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Who can legally officiate a wedding in the US?

The United States is made up of 50 states, each with its own laws and regulations pertaining to marriage and who can legally officiate a wedding. In this article, we’ll dive into the specific rules and regulations governing who can legally perform a wedding ceremony in the US.

Member of the Clergy

In most states, a member of the clergy, which includes ordained ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders, can perform a wedding ceremony. The exact requirements for becoming ordained as a religious leader vary by religion and by state, but in most cases, it requires completion of religious training, approval by the governing body of the religion, and being officially recognized as a religious leader.

Once a religious leader is ordained, they have the authority to perform marriage ceremonies. However, some states require that the religious leader be registered with the state in order to legally perform marriages. It’s important to check with your state’s laws to ensure that your chosen religious leader meets the legal requirements to perform your wedding.

Public Official

Another option for a legal wedding officiant is a public official, which includes judges, justices, and magistrates. These individuals are appointed by the state government and can legally perform marriages within the state.

In some states, mayors, county clerks, and other elected officials are also authorized to perform weddings. Like with religious leaders, it’s important to check with your state’s laws to ensure that the public official you choose to officiate your wedding is legally authorized to do so.

Civil Celebrant

A third option for a legal wedding officiant is a civil celebrant. These individuals are authorized by state and local governments to perform weddings and other civil ceremonies.

In some states, civil celebrants are only authorized to perform marriages for couples that do not want a religious ceremony. In others, civil celebrants are authorized to perform any type of marriage ceremony.

Choosing a civil celebrant as your wedding officiant can be a great option if you want a non-religious ceremony but don’t have a specific religious leader in mind. Civil celebrants often create customized ceremonies that reflect the values and beliefs of the couple getting married.

Same-Sex Marriages

After the landmark ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex marriages are now legal throughout the United States. This means that same-sex couples can legally get married, and any of the above-mentioned officiants can perform their wedding ceremony.

Some religious leaders may not agree with or condone same-sex marriages, and therefore may decline to officiate such ceremonies. However, the legalization of same-sex marriages means that couples have the right to find an officiant who is willing to perform their ceremony and participate in their special day.


Choosing a wedding officiant is an important decision for any couple getting married. Whether you choose a member of the clergy, public official, or civil celebrant, it’s important to ensure that your officiant meets the legal requirements outlined by your state.

No matter who you choose to officiate your wedding, remember that your wedding day is a celebration of your love for each other and a reflection of the commitment you are making to one another. With the right officiant and a little planning, your wedding ceremony can be a meaningful and memorable start to your life together as a married couple.


What do you need to officiate a wedding in Indiana?

If you’re interested in officiating a wedding in Indiana, there are certain requirements that you need to fulfill, depending on the specific laws of the state. Though Indiana does not have any specific requirements for becoming a wedding officiant, there are still important considerations to take into account before performing a marriage ceremony.

Firstly, to legally perform a marriage in Indiana, you must be an ordained minister. Ordination is the process by which an individual becomes recognized as a religious official. This requirement applies to non-denominational and secular officiants, as well as those affiliated with a religious organization. If you are not an ordained minister, you do not have the legal authority to perform a marriage in Indiana.

One way to become an ordained minister is to join a religious organization that ordains ministers. A popular option is American Marriage Ministries, which is an online organization that offers ordination to individuals who wish to perform weddings. Other religious organizations also offer ordination, but you should check that the organization is recognized in Indiana before joining.

Once you have been ordained, you can legally perform a marriage ceremony in Indiana. Keep in mind that as an officiant, you have certain responsibilities. For example, you must ensure that both parties meet the legal requirements for marriage, such as age and legal status. You must also obtain and complete the necessary paperwork to make the marriage legal.

In addition to the legal requirements for marriage, there are also practical considerations to take into account when officiating a wedding. You must ensure that you are prepared to deliver a meaningful and memorable ceremony that is appropriate for the couple and their guests. You may need to work with the couple to customize the ceremony to their preferences and needs.

Though there are no specific regulations regarding ordination or registration for wedding officiants in Indiana, you must be an ordained minister to legally perform a marriage ceremony. You can become ordained by joining a recognized religious organization such as American Marriage Ministries. As an officiant, you are responsible for ensuring that the marriage ceremony meets legal requirements and that the ceremony itself is tailored to the couple’s needs and preferences.

Can a friend marry you in NC?

In North Carolina, couples have the option to have a friend or family member perform the wedding ceremony. This is known as having a “friendship ceremony,” and it can be a great way to make your wedding ceremony feel more personal and meaningful. However, there are certain requirements that must be met for a friend to perform the ceremony.

Firstly, your friend must be 18 years of age or older to be ordained as a wedding officiant in North Carolina. This is a requirement for most states, as minors are not legally allowed to officiate a marriage ceremony. There are many online services available that offer ordination for a nominal fee, and the process is quick and easy.

Once your friend has been ordained, they will need to obtain a marriage license from the county where the wedding ceremony will be held. An official marriage license must be obtained at least 60 days prior to the wedding date. Both the bride and groom must be present for the application process, and they will need to provide identification documents such as a driver’s license or passport.

After obtaining a marriage license, your friend will be responsible for performing the wedding ceremony according to the guidelines set by the state of North Carolina. This includes reciting the mandatory declarations, exchanging vows, and pronouncing the couple as married. It is important for your friend to research and understand the legal requirements of the wedding ceremony to ensure that everything is performed correctly.

It is entirely possible for a friend to marry you in North Carolina. However, there are requirements that must be met in order for the ceremony to be legally recognized. Your friend will need to obtain ordination, obtain a marriage license, and perform the ceremony according to state guidelines. By following these steps, you can have a personalized and meaningful wedding ceremony that is legally recognized in the state of North Carolina.

Does Indiana recognize online ordained ministers?

Yes, Indiana recognizes online ordained ministers to perform wedding ceremonies in the state. Indiana’s marriage law is very open and inclusive, allowing anyone who is ordained by a religious organization to officiate weddings.

Online ordination has become a popular option for individuals who want to become ordained ministers but may not have the time or resources to attend a traditional seminary or theological program. There are many online organizations that offer ordination to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in ministry or simply want to have the ability to officiate weddings.

In Indiana, there are no specific requirements for becoming ordained as a wedding officiant. The only requirement is that the officiant must be an ordained minister of a religious organization. This means that anyone who has been ordained by an online religious organization is recognized as a legal officiant and may legally officiate weddings in Indiana.

It is also worth noting that Indiana does not require registration of wedding officiants. Unlike some other states, Indiana does not have a process for registering or certifying wedding officiants. As long as the officiant is ordained by a religious organization, they are legally allowed to solemnize marriages in the state.

The state of Indiana is very open and inclusive when it comes to recognizing online ordained ministers. If you are interested in becoming ordained to officiate weddings, there are many online organizations that can help you achieve that goal and make it legal in the state of Indiana.