How to Officiate a Wedding in Nashville, Tennessee
A Nashville Guide for Wedding Ministers and Couples
A Nashville Guide for Wedding Ministers and Couples
If you’ve got your heart set on having that Southern Wedding, Nashville, AKA the birthplace of country music, may just be the perfect spot. (cue sound of banjo music playing)
The city has about as much Southern charm as you can pack into an urban center, without sacrificing any of the amenities you’d expect in a modern city. In addition to a long list of high-to low end venues, five-star hotel accommodations, delicious dining options and world-class entertainment, you’ll still find outlaw country, cheap moonshine, and pickup trucks jacked up so high you’ll get a crick in your neck watching them roll down the strip. It’s the best of both worlds.
Smashville, NashVegas, the Athens of the South, whatever you call it, if you’re fixin’ to plan a Nashville wedding, saddle up and let us show you the steps.
While some states require formal registration to perform a marriage ceremony, Tennessee does not, but you still need to acquire your ordination through an organization like AMM if you aren't on a list of approved government officials. As of the time of writing (November 2019), online ordained ministers are still able to perform marriage in Tennessee, pending a lawsuit opposing the state's ban on such weddings. So, if you are ordained with American Marriage Ministries, you are allowed to perform legal weddings in Tennessee. Check our Tennessee State Page for updates, as well as this page.
How to complete the marriage license
The couple must appear together at the Davidson county clerk’s office at 700 2nd Ave South, Suite 101 thirty days or less from the marriage date to sign the application in person and provide proper identification. Make sure to let them know in advance. To save time, they can fill out the preliminary online license request form here before they visit in-person.
AMM’s library of State Marriage Laws contains Davidson County marriage laws. The state allows the following persons to perform a wedding in Tennessee, according to the Louisiana Department of Health’s website:
(1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, or other religious leaders of every religious belief, greater than 18 years of age. (2) Current and former members of county legislative bodies. (3) County mayors/executives and former county mayors/executives. (4) Current and former judges and chancellors of Tennessee. (5) Current and former judges of general sessions courts. (6) The governor. (7) The county clerk of any state county. (8) Current and former speakers of the senate and speakers of the house of representatives. (9) Mayors of municipalities.
And of course, as an AMM ordained minister, you are legally allowed to officiate weddings under the designation of minister. We’ll help you through the process of gaining your ordination certificate.
When you visit the Davidson county clerk’s office to obtain your marriage license, don’t forget to bring both a government issued ID, like a driver’s license or U.S. passport, as well as a proof of social security number, like your social security card or tax document with the number listed.
The fee for the marriage license is $99.50 and cash, money orders and credit/debit cards are all accepted forms of payment.
The marriage license will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and is good for ceremonies performed anywhere in the state of Tennessee. Since the marriage license expires relatively quickly, make sure to plan ahead.
Marriage License Issuance Office: County Clerk
Marriage License Fee: $37.50 - $97.50
Marriage License Waiting Period: None
Marriage License Expiration: 30 Days
Marriage License Return: Within 3 Days from Wedding
The Basics -- Nashville is a dream, in terms of choices for wedding venues. A more casual couple may opt for one of the many quaint renovated barns, while couples angling for a more formal, fancy event, will want to take advantage of the dozens of historic chapels.
For folks looking for a real one-upper, Nashville is home to a number of grand plantation properties that are just dripping with opulence. A more modern couple will be delighted with the downtown venues available smack-dab in the middle of the city’s energetic nightlife. The options are limitless, so have fun doing your research, and seeing what is available at different price points.
When planning a Nashville wedding, be advised that this is truly a city that never sleeps. Every night, there is an endless list of activities from concerts to sporting events that can draw huge crowds, drive up the prices of accommodations, and even block roadways. So do your research about the goings-on in the city before choosing your wedding date and venue. If you must plan your event on the same day as a highly-attended event, just be sure that guests are aware to allocate extra time for transportation.
Transportation -- If you have a spread out collection of attendees, Nashville’s central location is just one more reason to choose the city for the site of your wedding; about 40% of the U.S. population lives within 600 miles of the city. It’s an easy city to get to by car, one of only six cities in the county that is the meeting point of three interstate highways.
Nashville is not known for having outstanding public transportation. The Metro Transit Authority provides hub-and-spoke bus system, but you may be better off using services like Lyft and Uber, which are well-established in the city. Downtown Nashville is also known for being fairly accessible for car, with an ample number of parking spaces available in parking garages, so renting a car is not a bad option for getting around the city fast.
Weather -- While you may think Tennessee would be hot year-round, the local climate has all four seasons. It can even snow in Nashville during the winter months. During December, the downtown area is decorated for the holidays, and is downright charming. If that’s not enough to sell you on a winter wedding, booking during the off season is a great way to save money. Plus, the city has a calmer vibe than during the spring and summer months.
The most popular time of year to visit between April and October when the weather warms up and the annual music festivities begin to kick off. However, the spring and summer are known for thunderstorms and can get quite humid, so keep this in mind if planning an outdoor wedding.