(Closed) Ordained Online?! What was your experience?

posted 7 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
Member
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Hi,

The first thing you need to do is figure out if your state recognizes a online ordained minister. Not all states do. Then call your local county clerk (where you will be filing your marriage license) and confirm that they will recognize the online ordained clerk and if they would require any additional paperwork with your marriage license application.

As for website, Universal Life Church is a common one. That is the one we used when a good friends of ours got ordained online to marry us. It’s really easy! They just apply for it on the website, within the hour they get a email with their “certification”. That’s it! You can also request a paper certificate if your clerk’s office requires it.

I got married on Long Island, NY and filed my paper Upstate where we live.

Here’s a link to Kansas’s Wedding Law on ULC’s site

If you do a search on the boards you will find a variety of different threads with this topic.

GL!

Post # 4
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

all you have to do is enter your name and address, and universal life church will send you a certification.

Post # 6
Member
2792 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

My brother in law just got ordained through the Universal Life Church as well. We’re getting married in Maine, and all they asked for was to send his paper certificate in with the marriage license.

Definitely look the laws up online and call your Clerk’s office to be sure!

Post # 7
Member
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Our officiant (friend) got ordained online through Universal Life Church. He said it was really easy and almost instant. Now he is a card carrying Reverend!

Post # 8
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’d prefer to have a friend marry us than paying some random person.  I’m in NYC, anyone know if these online ordinations are valid?  I read a Times article from 2007 saying they likely were, but I just want to be sure.

Post # 9
Member
6824 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

A Girlfriend of mine is ordained from online, lol in fact she is one of my BM’s. She did my MOH’s wedding couple of years ago. She had to provide her license to the state she did the ceremony in. 

Post # 11
Member
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@nyc new bee:

Read my post above. It absolutely IS valid.

Are you getting married in the 5 boroughs? If you are there is a different application for NYC because NYC courts require additional information. That application is I believe $35 (all others are FREE).

I got married on Long Island which is not considered NYC so therefore did not need to pay for the NYC licensing for my friend.

Post # 12
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Gerbera: Yeah, in the five boroughs.  I read the NYC county clerk rules but it was unclear how “official” the minister of a religion, etc. had to be.  I know it’s different in NY State and Long Island, so I didn’t solely want to rely on your experience.

 

@MissMaine: Thanks!  That’s the answer, and probably the way I’ll go!

Post # 13
Member
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

@nyc new bee:  What the 2007 New York Times article said is, “In many other states, including New York, the rules about ministers ordained online are less clear. Often, even city, county and state officials are uncertain of the parameters.”  Wikipedia has the following references for New York:

  • Ranieri v RanieriPDF (11.4 MB) Marriage annulled on basis that ULC minister lacked qualifications under New York Statutes: no congregation and not appointed by head of ecclesiastical order.
  • Ravenal v RavenalPDF (3.56 MB) Marriage annulled on basis ULC minister lacked actual church or stated meeting place.
  • Rubino v City of New YorkPDF (1.94 MB) New York City right to deny license to ULC ministers upheld.

New York City has a procedure for registering your officiant, and apparently will not accept someone ordained online.  In other areas, the marriage will get processed.  However, if the status of the marriage is ever at issue in litigation (e.g., on death, divorce, or bankruptcy), you may find out decades later you were never validly married.  Personally, I would never use an Internet-ordained officiant without at least a basic civil ceremony for paperwork purposes.

Post # 14
Member
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@nyc new bee:

If you are unsure your best bet is to call the NYC Clerk’s office directly and get an answer from them.

@2dBride:

My Maid/Matron of Honor & I both got married by friends that got ordained via ULC. We both got our marriage certificates with no issues! 🙂

Post # 15
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@2dBride: Thanks for the info. Uh oh…

Post # 16
Member
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

@Gerbera:  The problem is that you will get your marriage certificate with no issues, but your marriage can be open to challenge years or decades later.  At least if you didn’t get the marriage certificate, you’d get warning that there might be a problem.  As it is, you won’t find out whether you have a problem until it is too late to do something about it.  See the Ranier v. Ranier cases above, in which the couple got the marriage certificate, but their marriage was later annulled due to the officiant issue.

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