The West Virginia Code §48-2-402 requires that all wedding officiants are required to register with the office of the West Virginia Secretary of State before performing marriage. The application process is straightforward and is outlined below.
How To Register as an Officiant with the West Virginia Secretary of State
The West Virginia Secretary of State provides the following guidelines on officiant registration:
- Applicant must be 18 years of age or older. Show proof by submitting a copy of his/her birth certificate, driver’s license, military ID or passport.
- Applicant shall present certification that he or she is authorized to perform marriages by his/her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization.
- Applicant shall present documentation that he/she is in regular communion with the church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization of which he/she is a member.
The application shall provide at least one of the following as a statement of his/her representation of a religious group;
- a. An official ordination paper from a church, synagogue, spiritual assembly organization, group or school showing that the person is an ordained minister for that group; or
- b. A letter or document signed by at least two members of a group stating that the person requesting to be registered to perform marriages ministers to that group and is in regular communion with that group.
REQUIRED ITEMS FOR WEST VIRGINIA OFFICIANT REGISTRATION
Below are the five items you will need to successfully register as a "Marriage Celebrant" with the West Viriginia Secretary of State:
- An Official Ordination Certificate
- A Letter of Good Standing
- A Completed West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Form
- Valid Government ID
- $25 Application Fee
Continue reading for step-by-step instructions on how to register as a wedding officiant in West Virginia.
STEP 1ORDER YOUR MINISTRY CREDENTIALS
Your West Virginia Minister Ordination Package contains all the required documents for successful registration with the Secretary of State.
- ✓ Ordination Certificate - Satisfies requirements 2 and 4a.
- ✓ Letter of Good Standing - Satisfies requirements points 3 and 4b.
- ✓ West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Form - Partially Completed.
STEP 2GATHER THE REMAINING ITEMS
While you wait for your package you can get a head start on the remaining items. You will need a:
- Photocopy of Valid Government ID - Driver's License, Birth Certificate, Passport, Military ID, or Birth Certificate
- $25 Check or Money Order Payable to the “West Virginia Secretary of State”.
STEP 3COMPLETE THE WEST VIRGINIA MARRIAGE CELEBRANT REGISTRATION APPLICATION
Your package includes the West Virginia "Marriage Celebrant Registration" application. This is a one-page piece of paper that should only take you a minute to complete.
The application included in your package is partially completed. Verify that the information on the application is correct and complete the remaining fields, including:
- Your County of Residence
- Your Birth Date
- Your Denomination - We recommend that you put "Non-Denominational" unless you plan on conducting the marriage according to the Tenets of a specific religious denomination.
- Your Signature
If there are any errors on the application, you can request a corrected one from us or print one out yourself.
STEP 4SUBMIT YOUR OFFICIANT APPLICATION TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Once all you have all your paperwork is in order you are ready to mail it to:
West Virginia Secretary of State
Building 1, Suite 157-K 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
Do not forget to include the $25 Application Fee.
APPROVAL OF YOUR OFFICIANT APPLICATION WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA SECRETARY OF STATE
It should take no more than a few days for the Secretary's office to process your application. Once you are approved they should notify you of this via email.
You can also confirm your registration with the Secretary of State's Business & Licensing Search. Search for yourself by putting in your first and last name and selecting "Minister" from the select field labeled "Type".
Once you have confirmation that you have successfully registered with the Secretary of State's office you will have authority to perform marriage anywhere in West Virginia!
If you have further questions about the registration process you can contact the West Virginia Secretary of State:
Phone: (304) 558-8000
Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm M - F
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 West Virginia Wedding Officiant Preparation Guide covers all aspects of how to prepare for a wedding ceremony.
PREPARE FOR THE WEST VIRGINIA 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.