How to Officiate a Wedding in Missoula, Montana
Learn how to perform wedding ceremonies in Missoula
Learn how to perform wedding ceremonies in Missoula
It’s no wonder that so many couples choose Missoula as the location for their wedding. Big Sky Country is one of the most stunning states in the nation, home to Yellowstone National Park and more species of mammals than any other state. But its urban epicenter, Missoula, also has a lot to offer from a more cosmopolitan standpoint. You’re sure to find the perfect venue in the city’s diverse range of luxurious and rustic accommodations.
We’re excited you’ve chosen to have a friend or family member perform your wedding ceremony, and we’re here to help. First, let’s get the logistics of your special day in motion, so you can start planning a honeymoon getaway in a cozy Montana cabin on the lake. (Just remember to read up on bear etiquette first.)
STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Montana’s state website, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies:
- A judge of a court of record
- A public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages
- A mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace
- A tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group.
If you do not fall into any of these categories, no sweat. You can get ordained with AMM to fall within the priest or minister category. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
Missoula County may ask you to present documentation, which AMM provides for a fee.
STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Missoula County
Now that the easy part is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. If you’re stumped on what to do to prepare, you will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a great source of information to help you ace your first ceremony.
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
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license. Just double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
In Missoula, once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you’ve done your part. The couple will take care of the rest, so you can put your feet up and crack open a refreshing Montucky Coldsnack.
File for the Marriage License from the Missoula County Clerk's Office
You can start by filling out a marriage application online. Once completed, both members of the couple must appear in the Clerk of Court office at 200 W Broadway to sign the marriage application and pay the fee of $53 with cash, Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Note that no checks are accepted.
When you go, just remember to bring:
- State issued ID (i.e., driver's license or certified copy of a birth certificate or passport)
- Birth city, county, state or country of both applicants
- Father's first, middle and last name along with current city and state of residence
- Mother's first, middle and last name along with current city and state of residence
- State or foreign country where parents were born
Below is the fast info pertaining to marriage licenses issued in Missoula County for reference.
Issuance Office: 200 W Broadway
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 180 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- There is no shortage of different styles of wedding venues in Missoula. If you’re looking to get married in Missoula proper, you’ll want to check out the Loft of Missoula, which is a landmark social club with gorgeous wedding accommodations. For a less urban vibe, consider the Missoula Winery and Event Center which offers sweeping green views and of course, delicious wine, that will provide the ingredients for the romantic wedding of your dreams. But if you really want to capture the Montana spirit, there are a number of lodges available that will give your event that rustic aesthetic.
Transportation -- Be warned that winter snow storms can sometimes cause transportation problems in Missoula in the winter. If you’re from out of state, driving in these conditions could present problems. However, the city is pretty well equipped for these circumstances. You’ll be able to rely on Lyft and Uber pretty much year round, and public transportation within the city limits is decent.
Weather -- Montana is known for its cold and snowy winters, but Missoula’s are usually milder than the rest of the state due to its location to the west of the Rockies. Summers are sunny and dry, and spring and autumn are fairly brief. July and August are regarded as the best months to visit, as the temperatures are nice and warm and the tourism is moderate, so your best bet is a summer wedding.
What if I'm unavailable to apply for a marriage license in person?
In Montana, if you cannot apply for a marriage license in person, you can have your co-applicant or a legal rep act as your proxy.
Are witnesses required at my ceremony?
Yes. Two witnesses must be present at the marriage ceremony to sign the marriage license.