The Minnesota Statutes §517.5 requires that all wedding officiants must register with a county level government office before performing marriage. Depending on the county, you may have to register with the County Clerk, Department of Licensing, County Treasurer, County Recorder, or County Auditor, to name a few. Generally these offices will be located within or near the County Courthouse.
It is important to note that getting registered in one county gives you the authority to perform marriage anywhere in Minnesota. You do not have to register in the same county where the wedding will be taking place. This simplifies the wedding plans if you live in one part of Minnesota and the wedding is taking place across the state.
There is also another twist in Minnesota that is important to take into account. The officiant must be at least 21 years of age. Every other State in the Country has the minimum age set to 18. Good to know! So to reiterate:
A. THERE IS NO DEDICATED OFFICE RESPONSIBLE FOR MINISTER REGISTRATION
We mentioned this above but it is worth repeating. The type of office that is charged with minister registration varies from county to county. We use the term Government Registrar as a generic term for the various offices charged with this responsibility. The Government Registrar is usually the same office that issues the marriage license to the couple.
This office is typically located in the County Courthouse. Below are the most likely offices that handle minister registration:
- ● County Clerk
- ● Department of Licensing
- ● County Treasurer
- ● County Recorder
- ● County Auditor
For more specific registration steps you will need to contact the appropriate county office. We do not have a comprehensive list of government registrars. Check out Minnesota Official Marriage System should provide more information on which office you need to contact. BTW the acronym is "MOMS", isn't that Minnesota nice?
B. ALL OFFICIANTS MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE
Minnesota is the only state where the minister must be at least 21 years old before they are legally able to perform marriage. In every other state the minimum age is 18. Why does Minnesota require Wedding Officiants to be at least 21 years old? We have no idea. This is probably not going to be an issue for you but it is worth mentioning.
How To Register as a Wedding Officiant in Minnesota
Since minister registration is done at a county level the application procedure varies from county to county. Each government registrar's office has the latitude to determine their own registration requirements. Depending on the county, you may asked to submit any combination of the following:
- County Registrar’s Application Form (Depends on County)
- Application Fee (Usually $10)
- Government ID
- Your Ordination Certificate
- Letter of Good Standing
- Your Church's Articles of Incorporation (Depends on County)
Continue reading for step-by-step instructions on how to successfuly register as a wedding officiant in Minnesota.
STEP 1ORDER YOUR MINISTRY CREDENTIALS
All government registrars will require some form of your Ministry Credentials. This will be your either your Ordination Certificate, Letter of Good Standing, or both. It is also likely that you will be asked to submit your church's Articles of Incorporation.
Your Minnesota Minister Ordination Package contains everything you need to register with any office in Minnesota. Your package includes your:
- ✓ Official Ordination Certificate
- ✓ Letter of Good Standing - Signed and Notarized
- ✓ AMM Articles of Incorporation
Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by a church officer, dated, and notarized.
STEP 2FIND OUT WHERE YOU NEED TO REGISTER
While you wait for your package to arrive, find out which county office you need to contact. We recommend you start by contacting the office that issues the marriage license to the couple. They will probably be the office you need to register with, and if they are not they can point you in the right direction.
Once you know which office to contact. Call or email them and politely ask exactly what documents you need to provide to register as a wedding officiant in their county. You can say something like this:
"Hi, my name is [Your Name].
I am a minister of American Marriage Ministries. One of my duties is officiating wedding ceremonies and I have been asked to officiate a wedding in your County. My understanding is that as a minister I am required to register with your office prior to performing any marriages. Can you tell me what I need to do to register with your office?"
From here you will know exactly what documents you will need.
STEP 3GATHER ALL REMAINING ITEMS
By this point your package should have arrived. The remaining items you may need are:
- County Registrar’s Application Form - Once you know which county you will be registering with, find out if there is an officiant application that you need to complete. This usually boils down to a one page form that only takes a few minutes to complete. You may not even have to complete an officiant application. It all depends on whether this is something that the county requires.
- Valid Government ID - You will also be asked to submit some form of valid government id. Most registrar's will accept your Driver's License, Passport, Birth Certificate, Military ID, or State ID.
- Registration Fee - Finally, most registrars charge an application fee. It is generally $10, though this may vary by county.
STEP 4SUBMIT YOUR OFFICIANT APPLICATION
Once you have all your paperwork in order, you simply need to submit it to the registrar's office. By this point you will have spoken to someone at the registrar’s office so you should have a good idea of how long it will take them to approve your application.
APPROVAL OF YOUR OFFICIANT APPLICATION
Provided there are no complications your application should be approved within a few days.
As soon as the county registrar's office gives you the green light, you will have the authority to perform marriage anywhere in Minnesota.
Start Preparing for the Wedding Ceremony
Your next step is to learn how to officiate a wedding ceremony. If you have no experience, you are in good hands. Our Minnesota Wedding Officiant Preparation Guide covers all aspects of how to prepare for a wedding ceremony.
PREPARE FOR THE MINNESOTA WEDDING CEREMONY
You will learn everything from the format for a wedding ceremony, the names of the ceremony parts, how to write a wedding ceremony, and more.
Use Our AMM Wedding Helper
If the process of planning, scripting, and performing a wedding is daunting, then you need our Wedding Helper suite of tools.
We have distilled years of experience into an easy-to-use platform with training materials, quizzes, a personalized ceremony script generator, and tips to prepare you for performing marriage, all accessible through your minister profile.
That’s only the beginning. After the wedding, you can share your wedding on the AMM Wedding Wall with our nationwide network of ministers.