how can I get ordained?
December 29, 2005 7:11 AM   Subscribe

A friend has asked me to marry her and her fiance- to perform their marriage, that is.

How does a regular non-religious joe like me go about getting ordained? Any advice on how/what to do after that? This comes as a complete surprise so I'm completely clueless, but intrigued.
posted by pissfactory to Human Relations (15 answers total)
online ordination, via google... all the options!
posted by HuronBob at 7:13 AM on December 29, 2005

I did it for my mom and (now ex) stepdad. It was no big deal at all. Depending on the state, they may also need to get on down to the courthouse.
posted by pomegranate at 7:20 AM on December 29, 2005


Also, IIRC, some states (at least MA) will give anyone a one-time license to perform a wedding.
posted by bondcliff at 7:21 AM on December 29, 2005

Some states also allow certain other persons to perform weddings, such as Justices of the Peace and Notary Publics.
posted by selfnoise at 7:28 AM on December 29, 2005

If your friends are getting married in Pennsylvania, there's no need. They can get a Quaker marriage license and get married however they please.
posted by schustafa at 7:35 AM on December 29, 2005

Ohio, but thanks.
posted by pissfactory at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2005

Here are the Ohio state laws:
3101.8 Who May Solemnize

An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state, (state) licensed to perform marriages, a judge of a county court anywhere in the state, an authorized judge of a municipal court anywhere in the state. A probate judge in their county, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partially lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society, in conformity with the rules and regulations of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons not prohibited by law.

3101.09 Prohibition

No person, except those legally authorized, shall attempt to solemnize a marriage, and no marriage shall be solemnized without the issuance of a license.

3101.10 License to solemnize Marriages

A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of his being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing him to solemnize marriages in this state so long as he continues as a regular minister in such society or congregation. A minister shall produce for inspection his license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage at which he officiates or proposes to officiate or upon demand of any probate judge.

Section 3 (effective June 4, 1976)

All ministers who are licensed or authorized to solemnize marriages in any county on the effective date of this act are deemed licensed with the secretary of state as provided in sections 111.16, 3101.10, 3101.11, and 3101.12 of the Revised Code as amended by this act.
I did this in Vermont in the summer (there are similar requirements there) and there were some hoops to jump through, but it was pretty simple. I'd call the town/city hall (or wherever a marriage license will be issued) in the place where the ceremony will be performed and ask them what to do. They can probably walk you through it.
posted by MarkAnd at 8:21 AM on December 29, 2005

I'm authorized to do weddings in DC. There were a bunch of hoops to jump through, so you should get started early, in case it's harder than you think. I had to find someone from the same denomination to endorse my application, or go in front of a judge to plead my case. After all that, the couple decided to go to Vegas, damnit.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:08 AM on December 29, 2005

OK - I'm in OH too, so this is easy. You can get ordained online at the ULC like bondcliff said. Takes about 5 minutes. They give you a minister's license you can print out for free, and try to sell you mucho other paraphenalia. Don't bite. Ohio doesn't take the printed out copy - they need a 'real' copy of the license, or a "credentials of ministry." Write to ULC, and tell them you need your "credentials of ministry," and they will send you a pretty paper certificate for free that is acceptable to J. Kenneth Blackwell. You'll have to fill out this form and send it in with $10. I think it took a little under a month to get my "Authority to Solemnize Marriage" certificate, which I now hang proudly in my office.
posted by ferociouskitty at 9:12 AM on December 29, 2005

I've done this through the ULC a few times. It's an honor to be asked, and I think it's fun, too.

One thing: make sure you check with (or have the couple check with) the state marriage board to make absolutely sure that all of the necessary paperwork is in order. My worst fear in performing weddings is that someone, somehow, forgot to sign something, and that that would render the marriage nonexistent. (This almost happened once.) Not to make you paranoid - all it takes is a call to the state marriage board.

I think the ULC is valid in every state except NY.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:24 AM on December 29, 2005

My wife and I were married by a friend a few months ago, and he got ULC ordained.

Both New York and North Carolina eschew ULC marriages. Look into this for your state before you go for it. And even then, you could just do it anyway -- few states inquire as to the religion with whom your officiant is affiliated.
posted by waldo at 11:04 AM on December 29, 2005

My ULC ordination was not valid in DC. I had to get re-ordained by World Christianship Ministries--also free, also online.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:20 AM on December 29, 2005

ULC is ok in Texas too, apparently. I did one in Dallas awhile back. Later on, when the girl was trying to get a divorce, one of her ideas for escape was to try to get it annulled/dissolved on the basis of my credentials, but no go.

Of course, I am also a licensed Doctor of Divinity and Metaphysics, and I still have my Church of the Subgenius card, which I understand is also considered a valid certification for performing marriages in many places...

SubG costs money tho. ULC is free, and definitely the best way to go in this case.
posted by First Post at 11:49 AM on December 29, 2005

I have performed one marriage and designed the ritual for mine as well. One thing you need to be clear about with your friends is exactly what they want of you. In the wedding I just performed this fall, my friends wanted the whole thing to be written by me. That was OK, it was an honor, but it takes time and effort to design it properly for the space. They may instead want you to simply "solemnize", i.e. do the "I do" part. That's easier, but you still need to plan the details.

It is different than performing in a play for me. It isn't about you at all, yet it hinges on you, and you simply don't have any "do-overs" allowed. If I hadn't planned out the ritual and practiced my speaking parts, I would have had a serious case of nerves.
posted by Invoke at 1:33 PM on December 29, 2005

I've just done one at the end of October.
A was stated - in PA, they are pretty lax. The coule can either get a quaker license, or as my friends did, get the "regular license.
They did require me to "register" with a county in PA... but once recognised in one county, the entier state accepts it - I regisetered in Bucks County (near philly), which is known for it's "free thinking" - and married them out near pitts - no issues.

I also was married in NY state by our HP who got the credentials from the ULC (and she has since married quite a few others since then). To calrify up above - NY city will not take a ULC ordanation, however most other counties (Orange, Rockland that I know of) will. We were married in Nyack, and had no issues.
posted by niteHawk at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2005

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