There are many ways to become a wedding officiant, which allows people to legally perform marriages. Some paths are long ones, where having this legal right is not the main objective. There are other very easy methods, which may allow someone to perform a marriage at any time or within a specific time frame.
Many different professions have the legal right to perform marriages. People who are ordained ministers automatically become wedding officiants upon ordination. Pastors of churches, whether or not they’ve received ordination, usually can legally marry people. Justices of the Peace (JP), military chaplains, and ship’s captains can also officiate at weddings.
Some of these officiants study for a significant amount of time to obtain their professional status. Ordination rules for priests, ministers and rabbis may include long study. JPs usually have legal degrees, and it takes considerable experience to captain a ship. The ability to officiate at a wedding usually isn’t the end goal of these professions, but it may be an added benefit.
Some churches may have special rules that allow people other than priests or ministers to perform marriages. For instance, church deacons in many Christian sects, who may be ordained, may be able to perform marriages. When people would like to officiate at weddings under the guidance of a specific church, they can check with their church to see if this is possible.
The quick paths to become a wedding officiant are surprisingly easy. The first is to check with the local county clerk to see if the office grants permits for a person to officiate at a wedding. This would allow anyone who wishes to officiate at a specific wedding to get a single permit to perform a single marriage. This right is not granted in all areas.
Another way is to apply online for ordination. This can be free or relatively inexpensive, and it means the person can be titled a minister or any other title that he or she chooses. When individuals are considering this path, it’s important for them to make sure that the ordination is legal. Again, checking state or federal laws can help determine legal status to perform marriages.
There are many Internet sites that allow people to receive ordination and become wedding officiants. Many of them don’t require specific religious beliefs and don’t charge for their services. Usually, application is done online and takes a few days to complete. When people want to officiate at a wedding for friends, for instance, they should apply a few months in advance with a site that will give them the legal right to perform a marriage. This gives plenty of time for ordination to be completed.