Getting married is a joyous occasion, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. One of the most important decisions that a couple has to make is who will officiate their wedding. In the state of Tennessee, there are various rules and regulations that need to be followed when it comes to who can perform a marriage ceremony. In this post, we will discuss in detail who can officiate a wedding in TN.
Regular Ministers, Preachers, Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, and Other Religious Leaders
In Tennessee, regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders of every religious belief who are more than eighteen (18) years of age and have the care of souls can officiate a wedding.
According to the Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 3, Part 3, Section 301, the following persons are authorized to solemnize a marriage:
– Any regularly ordained minister of the gospel, pastor, or other ordained clergy;
– Any judge, including any retired judge, chancellor, or magistrate;
– Any county clerk, in counties having a population of less than 120,000;
– Any mayor;
– Any trustee;
– Any member of the county legislative body;
– Any employee of the county or municipality if the employee is authorized by the county legislative body or the governing body of the municipality to solemnize marriages;
– Any person who is a notary public if the person is a resident of the state of Tennessee; and
– The governor.
Retired ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders who are over 60 years of age and have retired from the active ministry can also officiate a wedding in Tennessee. The Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 3, Part 3, Section 301 also allows retired ministers who have been ordained for at least ten (10) years to conduct a marriage ceremony.
If the couple wishes to have an out-of-state minister officiate their wedding in Tennessee, the minister must first obtain a certificate of permission from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office. The minister must provide proof of their ordination or licensing, and the certificate of permission must be obtained at least four (4) weeks before the scheduled wedding date.
Restrictions for Online-Ordained Ministers
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of individuals who have become ordained ministers through online programs. However, in Tennessee, online-ordained ministers are not allowed to officiate weddings.
In 2019, a new law was passed in Tennessee that prohibits ministers who have been ordained online from performing marriage ceremonies. The law states that the minister must have “a well-established congregation” to be able to perform weddings in the state.
In conclusion, getting married in Tennessee requires careful planning and preparation, and one of the most important decisions is who will officiate the wedding. Regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders of every religious belief who are more than eighteen (18) years of age and have the care of souls can officiate a wedding in the state. Retired ministers, out-of-state ministers (with a certificate of permission), judges, mayors, members of the county legislative body, notary publics, and the governor also have the authority to solemnize a marriage. However, online-ordained ministers are not allowed to perform wedding ceremonies in Tennessee. Couples planning to get married in Tennessee should ensure that their chosen officiant meets the state’s requirements to avoid any legal issues on their wedding day.
Do you need a license to officiate a wedding in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, there are no specific licensing or registration requirements for a person to officiate a wedding. This means that anyone who is legally authorized to perform marriage ceremonies can do so without obtaining a license or certification from any governmental agency in Tennessee.
In general, there are two main types of wedding officiants in Tennessee: those who are ordained or licensed through a religious organization, and those who are authorized by the Universal Life Church, which is an online ministry that ordains people of all faiths and beliefs.
For those who are ordained or licensed through a religious organization, they are typically authorized to perform weddings as part of their duties as a minister, priest, rabbi, or other religious leader. These individuals are often able to perform both religious and civil ceremonies, depending on their ordination and the requirements of the couple getting married.
For those who are authorized by the Universal Life Church, they can legally officiate weddings in Tennessee as long as they are in good standing with the church and have obtained their ministerial license or credentials. The Universal Life Church has been recognized by many courts and governments as a legitimate religious organization, and its ministers are often able to perform ceremonies in other states and countries as well.
It is worth noting, however, that some counties or cities in Tennessee may have specific requirements or rules regarding who can officiate weddings within their jurisdiction. It is therefore advisable for anyone who is planning to officiate a wedding in Tennessee to check with the local county clerk’s office or marriage license bureau to ensure that they are eligible to perform the ceremony.
While there are no formal licensing or registration requirements for wedding officiants in Tennessee, it is still important for anyone who is planning to officiate a wedding to understand the legal and logistical requirements of the role, and to ensure that they are authorized and able to perform the ceremony in accordance with the law.
Can a notary marry someone in TN?
Yes, in Tennessee, a notary public can perform marriage ceremonies. The law allows notary publics to perform marriages since the passage of Public Chapter No. 255 of the 112th General Assembly. This new law changed the language of the Tennessee Code Annotated, which now specifically includes notary publics among the individuals authorized to solemnize marriages in the state of Tennessee.
However, it is important to note that while notaries can perform marriages, they must follow the same rules as any other officiant. This means that they must be authorized to perform marriages within the state, which can be done by applying for a certificate of permission from the County Clerk’s office. Additionally, they must ensure that the couple holds a valid marriage license issued by a Tennessee county clerk before performing the ceremony.
Notaries performing marriages must also adhere to the standard requirements of solemnizing a marriage. This includes ensuring that the couple has consented to the marriage and that they are of legal age to marry (18 years old or older). If either of the parties is under 18, they must have parental consent or a court order allowing them to marry.
It is important to note that while notaries public are authorized to perform marriages in Tennessee, they are not required to do so. It is up to their discretion if they choose to offer this service. Additionally, it is recommended that notaries receive appropriate training specific to solemnizing marriages, as failure to comply with the legal requirements can result in invalidation of the marriage and potential legal consequences.
Finally, it is worth noting that this new law came into effect on April 28, 2021. Prior to this date, notary publics were not authorized to perform marriages in Tennessee.
What are the marriage laws in Tennessee?
Marriage laws in Tennessee are strict and have certain requirements that must be met in order for a couple to be legally married in the state. First and foremost, both individuals must be 18 years old or older to get married. The state of Tennessee does not allow individuals younger than 18 to be legally married without special circumstances and judicial approval.
In addition to the age requirement, both parties must also provide valid identification documents at the time of marriage. The most common forms of identification used are a valid driver’s license, passport, or a birth certificate. If your Social Security number is not printed on your driver’s license, then you will need to bring a Social Security card with you as well.
Furthermore, Tennessee has a waiting period of three days before the marriage license can be issued. This means that the couple must wait at least three days from the date of application for the marriage license to be issued. However, this waiting period can be waived if the couple completes a premarital counseling course that is approved and certified by the state of Tennessee.
It is also important to note that Tennessee does not recognize common law marriages. This means that couples who live together and present themselves as married, but have not gone through the legally required process of obtaining a marriage license and having a formal wedding ceremony, are not considered married under Tennessee law.
Finally, same-sex marriage is legal in Tennessee, following the Supreme Court decision in 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
The marriage laws in Tennessee require both parties to be 18 or older, provide proper identification documentation, and wait at least three days for the marriage license to be issued. Additionally, same-sex marriage is recognized under Tennessee law, but common law marriages are not recognized.