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How do I become a recognized officiant in North Carolina?

If you’re interested in performing wedding ceremonies in North Carolina, you might be wondering how to become an officially recognized officiant. Unlike some other states, North Carolina doesn’t have any official registration or certification process for wedding officiants. However, there are still a few important things to keep in mind if you want to make sure your ceremonies are legal and recognized by the state.

Get Ordained Online

The first step towards becoming a wedding officiant is to become ordained. In North Carolina, there are several online churches and organizations that can ordain you for free or for a small fee. Some popular options include the Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries, and the Spiritual Humanist Church. It’s important to note that not all online ordinations are equal, so it’s wise to do some research before choosing an organization.

Understand North Carolina Marriage Laws

Once you’re ordained, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the marriage laws in North Carolina. According to the state’s laws, a wedding ceremony must be performed by an ordained minister of any religious denomination or a magistrate. Additionally, the ceremony must be witnessed by two people over the age of 18. The couple getting married must also obtain a marriage license from a county register of deeds office at least three days before the wedding. It’s worth noting that there are some additional requirements for getting married in North Carolina if one or both partners are under 18 years old.

Prepare for the Ceremony

As a wedding officiant, it’s your responsibility to create a meaningful and memorable ceremony for the couple. This involves working closely with the couple to understand their wishes and preferences, as well as helping them choose readings, vows, and other elements of the ceremony. It’s also important to practice the ceremony ahead of time to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day.

Performing the Ceremony

On the day of the wedding, it’s important to arrive early and be prepared for the ceremony. This means checking that you have all necessary documents, such as the marriage license, and ensuring that any equipment, such as a sound system, is working properly. During the ceremony, it’s important to speak clearly and confidently, and to follow the script that you’ve prepared. After the ceremony, it’s your responsibility to sign the marriage license and return it to the appropriate office within 10 days.


Although North Carolina doesn’t have an official process for recognizing wedding officiants, becoming ordained and understanding the state’s marriage laws are important steps towards performing legal and recognized wedding ceremonies. By taking the time to prepare and practice, and by working closely with the couple to create a meaningful ceremony, you can help make their special day one to remember.


Does NC recognize online ordination?

In North Carolina, there is a legal requirement for individuals who officiate at weddings under the state’s law. As of the time of writing, online ordination is not recognized in North Carolina. This means that for weddings to be considered legal in North Carolina, they must be conducted by a person who has obtained a valid religious or civil ordination through a recognized institution or religious organization.

State law defines a recognized religious organization as a group that is in compliance with the provisions of the federal code relating to religious practices and beliefs. According to the state laws, the ordained ministers of these recognized religious groups are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies within the state of North Carolina.

In other states, online ordination is recognized as a valid form of ordination. However, some states set additional requirements for online-ordained ministers, such as registration with a government agency. It is important to note that the laws in each state may vary and individuals interested in becoming officiants for weddings should research the marriage laws in their state.

As of now, North Carolina does not recognize online ordination, which means that online-ordained ministers are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in the state. Couples seeking to get married in North Carolina must have their wedding ceremony officiated by a person who has a recognized religious or civil ordination from a legally recognized organization.

Can a NC notary officiate a wedding?

In most states, notaries public have the legal authority to acknowledge signatures, administer oaths, and officiate weddings. However, the laws regarding notary publics’ power to perform weddings vary from state to state. In North Carolina, notaries public do not have the legal authority to officiate weddings.

North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 51, Article 1A provides the requirements for valid marriages in North Carolina. According to this statute, marriage ceremonies can only be performed by ordained ministers of any religious denomination, chiefs of federally recognized Indian tribes, and those authorized to solemnize marriages in a recognized religious society or federally recognized Indian nation or tribe. Notaries public are not listed as a person authorized to solemnize marriages in this statute.

However, North Carolina does have a provision for civil ceremonies conducted by a magistrate. A magistrate is a judicial officer who has limited powers to administer justice and perform civil marriages. Magistrates can perform marriage ceremonies in a courthouse or other government settings but not typically in private settings.

If you want a legal and valid wedding ceremony in North Carolina, it is recommended that you find an ordained minister or a magistrate to officiate your wedding. Notaries public are not authorized to perform marriages in North Carolina, so using their services to officiate a wedding would not be legally recognized.

How much does an officiant cost in NC?

In North Carolina, the cost of officiants can vary depending on several factors. If you are planning to hire a private professional for your wedding ceremony, the cost can range from $500 to $1,000. However, the cost of a wedding officiant can also depend on the location, complexity of the ceremony, and experience level of the officiant.

Some officiants may charge additional fees for things like travel costs, ceremony rehearsals, or customizing the ceremony to your preferences. Additionally, some officiants may require a deposit upfront to secure their services.

It’s worth noting that there are other options available if you’re looking to save money on a wedding officiant. Some couples choose to have a friend or family member officiate the ceremony instead. In North Carolina, there is also the option to have a magistrate officiate your wedding for a lower cost, usually ranging from $20 to $50.

The cost of an officiant in North Carolina will depend on your preferences, budget, and the kind of wedding ceremony that you want. It’s important to research and compare different options to find the officiant that best fits your needs and budget.