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Grand Rapids, Michigan Wedding Guide

Become a Wedding Officiant in Grand Rapids as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in Michigan, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.

  1. How To Officiate Weddings in Grand Rapids
  2. How To Get Married in Grand Rapids
  3. Grand Rapids Weddings FAQ

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How to Officiate a Wedding in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Happy Wedding

So, you’re getting hitched in Grand Rapids! (Or, perhaps you have been asked to officiate a ceremony!) Either way, you have come to the right place. Western Michigan has four beautiful seasons and vast array of venues, so whatever your vision for your wedding day, it can come alive in the Great Lake state.

 

We know there’s a lot to do, whether you're getting ready to embark on the big walk down the aisle, or you’ve been tasked with performing the ceremony itself. First, let us help you get the legal to-dos out of the way so that you can focus on the fun stuff.




Michigan Wedding Tips and Tricks

Become a Wedding Officiant

For The
Wedding Officiant

Step 1: Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries

 

If you have been asked to officiate a wedding ceremony, first of all, congratulations! Being asked to officiate a wedding is a true honor and a whole lot of fun. 

 

If you’ve never performed as an officiant before, you must first become an ordained minister of the gospel recognized by a church in Michigan. American Marriage Ministries’ free online ordination gives you the legal authority to officiate weddings in the state. You can get signed up in just a few minutes!

 

Michigan does not license, register, or certify ministers or wedding officiants, so no registration with the government is required. Once you’re signed up with us, you’re good to go.

 

Step 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Kent County

 

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.

 

Step 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License

 

On the wedding day, in addition to performing the ceremony, you are also responsible for helping the couple to complete and notarize the marriage license correctly. It is their responsibility to obtain it from the county clerk’s office before the day of the wedding.

 

Your job is to fill in the spaces of the certificate left blank for the entry of the time and place of the marriage, the names and residences of two witnesses, and sign  that the marriage has been performed by you. Then, you’ll simply separate the duplicate license and certificate, and hand over the half part designated duplicate to the couple.

 

Afterward, according to MCL 551.104, the notarized marriage license must be returned to the county clerk’s office within 10 days of the ceremony by the officiant. Make sure it is filed within that time frame so that the couple doesn’t have to pay extra fees or reapply for a new marriage license in the event that it’s late.



Michigan Wedding

How To Get Married in Grand Rapids

For The
Couple

Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities!

 

You can start the marriage license application process on the Kent county website here. It will ask you to provide information about you, your partner, your parents, and your partner’s parents.

 

In three days, you can go to the county clerk’s office to pick up your physical application. When you go, you’ll need to provide the following documents for each member of the couple:

 

  • Unexpired driver’s license or a state-issued ID card showing your current address
  • Birth certificate (only birth certificates issued by a government office, not the original hospital certificate)
  • Social Security Card (or just your social security number) 

 

Once you pick up your marriage license, you are all set to get hitched! You have 30 days to have your ceremony before it comes invalid. Your officiant will help you fill it out on the day of the wedding and will be responsible for returning it to the county clerk’s office within 10 days.

Kent County Marriage License Info

Important Facts to know before filing for a marriage license in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Issuance Office: 300 Monroe Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI
Fee: $20-$30* 
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: 33 days from the application date
Return: by couple or officiant within 10 days

 

*$20 for in-state residents and $30 for out-of-state applicants.

Grand Rapids Wedding Tips and Tricks

Wedding Venue and Planning Tips

For The Couple
& Officiant

Choosing Your Wedding Date

 

They say that in Michigan, it’s tough to pick a favorite season. Autumns are bursting with color and foliage and its daytime temperatures hover in the pleasant 60s. Winters aren’t as bad as you might think. The regular snowfall creates a winter wonderland from November to April, with average daytime temps usually above freezing. In spring, both the landscape and the people come alive. By May, temperatures will rise into the 60s and 70s. Wildflowers bloom from the hillsides and locals reemerge from local taverns to enjoy the beautiful weather. The peak of the summer heat is usually in July, but doesn’t usually get over 90 and there is rarely precipitation. 

 

June, July, August and September are all popular months for weddings in the state, but some couples prefer to embrace the beautiful winter season (and the awesome rates that vendors will offer couples that get married during off season!)

 

Grand Rapids’ calendar is chock full of fun events and festivals throughout the year, which is part of what makes it such a great place to live, but you don’t want to end up booking your wedding day on top of one of its highly attended events, like the Winter Beer Festival, the Festival of Arts or Founders Fest. So, before committing to a wedding date and location, be sure to check on some of the local calendars to see if there are any events scheduled closeby the venue you’re considering.

 

Wedding Locations

 

DeVos Place, The Ballroom at McKay and the Atrium at Uccello’s are some of the highest rated and most conveniently located wedding venues if you’re looking for a venue in the central downtown area. But since your Kent County-issued marriage license is valid anywhere in the state, why not explore your options a bit further? We have a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

 

At Camp Blodgett on the Big Lake, you can rent the Loeks Retreat Center for the whole weekend, which includes use of the dining room, kitchen, deck, a room for the bridal party to get ready, all eight private lodging rooms, which can sleep about 48 people, plus a king bed room for the couple. All of the rooms have gorgeous views of the lake. What a memorable, fun way to start your life with your new partner -- with an epic camping trip with your squad!

 

If you like the idea of a rustic venue on the lake but you’re looking for a step above camping, Khardomah Lodge or the Yacht Basin Conference Center -- both less than an hour from Grand Rapids -- may appeal to you. 

 

If you’re not feeling the downtown scene or a lakeside wedding, western Michigan has plenty of other alternatives, like the Black River Barn. While the property is in the middle of the countryside, the main facility can hardly be described as a barn. Its high ceilings and ornate chandeliers breathe elegance. The Barn at Stanton Crossing is another option with a bit more of a rustic feel.  Both charming options a short drive from Grand Rapids. 

 

Transportation

 

It’s easiest to get around in Grand Rapids by car,  but the city also has a great public transportation system. The bright pink downtown area shuttle known as DASH runs two routes through the city center, hitting every stop every eight minutes. No ticket or pass is required! There’s also the city’s bus system, the Rapid, which has some convenient, high-frequency routes. Check out their route map here. But if you’re coming in from out of town and you don’t want to mess with renting a car or using the public transit, there’s always Lyft and Uber to fall back on, which are both available in town.




Grand Rapids Officiant FAQ

Grand Rapids Officiant & Couples FAQ

For The Couple
& Officiant


Once I register to become ordained through AMM, do I need to register my credentials with the state of Michigan?

No, the state government does not require ministers to register their credentials with any office. Once you have registered with AMM, you are ready to perform weddings in Michigan.

 

To apply for the marriage license, do both members of the couple need to be present at the county clerk’s office?

No, it is not required, as long as the one that comes in person has all the required documents of both applicants with them.

 

Can we get married the same day that we apply?

No, there is a three-day waiting period.

 

Can we use our Kent County issued marriage license elsewhere in Michigan?

Yes, you can choose to host your wedding anywhere in the state!

 

Does our marriage license expire?

Yes. Once you apply for your marriage license online, you have 33 days to use your marriage license. Since there is a mandatory three-day waiting period between the date of your application and the first day you can pick it up from the office, you actually have 30 days to hold your ceremony. Once the ceremony has been performed, you have 10 days to return it to the county clerk’s office for filing according to Michigan law.

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Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Need inspiration? Check out our free ceremony scripts!

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