How to Become Licensed to Perform Marriages

Updated March 23, 2017

If you are interested in becoming licensed to perform marriage ceremonies--otherwise known as a "marriage celebrant" or "officiate"--there are a few requirements you must meet before you can legally pronounce a couple husband and wife. Whether you want to perform a one-time ceremony for a friend or make it your new career, with a little research and patience, you can easily become licensed to perform wedding ceremonies.

Find out the marriage licensing requirements for your state. Although each state has its own requirements, many require marriage celebrants to be a licensed member of the clergy or an ordained minister.

Determine the route you will take to earn your license. Depending on your state, you will need to become a licensed civil celebrant or a legally ordained minister.

Apply with Celebrant USA to earn an official civil celebrant license. As a civil celebrant, you will also be qualified to perform funeral ceremonies, vow renewals and commitment ceremonies.

Become a legally ordained minister with the Universal Life Church if your state requires marriage officiates to be ordained ministers. A non-denominational program, the Universal Life Church offers free lifetime ordination that is legally recognised.

Check with the county clerk's office where you will you be performing the marriage ceremony to learn about any other necessary requirements. Some states require marriage officiates to send proof of their qualifications before the ceremony.

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About the Author

Jessica Saras is a professional editor and copywriter. After earning an English degree from Reinhardt College, Saras completed the summer writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. A natural-born writer, she has more than six years of experience in web content development. In addition to being a full-time copywriter, she writes articles for Demand Studios,,, and