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2024

Wedding Officiant Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Introduction

    Planning a wedding is a lot of work. You have numerous tasks and responsibilities. Even if you opt to hire a wedding planner, your input is required for everything. One of the decisions you need to make is who will marry you. Choosing your wedding officiant can be a challenging undertaking.

    If you have a religious background and are a regular member of a church, synagogue or other house of worship, the choice is probably easy. But if not, you may want something less traditional. You can choose a professional or ask a close friend or family member if they would be willing to officiate the ceremony. These FAQs can help you make a decision about your wedding officiant.
  • What is a wedding officiant?

    A wedding officiant, also called marriage officiant, is an individual with the legal authority to perform wedding ceremonies. Local judges and clergy members commonly act as wedding officiants. But, nearly anyone can obtain the necessary certification to become an officiant, although requirements vary from state to state.

  • What does a wedding officiant do?

    The main role of a wedding officiant is to lead and perform the marriage ceremony. They must follow state law to ensure the union becomes official. Wedding officiants draft what they’ll say at the ceremony, often with input from the engaged couple. Some of their associated duties are signing and filing the marriage license.

  • Can you officiate your own wedding?

    Officiating your own wedding is referred to as self-solemnizing. This practice is only legal in a few states, including Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Kansas, Maine, Illinois, California, and Washington, D.C. The rules governing self-solemnizing in these jurisdictions differ. All states legally recognize self-uniting marriages that are properly performed in a state where they're permitted.

  • What do you call a person who officiates a wedding?

    A marriage officiant’s title depends on who they are and what they do. For example, clergy members are called reverend, father, minister, rabbi, pastor. Common titles of civil marriage officiants are judge, your honor, magistrate, or mayor. Friends and family members who get temporary officiant status usually have no title.

  • Who can officiate a wedding?

    The individuals who are allowed to officiate a wedding depends on the laws of the state where the ceremony is performed. Typically, most clergy members and certain civil officers can perform marriage ceremonies. Many states also permit other individuals to obtain temporary officiant authorization or to become ordained to perform a marriage.

  • Can a notary officiate a wedding?

    Public notaries may perform marriage ceremonies in only a few states. They include Florida, Maine, South Carolina, Montana, and Nevada. Of course, a notary may officiate a wedding in other states if the state they’re in allows individuals to become wedding officiants, and the notary follows those guidelines.

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