Yes, in 47 of our 50 states. Online ordinations are widely recognized, with Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee being notable holdouts. Check your local law. Some states require your ordination credential to be filed, so be sure to check with your county. What about other countries? At the time of this writing, online ordinations have been recognized in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.
Many couples are now having their ceremonies officiated by a close friend or family member, assuming their ceremony will be nonreligious. Maybe you’ve seen the ads in the back of a Rolling Stone magazine offering online or mail-in ordinations? There are plenty of celebrity wedding officiants out there.
Many times the ceremony is officiated by someone who barely knows the couple, whether clergyman or justice of the peace, and so the words are often generic and lame. Officiating a wedding is no small thing. Hopefully you’re comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, and will be able to rise to the importance of the occasion. My advice is to be careful with sarcasm during the ceremony and anything that might offend.
You may be wondering how you should dress to officiate a wedding. Men should normally be wearing a suit. I always ask the couple what their colors flowers, dresses and ties are, so I can coordinate with my tie/suit combo.
A female officiant should probably wear something a fairly conservative guest might be wearing. No hot pink or anything that shows too much skin. You don’t want to take attention away from the bride. A dark dress, accented with tasteful jewelry is a great choice. If the groomsmen are wearing tuxedos, match their vibe and dress for a charity gala. If it’s a morning or early afternoon ceremony and the groomsmen aren’t wearing jackets or ties, dress down too. If you’re appearance is markedly different from the couple and their bridal party, you’ll distract from the couple and potentially hurt your confidence and stage presence.
Officiating a wedding ceremony as a personal friend of the couple’s can be a wonderfully memorable experience. You can help make their big day even more special.
Get ordained online and become a wedding officiant at any one of these three sites, The Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries, or GetOrdained.org.
You might not have to buy your ordination credential after becoming ordained. Call your county clerk’s office to see if your municipality requires you to file anything. Many counties do not, so you can save a few bucks by not buying the card that says you’re an ordained minister.
Some of these online churches offer ceremony material, but the material is standard and lame. Contemporary wedding ceremony material is hard to come by, which is how I feel I’m making a difference.