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Can anyone perform a wedding ceremony in Virginia?

The state of Virginia has requirements for who can legally perform wedding ceremonies in the state. This includes residency requirements and special licensure, depending on the type of ceremony and the location within the state.

Who Can Perform a Wedding Ceremony in Virginia?

In Virginia, the requirements for who can legally perform a wedding ceremony depend on the type of ceremony you’re planning to have. Generally, the following individuals are eligible to perform legal wedding ceremonies in Virginia:

  • Ordained ministers of religion
  • Judges
  • Marriage commissioners
  • Virginia civil celebrants

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.

Ordained Ministers of Religion

Ordained ministers of religion who are in good standing with their church or religious organization may perform legal wedding ceremonies in Virginia. This includes ministers of any religion as long as they are authorized by their organization to perform wedding ceremonies. Couples must provide their wedding officiant’s name and address when applying for a marriage license.


Virginia judges may officiate at wedding ceremonies anywhere within the state, regardless of their residency status.

Marriage Commissioners

Marriage commissioners are appointed by Circuit Court judges in Virginia to perform civil wedding ceremonies. Couples must make arrangements directly with the commissioner of their choice and provide their name and address at the time of their marriage license application.

Virginia Civil Celebrants

Virginia civil celebrants are non-clergy individuals who are authorized to perform a one-time ceremony in Virginia. Civil celebrants are only authorized to perform non-religious wedding ceremonies. Civil celebrants must be residents of Virginia and meet additional requirements as outlined by the Virginia Department of Health.

How Do I Choose a Wedding Officiant in Virginia?

When choosing a wedding officiant in Virginia, there are a few things to consider:

  • First, consider whether you want a religious or non-religious ceremony.
  • Next, think about whether you want a family member or friend to officiate, or if you’d rather work with a professional officiant.
  • Consider the location of your wedding – some religious organizations have specific requirements for marrying outside of their place of worship, and some wedding venues may have their own restrictions or requirements.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose an officiant who you feel comfortable with and who can create a ceremony that reflects your values and beliefs as a couple.

In Conclusion

In Virginia, there are specific requirements for who can legally perform a wedding ceremony. This includes ordained ministers of religion, judges, marriage commissioners, and Virginia civil celebrants. When choosing a wedding officiant, it’s important to consider your personal beliefs, the location of your wedding, and the requirements of your chosen venue. By taking the time to choose an officiant who feels like the best fit for you as a couple, you can create a wedding ceremony that’s memorable, meaningful, and legally binding.


Do you need a license to officiate a wedding in Virginia?

Yes, you need a license to officiate a wedding in Virginia. Virginia state law requires that all officiants be licensed by a Virginia court in order to perform weddings. This means that simply obtaining an online ordination will not suffice in Virginia.

To become a licensed officiant in Virginia, there are a few steps you need to follow. First, you must petition a circuit court in Virginia and request permission to perform marriages. After submitting your petition, you may need to prove that you are least 18 years of age and have no felony convictions. You may also be required to provide character references or other documentation to support your request.

Once your petition has been approved, you will be issued a license to perform marriages in the state of Virginia. This license is valid for the duration of your life, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the Virginia state courts.

It’s important to note that the process of obtaining a license to officiate marriages in Virginia can be time-consuming, so it’s important to plan ahead if you’re planning on performing a wedding ceremony. Additionally, if you’re not sure if you’re eligible to apply for a license or you have questions about the application process, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced wedding planner or attorney who can offer guidance and support throughout the process.

How can I legally marry a couple in Virginia?

In Virginia, there are legal requirements that must be met in order to officiate a marriage ceremony. The first step is for the couple to obtain a marriage license from any circuit court in the state. There is no residency requirement for the couple to obtain a marriage license, and both parties must be present to apply.

In order to apply for a marriage license, the couple will need to provide identification such as a driver’s license, passport or birth certificate. The couple will also need to provide their social security numbers and pay a fee, which varies by jurisdiction.

Once the couple has obtained their marriage license, they are free to schedule a wedding ceremony at a location of their choosing. The officiant chosen to perform the ceremony must be authorized by the state of Virginia to do so. In Virginia, anyone who is an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a judge, or a person appointed by the court to perform marriages may officiate a wedding ceremony.

The process of becoming authorized to perform marriage ceremonies is relatively simple. If you are an ordained minister, you can use your credentials to perform marriages in Virginia. If you are not affiliated with a denomination, you can become an ordained minister online through organizations like the Universal Life Church or American Marriage Ministries.

Once you are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in Virginia, you will need to ensure that you complete the necessary paperwork and return it to the circuit court where the couple obtained their marriage license. This includes completing the marriage certificate and obtaining signatures from the couple, the officiant, and witness(es) present at the wedding ceremony.

The process for legally marrying a couple in Virginia requires the couple to obtain a marriage license, for the officiant to be authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in Virginia, and for proper completion of all necessary paperwork.

How much does a wedding officiant charge in Virginia?

In Virginia, a wedding officiant may charge a fee for performing a marriage ceremony, as authorized by § 20-27 of the Code of Virginia. However, the fee charged by the officiant must not exceed $75 per ceremony, as stipulated by the same law. It’s important to note that this fee is not set in stone and wedding officiants may choose to charge less than the maximum allowable amount.

When selecting a wedding officiant for your special day, it’s crucial to ensure that they are authorized to officiate weddings in Virginia. In Virginia, an authorized wedding officiant can include a religious leader, magistrate, or any individual who has been authorized by a circuit court to perform marriage ceremonies.

It’s also essential to consider factors such as the officiant’s experience, reputation, and the level of customization they offer in their services. These can impact how much they charge for their services. Additionally, some officiants may offer additional services such as pre-marital counseling or wedding rehearsal services, which can affect their overall fee.

In the end, the cost of a wedding officiant in Virginia can vary depending on several factors, including their level of experience, the services they offer, and the complexity of the ceremony. However, the maximum fee that an authorized officiant can charge is $75, in accordance with § 20-27 of the Code of Virginia.