Cleveland, Ohio Wedding Guide
Become a Wedding Officiant in Cleveland as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in Ohio, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.
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Cleveland, Ohio came to be known as the “the Mistake on the Lake” when the Cuyahoga River caught fire due to intensive industrial pollution in 1969, giving this low-profile working class town a reputation that has been passed down (mostly in good humor) for decades. But don’t let this Midwestern city’s hilariously catchy nickname dissuade you from planning your wedding here. Cleveland doesn’t get enough credit for its countless virtues.
World class museums? Check. Top-tier universities? Check. Music scene? It’s only the home of rock and roll. Food and beer scene? Thriving! National sports teams? Got ‘em. Scenery? Well, beautiful. Cleveland has most of the same city amenities of Chicago, with more laid back, wholesome Midwestern feel, and a much more reasonable cost of living. Basically, it’s a great place to live — and certainly to plan a wedding.
We think you’ll be more than satisfied at the possibilities that the Midwest’s best kept secret has to offer. But before we dive into the juicy details, let’s get the logistics of the wedding, like the minister’s registration and the marriage license, out of the way.
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Ohio state law, an ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state may solemnize marriages. If you’re not already a licensed minister, you can get ordained with AMM. We are the only IRS Certified 501c3 Non-Profit that offers free online ordinations. The process is free, and takes just a few minutes!
Once that’s done, you will need to register with the Ohio Secretary of State before you can start performing marriages. The process is pretty simple and can be completed entirely by mail in 2-3 days. For more information on this part of the process, follow the link to our minister registration guide specifically for Ohio and scroll down to Step 2.
Now that the paperwork 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 sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double-check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
In Cuyahoga, once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The couple will take care of the rest.
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities. You can start the application process via the probate court’s online portal, which will give you a confirmation number upon completion that you’ll need when you go to visit in person. If you have trouble registering over the web, no worries. The court has registration kiosks available that you can use in person.
The Cuyahoga Probate Court office is located at 1 Lakeside Avenue West, Room 129, on the first floor. Both members of the couple will have to appear in order to continue the application process.
When you go, just remember to bring:
Note that you must be in the office by 4:00 p.m.
Issuance Office: 1 Lakeside Avenue West, Room 129
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by Couple
For The Couple
Lake Erie and the parks surrounding the city, known as the "Emerald Necklace," are part of what makes this city so great. So why not incorporate the stunning Northeastern Ohio nature into your wedding? A good place to start in your research is the Frohring Meadows, an expansive 290-acre nature park just half an hour’s drive from downtown Cleveland. Picture a romantic summer gathering tucked in one of its many ethereal hidden corners. Photos, maps, and instructions for obtaining a permit on the park’s website.
Or, if you’d rather host an indoor celebration, Cleveland has some very impressive options. The Cibréo Privato is one of the locals’ favorites. It’s a small to medium-sized venue in the heart of downtown Cleveland that oozes elegance from its gold walls, warm ambiance, and white tablecloths. Couples who’ve hosted their wedding here rave about its intimate yet opulent feel and excellent food service.
Of course, you can always for the classic — a ceremony at the courthouse. Cuyahoga County’s “Old Courthouse,” was built in 1912 and has a capacity for 400 guests. It exudes a classic, plus rates are pretty reasonable! It’s a timeless and elegant venue you won’t regret choosing.
If you’re from out of town, you may be able to get away with utilizing public transportation, which is pretty good in Cleveland. The RTA Rapid Transit system is the above-ground electric railway that runs from Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) on the West Side through downtown Cleveland to Shaker Heights on the East Side. However, the western and southwestern suburbs of Cleveland aren’t supported by the Rapid Transit, so if you’re traveling through there, you’ll want to utilize ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber.
One of the best parts of Cleveland is that it’s a city where you can enjoy four distinct seasons. The winters can seem long, but Lake Erie moderates the climate, keeping temperatures pretty cool in the summer and warmer than other areas of the Midwest during winter. There is moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall caused by the "lake effect,” so if you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland wedding, you’re in luck. It usually stays white from November to April. Fall and spring are also lovely for weddings in Cleveland.
The application for a marriage license must be made in the county in which applicant one or both of the applicants resides. If neither applicant is a resident of Ohio, the application must be made in the county in which the ceremony is performed.
Yes. In addition to becoming an official minister online through AMM, the minister also needs to register with the state. See Section 1 for more information.
No, you can use the marriage license as soon as the court approves your documents.
You can start the application process online in the interest of saving time, but if you don’t have access to a desktop, you can use one of the kiosks at the courthouse when you go to apply in person.
No, an appointment is not necessary. The office is open from 8:30 - 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, but make sure you’re in the door before 4:00 p.m.
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