Beach Wedding - The Toast (Photo)

How To Become A Wedding Officiant

Let’s say that you’ve been asked to perform the marriage ceremony for your best friend or, perhaps, your favorite cousin. What’s the process you must go through to become a wedding officiant or ordained minister?

Photo of a wedding officiant performing a marriage ceremony

You don’t have to be a priest or minister to become a wedding officiant!

Basically, the person performing a marriage ceremony must be legally ordained by a church or religious organization. Becoming ordained means that you are licensed to serve as an officiant (or celebrant, or ceremonial minister) and may perform weddings and other rites, such as funerals, baby blessings, and vow renewals.

Need to become ordained to perform marriage ceremonies? It’s fast and easy!

Click here to find out how…

You’re probably wondering how complicated the ordination process is, and how many years of education and on-the-job training you’ll have to undergo.

We’ll get those two questions out of the way immediately: the ordination process is actually quite simple, and there is no educational or training requirement — except one, which we’ll get to shortly.

Ordination simply means that the organization has confirmed who you are, made sure that you are of legal age to perform a marriage ceremony (in most states, it’s either 16 or 18 years old) and that you are capable of witnessing the bridal couple’s signatures on their marriage license, which you are generally required to return to the issuing agency (usually the County Clerk’s office) following the ceremony.

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Celebrant Institute Training (Photo)

Ethics and the Wedding Officiant

As a Wedding Officiant, what professional standards are you expected to comply with? Is there a certain level of ethics you must meet in your day-to-day work?

For these questions, we look to the Code of Ethics and Professionalism established by the Celebrant Association International.

According to the association, the code was created “to uphold the highest level of service and professionalism … while promoting freedom of choice in ceremonies and promoting the values of the Celebrant movement.” Continue reading


ULC Ordination License Certificate (Image)

The Cost of Ordination: Becoming Ordained Online

How much does ordination cost? Here is our regularly-updated overview of several of the most popular Wedding Officiant ordination services, showing their fees and ordination terms:

CHURCH/RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION
LENGTH OF TERM
FEE
American Marriage Ministries Lifetime? $40
Christian Harvest Church Lifetime $78
First Nation Ministry  Two Years¹ $32
Open Ministry Not Stated $20.99²
United National Ministry Not Stated $89.99³
ULC Monastery  Lifetime? $39.994
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Vincent M. Mallozzi, The Wedding Reporter (Photo)

The Wedding Reporter

Vinny Mallozzi, The Wedding Reporter, On The Job (Photo)

Vinny Mallozzi, The Wedding Reporter, On The Job

Vincent M. Mallozzi — or “Vinny,” to those who know him — comes right out and says it:

I’m not a priest or a rabbi or an online minister — nor do I play one on television — and yet I have married thousands of couples from around the world.

And while I have never led an exchange of vows, generations of brides and grooms who once gathered before me have shown thanks by sending emails and postcards from their honeymoons, and, on occasion, invitations to their wedding receptions.

And while he’s not a priest or a rabbi or an online minister (and perhaps he should be!) Vinny’s “higher calling” is that of being the Wedding Reporter for the “cathedral of journalism,” The New York Times. He began his career as a sports reporter there, from 1986 until 2003, then transitioned to the nuptial news desk, covering some 6,000 weddings in the time since then.

So what’s the one question that causes nearly every bride he interviews to take a lengthy pause?

“My service comes complete with a query,” he writes, “that renders women of all tongues rather speechless: ‘Will you be taking your husband’s last name or keeping your own?’”

❤ Read the full article, along with a delightful video of Mr. Mallozzi at work, on The New York Times website.


Disney Princess Wedding Ceremony (Photo)

Wedding Vows … Disney Style!

Alan Katz of Great Officiants (Photo)

Alan Katz of Great Officiants

We’re unashamed to admit that we love Alan Katz of Great Officiants in Southern California — he’s built an outstanding life celebration organization that can provide its clients with a solemn ceremony one hour … and a zany Star Wars-style wedding the next!

(What happens the hour after that? We can’t wait to find out!)

In a recent blog post on his team’s website, Alan provided the recipe for an amazing themed ceremony that fits the Disney movie fanboy-and/or-girl couple to perfection: a reading that alludes to a plethora of memorable characters from Disney features, and how their traits add to the couple’s relationship.

Alan explains, “I have a lot of couples who are huge Disney fans, so I wrote this story on how to live like your favorite Disney character.”

Here are a few quick examples from Alan…

Like Carl and Ellie Fredricksen, your love can be epic. It can only go UP from here!

Like Jack Sparrow, seek your adventure to find what you treasure most — gold, pearls, and lots of rum!

Like Aladdin, even a lowly street urchin can find his princess by rubbing the magic lamp. Just don’t rub it the wrong way!

Alan’s Disney-flavored vows conclude delightfully: “Not everything is a fairytale in life, but when you devote your life to the one you love, you can live a complete life!”

Read Alan’s complete “Disney vow” article here.

Want to become ordained to serve as a Wedding Officiant? It’s quick and simple! Click here to learn more…


Bride and Groom Walking Downtown (Photo)

Are You Sure Your Ordination Is Legal?

In a recent article by church-growing expert Raul Rivera on the StartChurch blog, he asks a very relevant question: are you sure your ordination is legal? While the situation described in the article — whether the ordination of a minister by his former pastor is still valid — may be unique, the question of whether or not your ordination is legal, valid and acceptable in various jurisdictions is actually very common.

Pennsylvania Disclaimer of Liability (Excerpt)

In Pennsylvania, your online ordination credentials could be called into question. (Click to enlarge.)

Back to the blog cited above, which lays out the scenario:

Pastor Charles felt honored when he was asked to perform a wedding, especially since the bride and groom were his longtime childhood friends. They had all grown up together in the same Michigan town and attended the same church there. Later on, the engaged couple moved from Michigan to Ohio. They asked Pastor Charles to sign their marriage license and officiate their wedding in Ohio.

While your ordination may be legal, valid and acceptable in Michigan, using our example here, do you know if you can legally perform a ceremony in Ohio … or any other state outside your primary licensed area?

The simple answer is yes, but — unlike Michigan, which does not require Officiants to register prior to performing a ceremony — the State of Ohio does require you to register with the Secretary of State’s office in Columbus before the ceremony takes place, without exception.

Most ordaining organizations will provide you with the required forms to register with jurisdictions outside your primary licensed area (such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Minnesota, Louisiana, West Virginia, Maine and New Hampshire) for no additional fee. However, many organizations, including First Nation, will charge a small additional fee for the special documents and forms required to register in Hawaii, Nevada and New York City.

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Officiant Forums Launched!

Whether you’re a seasoned professional wedding Officiant, someone who is just getting started in the profession, or if you’re only interested in performing a marriage ceremony for a friend or family member, we hope you’ll join our Officiant Forum.

While we’re just getting started and the cupboards are admittedly pretty bare, we’ve invited several industry experts to get involved to provide answers and advice on training, ceremony prep, local laws and procedures — just about anything that might come up during your day-to-day work.

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Preparing To Perform Your First Wedding Ceremony

 

Officiant performing a marriage ceremony (photo)

Getting ready to perform your first wedding ceremony? We’ve got a few tips to help.

Getting asked to perform your first wedding ceremony progresses very quickly from “Sure, I’ll do it!” to “Yipes, what do I actually do?”

A wedding ceremony is a beautiful but complex thing. As the designated Officiant, you may not have realized it before, but you’re in charge. It’s the bridal couple’s show, but you’re guiding them through the ceremony. Once you arrive at the altar (or the other designated spot where the vows will be spoken) you’re running things.

What things? Every thing. When you officiate a marriage ceremony, you’re essentially hosting and narrating the program — you are literally the master of ceremonies! Speak in a voice that everyone can hear, even those in the back row — and especially great grandma in the second row. She doesn’t want to miss a word!

The bridal couple will be following your lead, so make sure that every “repeat after me” is followed by short and simple vows for each of them to repeat. Test it out on yourself, because if you can’t remember more than four or five tongue-twisting words to repeat (with your nerves frayed, and a big audience of family and friends staring at you) neither will the couple!

But that’s not everything

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