How can I get certified to officiate a wedding in South Carolina or North Carolina?
August 12, 2010 5:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I get certified to officiate a wedding in South Carolina or North Carolina?

My friends are getting married and are planning on having their wedding in either North or South Carolina. They have asked if I will officiate their wedding. I have searched a bit but I have gotten a lot of conflicting information on what my options are, if any at all. How does one become able to officiate a wedding in North and South Carolina. I would like to know for both states as my friends haven't decided in which they will hold the wedding.
posted by jasonmdennis to Law & Government (3 answers total)
Start here.
posted by cropshy at 5:11 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can get ordained online through the Universal Life Church (linked by cropshy). North Carolina recognizes marriages by ministers ordained out of state. I know this because I was married by a ULC minister, and I myself am an ordained minister who signed marriage licenses for three different couples in North Carolina.

If you're concerned at all, just call the county clerk's office and ask who can perform a marriage. They'll let you know that they recognize out of state ministers.
posted by bluedaisy at 5:26 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Know that there's a lot of conflicting information, period--state laws vary wildly, and one can have very different experiences depending on the particular clerk one gets. One guy might have no problem with ULC, while another guy might refuse to authorize it. Do not assume this will be smooth, no matter what anyone says. Start the process early and allow for time to try several jurisdictions--the word in VA is that more rural counties will allow ULC, while the urban ones won't. DC absolutely will not authorize a ULC officiant. Do not assume there's any sort of uniformity or separation of church and state or anything like that. It really depends on not only the state, but the particular clerk. If at first you fail, try and try again.

I know whereof I speak. This is sensitive, extra-constitutional, extra-legal territory. You might sail through, you might face insurmountable obstacles. Have a contingency plan. One option is to find someone who will just sign the marriage license; then you can have whatever ceremony you'd like.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:31 PM on August 12, 2010

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