Rockford, Illinois Wedding Guide
Become a Wedding Officiant in Rockford as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in Illinois, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.
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If you thought you needed to head east to Chicago to find culture, good local food and fun things to do, you’d be wrong! But if you’re from Rockford, then you already know that. Same goes for weddings. There are plenty of unique spots to say your “I do’s” right in Winnebago County (and bonus: you don’t have to pay big city prices!)
Here in our guide, we have everything you need to know about how to get married in Rockford, including how to get your officiant-of-choice ordained, plus some extra tips on local wedding hot spots in town that you may not have known about! But before we get to the fun stuff, let’s get the legal to-do’s checked off your list.
According to Illinois state law, a marriage may be solemnized “in accordance with the prescriptions of any religious denomination… provided that when such prescriptions require an officiant, the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination.”
You can get ordained with us to become a minister with AMM. The process is free and takes just a few minutes!
The Illinois government does not license wedding officiants, so there is no need to register your credentials with the state. Once you have been ordained with us, you’re all set to start officiating weddings in Illinois.
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 the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain it from the clerk’s office, but just be sure to double check that they have it in their possession before you perform the ceremony. Afterward, you will help them complete it and notarize it correctly.
In Rockford, once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you have 10 days to return it to the Winnebago County clerk’s office to be filed. Then, the couple can be issued their marriage license.
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities.
First things first! Give the Winnebago county clerk's office a call between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday at 815-319-4250 to ask to have a marriage application emailed to you.
After filling out the application, you should email it back to the office with copies of both of your valid ID's and any other necessary documents previously discussed with the clerk you spoke with on the phone. Then, make sure to schedule an appointment to come into the office to pick up your marriage license in person.
When you go, just remember to bring:
At the end of your appointment, the office will issue you your marriage license, which your officiant will help you fill out on the day of the wedding.
Issuance Office: 404 Elm Street, Suite 104
Waiting Period: 24 hours
Expiration: 60 days
Return: By officiant within 10 days
For The Couple
You don’t have to head out to Chicago to find a killer wedding venue in northern Illinois. Check out our top favorites in the area.
If you’re a plant lover, then you are probably already a frequenter of the Klehm Arboretum & Botanical Garden and the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. But did you know that both of them also moonlight as wedding venues? Yep! Both offer various wedding packages for couples to choose from.
If hanging out with flora isn’t your thing, you might want to check out the Prairie Street Brewing Co. The more than 150-year-old brewery is also a wedding venue! You can say “I do” on its expansive dock that looks out over Rock River and bring the party inside to the malt room or the ice cellar.
Or, if you’re looking for more of a classic, all-inclusive wedding spot with a dancefloor, you might want to check out Franchesco’s Ristorante. The Italian restaurant guarantees not only great food, but a great indoor atmosphere -- perfect for a fall or winter wedding.
When choosing your venue, just remember that your Winnebago-issued marriage license is only valid within county lines. So if you want to venture outside of Rockford for your wedding day, you’ll have to obtain a marriage license in that county.
If you’re trying to save some money navigating around Rockford during your stay in town, the Rockford Mass Transit District is the public transportation operator for the metro area. Service is provided six days per week along 19 routes and several of these routes are also offered on Sundays. However, Lyft and Uber are great alternatives to the public transit system if you are trying to avoid renting a car, but want to get around town in a hurry.
The weather in Rockford is fairly typical Midwestern weather: cool and windy in the fall, cold and snowy in the winter, cool and wet in the spring, and hot in the summer. The best wedding months in the area are May, June and September, when the weather has reached a blissful, happy medium between extreme hot and cold temps. But don’t be afraid to choose an off-season month and opt for an indoor venue; you’ll be guaranteed to get a better rate on a venue.
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