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What is required to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania?

Weddings are joyous occasions that bring together two people and their families to celebrate the start of a new chapter in their lives. A huge part of any wedding is the officiant, the person who leads the ceremony and facilitates the exchange of vows. If you have been asked to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania, you may be wondering what is required of you. In this blog post, we will explore the requirements for officiating a wedding in Pennsylvania.

Who Can Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, there are certain guidelines that must be followed when it comes to who can officiate a wedding. According to Pennsylvania law, any ordained minister of any religious denomination, or any person who is an ordained clergy member of any religious denomination, can perform a wedding ceremony. This includes online ordained ministers of the American Marriage Ministries.

One important thing to consider is that while Pennsylvania law doesn’t require officiants to register or file any paperwork with the state, it’s still a good idea to check with the county clerk where the wedding will take place to find out if they have any specific requirements. Additionally, there may be certain religious institutions that require additional documentation or registration for their clergy members to be authorized to perform weddings.

How To Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania

If you have been asked to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

1. Get Ordained – The first step is to become ordained by a religious organization. This typically involves filling out an application, providing some personal information, and paying a fee. Some popular organizations include the Universal Life Church and the American Marriage Ministries.

2. Meet With The Couple – Once you have been asked to officiate a wedding, you should meet with the couple to get a sense of what they want for their ceremony. This includes the type of ceremony they want, any specific readings or rituals they want included, and any other details that are important to them. This will help you create a personalized ceremony that reflects their wishes.

3. Write The Ceremony – Based on your meeting with the couple, you should write the ceremony and share it with them for feedback. It’s important to make sure that both the couple and you are on the same page about what will be included in the ceremony.

4. Rehearse – You should schedule a rehearsal a few days before the wedding to make sure that everyone knows what they are supposed to do. This is especially important if there are any rituals or readings that will be included in the ceremony.

5. File The Marriage Certificate – After the wedding, you should complete the marriage certificate and file it with the county clerk where the wedding took place. The couple will need this certificate to legally register their marriage.


Becoming an ordained minister to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania is relatively easy, but there are still important steps that must be taken to ensure that the ceremony goes smoothly. From meeting with the couple to writing the ceremony and filing the certificate, there are several important tasks to complete. By following these steps, you can help make sure that the couple has a wedding ceremony that they will always remember.


How can I legally officiate a wedding in PA?

If you are interested in legally officiating a wedding in Pennsylvania, there are specific steps you need to follow to ensure your role is recognized by the Commonwealth. In Pennsylvania, marriages are only considered legal if they are performed under a valid marriage license issued by a Clerk of Orphans’ Court, and the officiant must be recognized under Pennsylvania law as authorized to officiate.

The first step in officiating a wedding in Pennsylvania is to determine whether you qualify as an authorized officiant under state law. According to § 1503 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the following individuals are recognized as authorized to officiate weddings in the Commonwealth:

– Ordained minister of any religious denomination
– Minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation
– Judge
– Magisterial district judge
– Mayor or deputy mayor of a city
– President of borough council or Vice-President of borough council in a borough having a population of 3,000 or more or Vice-President of council in any other borough
– Superintendent, principal or head of a recognized Pennsylvania institution of learning
– Any individual authorized by a congregation or a body that is authorized by a congregation to solemnize marriages and who is registered with the Department of Health.

If you do not fall into one of these categories, you cannot legally officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania. Once you have determined that you meet the qualifications, you will need to obtain the necessary documentation to perform a marriage ceremony. This usually involves applying for and obtaining a certificate of authorization from your local county courthouse.

As an ordained minister of any denomination, the Pennsylvania marriage law recognizes you as an authorized marriage celebrant but requires registration with a Pennsylvania county to legally formalize the wedding union. While completing the county registration process is pretty straightforward, the requirements tend to differ across different county courthouses.

Once you have received authorization to perform a wedding, you will need to work closely with the couple to develop a ceremony script that meets their needs and preferences. The ceremony must meet all legal requirements, but there is also an opportunity to add customizations, personal touches, and religious traditions.

On the wedding day, as the officiant, it is your responsibility to oversee all of the legalities of the ceremony, including the signing of the marriage license. You will also need to provide the couple with a copy of the signed marriage license and ensure that the document is filed with the appropriate county office within 10 days of the wedding.

If you would like to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania, you will need to meet the qualifications outlined in § 1503 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and obtain the necessary documentation from your local county courthouse. You will also need to work closely with the couple to develop a ceremony script, oversee all legalities on the wedding day, and file the signed marriage license with the appropriate county office.

What is needed to marry someone in PA?

In Pennsylvania, before you can legally marry someone, you must obtain a marriage license from the Register of Wills. Both parties must appear in person at the Register of Wills and provide the necessary documents. Pennsylvania allows same-sex marriages.

First, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a marriage license. If you are younger than 18, you must have the consent of your parent or legal guardian to obtain a license. The consent must be given in person or by affidavit.

Next, you will need to bring a valid government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport. If you do not have one of these forms of ID, you can use other official documentation, such as a birth certificate accompanied by a photo ID.

Additionally, you must bring proof of any previous marriages or civil unions that you have had. This can include a divorce decree or death certificate. Furthermore, there is a fee for obtaining a marriage license, which varies by county.

Once you have obtained your marriage license, there is no waiting period before you can get married. However, the license is only valid for 60 days, so you must get married within that time frame. Once you have gotten married, you will receive a marriage certificate, which is the legal proof of your marriage.

Finally, it is important to note that a Pennsylvania marriage license is only valid within the state. You cannot use it in another state or country. In order to get married in another state or country, you must follow their specific marriage laws and obtain a marriage license from their government.

Do you need someone to officiate a wedding in PA?

In Pennsylvania, you do not necessarily need someone to officiate your wedding. This is because of the unique Pennsylvania license, which is a Quaker tradition. This license allows people to marry themselves without an official officiant, just witnesses.

What this means is that a couple can have someone emcee the ceremony as a symbolic but not legal officiant. The couple would still need to obtain a marriage license from the county where they will be married, and two witnesses would need to sign the license.

It’s important to note that not all states have this type of license, and some states require a registered officiant to legally marry a couple. Therefore, it’s important to check and follow the laws of the state where you plan to get married.

In addition, some couples may still choose to have a friend or family member perform the ceremony even if it is not legally required. Just make sure to check with your county clerk’s office or local laws to ensure that the ceremony will still be recognized as legal.

Pennsylvania offers a unique option for couples who want to marry themselves without an officiant. With a bit of research and planning, couples can create a meaningful and legally recognized wedding ceremony.