A person who wants to become a wedding pastor can take one of two available routes. He can study theology at an accredited school and receive a degree in theological studies. This could take anywhere from two to 10 years of study, and college tuition. Another route to officiate at weddings is to simply buy an ordination. Many churches sell ordinations online, giving anyone who desires to become a wedding pastor the legal jurisdiction to do so.
Attending a university to study theology, and finishing the selected program ensures the student will have at least an associate's degree. Some theologians attend a university and study for up to 10 years to receive a Master of Divinity or Doctor of Theology degrees. Students who graduate with degrees in theology don't do it just to become a wedding pastor. They tend to minister to a church, or teach theology themselves. As a minister of a church, he is authorized to perform weddings.
To become a wedding pastor, or any type of pastor or minister, the person must be ordained by a church. This is a decision the church makes and the church gives the person the ability to perform religious and church functions, including officiating at weddings. Governments do not establish requirements for people authorized to perform a wedding. That decision is entirely up to the church's discretion.
Many churches will ordain anyone who wants to become a wedding pastor. A great deal of these ordinations take place over the Internet at the church's website. An applicant need only be a Christian who believes in God and accepts Jesus as his savior. For a fee, the church supplies the prospective wedding pastor with an identification card or certificate authorizing him to perform legal weddings in the United States.
Once a wedding pastor or minister, whichever name he chooses to use, has been ordained by a church, he needs to follow the requirements of the state to perform a wedding. The wedding pastor takes care of the necessary paperwork for the city or county where the wedding is performed. Usually, the minister must submit a marriage license to the county clerk within a set amount of days after the wedding. The time requirement for filing the marriage license is generally four to 20 days.