outside of Athens, and the architecturally stunning Ashton Gardens, an hour away in Sugar Hill.
Remember, your Athens-issued marriage license is valid anywhere in the state (as long as at least one member of the couple is a Georgia resident), so feel free to branch out during your research.
Athens has a decent route of buses that were recently expanded, which can be handy for getting around the city center. Note that during the pandemic, many services have been suspended, so if you’re planning on saving some money by utilizing the public transit, be sure to check the county’s website for most current information. However, Lyft and Uber are always running, so keep these apps handy if you’re coming in for a wedding from out of town and you need to get around town in a hurry.
When choosing your wedding date and venue, be sure to keep Georgia’s seasons in mind. The Peach State has lovely spring and fall seasons -- which are perfect for outdoor weddings -- fairly mild winters, and hazy, hot and humid summers. By June, things really start to heat up and temperatures can climb into the 90s and sometimes the low 100s. In addition to the summer heat waves, there are also evening thunderstorms nearly every night in July and August. So, if you’re planning a summer wedding, you may want to consider an indoor venue in case of extreme heat or rain.
Early spring (March and April) is the perfect time for a wedding in Georgia, with average daily highs in the 60s and into the mid 70s. Fall is also a wonderful time to wed in the state. In September, the heat starts to drop off a little bit, and by October, temperatures return to the pleasant 60s. You may find that these two seasons may have higher venue rental rates, as they are the most sought after dates. But if you have your heart set on an outdoor venue, it’s worth it to pay a little extra.
Yes! AMM’s free online ordination is recognized under Georgia Code Annotated § 19-3-42.
You can use your marriage license all throughout the state of Georgia.
Yep! But something to note: If neither applicant is a resident of Georgia, the marriage license must be obtained in the county in which the marriage ceremony will be performed.
The license must be returned to the issuing county after the ceremony occurs.
When you pay the marriage license fee, you are entitled to one copy of the marriage license. Once you return the completed marriage license (after the ceremony) to the office of the probate court, a marriage certificate will be mailed to you.
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