How To Check If Wedding Officiant Is Legal

How To Check If A Wedding Officiant Is Legal?

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Organizing a wedding requires numerous responsibilities, such as selecting the ideal location and creating a delectable menu.

However, many couples must remember a vital aspect: ensuring their wedding officiant has the legal authority to marry them. So, how to check if a wedding officiant is legal? 

Drawing from personal experience, I’ll guide you through a simple process to verify your officiant’s legitimacy, ensuring a stress-free and legitimate ceremony. Keep reading.

8 Simple Tips To Check If A Wedding Officiant Is Legal

1. Check With The Local County Clerk Or Registrar

Office Clerk

You can check the officiant’s background and see if there have been any complaints by contacting the county clerk or registrar’s office. 

Officials must register with the local government in some areas before legally performing weddings.

2. Ask For Credentials

The officiant [1] should be able to produce an ordination certificate if doing so is required by law in your state. Reputable officials should have no problem presenting this information. 

Remember that online ordinations are accepted in many jurisdictions, but not all. Make sure you understand what types of ordinations your state recognizes.

3. Verify If The Officiant’s Ordination Is Acknowledge On Your State

Checking to make sure that your wedding officiant is legal is important. One tip is to determine if their ordination is accepted in your area. 

Look up approved organizations in your state through websites or with state government offices. Ask the officiant to confirm their ordination credentials. 

“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.”

– Sam Levenson, American Humorist

The state might require that the officiant has a license or proof of ordination to show you. But how can you ask someone to officiate your wedding?

4. Look For Reviews Or References

Check for online reviews or ask the officiant for references. 

If they have previously officiated weddings, the couples they worked with could provide valuable feedback on their legitimacy and professionalism.

5. Interview The Officiant

Two person having conversation

Make plans to talk to the officiant over the phone or in person. 

Ask for their credentials, view their license, and discuss any necessary paperwork they need to be able to administer the ceremony. 

Ask for references, their wedding experience, and how they usually conduct the ceremony. 

6. Experience

When looking for someone to officiate your wedding, you must ensure they have the necessary training and experience. 

Ask about their experience and background to make sure they are certified. Also, ask if they know your state’s relevant marriage laws. 

7. Check Professional Affiliation

Many legitimate officiants are members of professional organizations that set ethical standards for their conduct. 

So, check if they hold memberships in wedding organizations that stand for ethics and good conduct. The officiant’s website and business cards should have this information. 

“A worry-free wedding starts with ensuring your officiant’s legality; don’t let uncertainty walk down the aisle with you.”

Howkapow Gift Site

If your potential officiant is part of such an organization, it lends credibility to its operation. But what are the best gifts for an officiant who is also a family?

8. Written Agreement

Man Signing Paper

When looking to see if your wedding officiant is legally certified and qualified, get a written agreement that details terms and conditions such as payment due date, the fee for the services, and what is included. 

Most certified officiants will provide you with a written agreement, including experience, licenses, and references from past clients. 

Also Read: Simple Ways To Pull Off A Suprise Wedding


Does New York State accept ministers who are ordained online?

Yes, New York State [2] accepts ministers ordained online, provided they have a single-use permit described in the legislation. 

How much does becoming an officiant in New York cost?

The cost of becoming an officiant in New York depends on the county of residence and the type of ceremony you plan to conduct, with fees of around $25. 

But how much should you give to a priest for a house blessing?

Can anyone in Illinois officiate a wedding ceremony?

In Illinois, any ordained minister, state or federal, retired or active judge, and county clerk can legally officiate a wedding. 

A friend or family member can also perform the ceremony if they become ordained online through a recognized religious organization.

Is it customary to get a present for your officiant?

While it is not a strict requirement, it is considered a thoughtful gesture to show appreciation for your wedding officiant’s role in your special day with a small token of gratitude.

Check out these gifts for a retiring pastor here.

Who usually pays the wedding officiant?

Typically, it’s the responsibility of the groom to pay the wedding officiant, but in modern times, the couples getting married will cover the costs. 

On A Final Note

Ensuring the legal status of your wedding officiant is a critical step to guarantee a smooth and legitimate ceremony. Drawing from my experience, I recommend taking a proactive approach. 

Check with the local county clerk or registrar to understand your area’s requirements and regulations. 

Ask the officiant for their credentials and cross-verify them with official records. Additionally, familiarize yourself with your state’s marriage laws to ensure compliance. 

Following these straightforward methods, you can confidently select a wedding officiant authorized to solemnize your union.


Kimberlee Johnson
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