Virginia Officiant Government Registration Requirements

Learn what the marriage officiant registration requirements are in Virginia. This page covers everything you need to know to legally officiate wedding ceremonies in Virginia.


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10 Useful Officiant Registration Facts


Who can officiate weddings in Virginia?

" All marriages heretofore solemnized outside this Commonwealth by a minister authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in this Commonwealth, under a license issued in this Commonwealth, and showing on the application therefor the place out of this Commonwealth where said marriage is to be performed, shall be valid as if such marriage had been performed in this Commonwealth. "
Code of Virginia § 20-37.1


Are online ordained ministers recognized in Virginia?

Minister registration in Virginia is done at the county level. Though there are no laws forbidding online ordained ministers from officiating weddings, select individuals in the Virginia Government have made it inordinately difficult for online ordained ministers to successfully register. Continue reading for more information.


Am I as the minister officiant required to register with the Virginia Government?

Yes. All officiants in Virginia must register with a County Clerk before they officiate a wedding.


What Virginia office handles officiant registration?

The County Clerk in Virginia is responsible for officiant registration.


How old do I have to be to officiate a wedding in Virginia?

All Wedding Officiants in Virginia must be at least 18 years old.


Does my residency affect the registration process?

No. Your state or country of residence is irrelevant to the officiant registration process in Virginia.


Do I need to complete a government application before officiating a wedding?

Maybe. This is up to the discretion of each County Clerk.


Do I need to submit proof of my ministry credentials to the Virginia government?

Depends on the County. In most counties you are required to submit an official copy of your Ministry Credentials to the County Clerk.


How much does the officiant registration process cost in Virginia?

It will cost you about $50 to register as a wedding officiant in Virginia.


How long does it take to register as a wedding officiant in Virginia?

Depends. We recommend that you begin your registration at least 90 days before the wedding.

What are the Wedding Officiant Registration Requirements in Virginia?

Since May 24th, 2010, many County Clerks in Virginia have systematically denied ministers ordained by way of the internet the right to perform marriage. Many clerks cite a letter written by an Opinions Counsel of the Attorney General's Office as justification to refuse the review of applications from ministers ordained online.

While some County Clerks may agree with the opinions expressed within the Opinions Counsel letter, it is not settled case law and as defined by Virginia Code § 2.2-505, it carries no legal weight. County Clerks do not have the authority to judge the validity of your credentials or implement their interpretation of the law.

It is our position that all ministers have the right to perform marriage in Virginia. Officiant registration can be complicated, but there are County Clerks that do not discriminate and will happily process the applications of AMM Ministers.

American Marriage Ministries has instituted a policy of providing ministers with all the appropriate documents for registration at no cost. Contact us if you would like to attempt to register to perform a marriage in Virginia.

It is important to note: As long as you are registered in a different County of Virginia, you do not need to register with the local County Clerk's office or the office that issues the marriage license to the couple. Authorization from any county grants you the authority to perform marriage throughout Virginia.

All Officiants Are Required to Register with a County Clerk

Before performing marriage, you are required to register with a County Clerk's office. This is the same office that issues the marriage license to the couple. You do not need to register with the same office that issues the marriage license to the couple. Successful registration with one Clerk grants you the authority to perform marriage anywhere in Virginia.

This mean that if you are experiencing discrimination while attempting to register with one office we recommend that you apply with a different County Clerk's office. As there are 95 Counties in Virginia, there are many options available to you.

Registration as a Wedding Officiant in Virginia

As ministerial registration is done at the county level, the application fee and registration requirements vary. We recommend that you contact a few Clerks office to get the specifics of their registration procedure, and a sense of how receptive they would be to your registration.

Once you are clear what is required of you and you still wish to continue with the registration process we recommend that you order your Virginia Minister Ordination Package. Your package for Virginia is free and includes your official ministerial records along with AMM Church Documents. Additionally, your package contains wedding training materials.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions on any of the forms provided by the Clerk.

An Alternative to Officiant Registration in Virginia

You can still conduct the wedding ceremony even if you find it too difficult to be approved by a Clerk's office. The only thing you will not legally be able to do is sign the marriage license.

The Virginia government has no authority over the ceremony, only the marriage license. The marriage license can be completed at the courthouse, separating that from the wedding celebration, which you can still conduct.

We understand that this is not an ideal situation. However this is a viable path until there are positive developments in ending discrimination against online ordained ministers in Virginia.

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 Virginia Wedding Officiant Preparation Guide covers all aspects of how to prepare for a 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.


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