(Closed) Family member/friend officiate? Legality and how did it go?

posted 11 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
2018 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

the legality differs in each state. if you can go this route, most people use universal life church.

Post # 4
1415 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We my husband’s best friend marry us.  He had already done a couple of other weddings, so he had the online ministry paperwork.  We wrote our own ceremony, he performed most of it, and that was that.  Just make sure you contact the COUNTY where you will be married and ask if they accept Universal Life, or whatever you use.

Post # 6
1139 posts
Bumble bee

We had my uncle marry us.  It was awesome.  In addition to knowing us both he went to seminary school as well so it was perfect for us.  In Massachusetts it’s actually SUPER easy.  You can get a one day marriage designation license granted by the state.. so you don’t actually have to go through the process of getting ordained.  We just had to fill out a form, have him sign it, and pay $25.  He was then legal to perform only our marriage, and sign the marriage license which was filed with the county clerk.  I would check with your governors office or local county clerk to see if Connecticut has a similar option.

Post # 7
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

We are having our God Parent marry us. She just did all the classes online and got her little certificate thingy. She can now legally sign our paper work and what not. By The Way, I’m located in California.

Post # 8
740 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

You should call your local clerk of courts to find out what the laws say/mean.

My best friend found out kinda late that her aunt who is ordained through an online ministry, couldn’t legally marry them in NC.  So we went to the jail (the only place in her county with a 24 hr magistrate) and had them legally married after midnight the day they were getting married so the day they legally got married would be the same as when they had thier ceremony.  They still had her aunt officiate it and nobody knew except me, the best man, and her parents and aunt.  They never even told the in-laws.

Post # 9
4460 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@PinkBubbleGum: Check your state laws. PA will not honor an officiant who got the certificate online UNLESS he/she has a congregation. My way around that? I’m Buddhist and PA has a self marriage lic. if you practice a religion that has no leader. Quakers and Bahá’í for example. We’ve called our county clerk and they said we would be able to apply for a self marriage lic. So we don’t need a third party present though we are still going to have my friend read the ceremony.

Here are the rules in your stateL

Officiants: All ordained or licensed clergymen belonging to this state or any other state may perform marriages as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. Marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the city or town clerk.


Post # 10
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We had my husband’s uncle officiate, but we lucked out as he is also a Justice of the Peace. I do think having a close family member do the ceremony made the ceremony much more meaningful for everyone, and would encourage you to use it if it is an option to you. My advice is to call or visit your local county clerk and ask them what needs to be done specifically in your case. Our office was very friendly and helpful.

Post # 11
4211 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We had DHs childhood friend officiate for us. He got ordained online through the Universal Life Church Ministry. It was totally legal (we are married lol) and it went REALLY well. I wrote the ceremony myself and gave it to him a couple months before our wedding. He practiced A LOT. Our guests said you would have never been able to tell that he had never done a wedding before!

ETA – we got married in Georgia

Post # 12
5 posts
  • Wedding: January 2011

My sister in law is preforming my ceremony and I know that it is legal but she also obtained the licence online. we live in New York… Ps for those of you who wrote your ceremony any tips?

Post # 12
2 posts
  • Wedding: June 1992

I know this is an older thread, but I had to weigh on anyone trying to figure out if doing this is wise. I just wrote a blog post not long ago about considering having a friend officiate their wedding. I hope you read it.

I am a professional wedding officiant, and I want to make sure that your wedding is a great one. Quite often it is the screwing up of the marriage license that goes wrong, but other times, it is experience that makes the difference between a professional and a pal.

Post # 13
274 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

For CT, Check the county where your ceremony is going to take place. You can just call the clerks office.

I believe they have to be some form of clergy but that’s still very broad.

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