First, you must become an “ordained minister.”
There are many other sites, but this one is pretty easy.
You will see on this page a section that says “become a legally ordained minister, click here.” Click and fill out the form. You will then get to a page that says that you are official!
You will see it says that you have to register with your county clerk — you can ignore this for the most part — certainly check up on your state/county’s laws, but my state doesn’t require any registration.
However, for example, NYC requires special registration:
You will have to buy your credentials from the Universal Life Church in order to register. I have done this just in case I need them, but I have never been asked for them. You will get a plague paper and a little credential card if you do this.
So, now you are a minister! You should pick a title to use on marriage licenses. I use reverend, but you can be any religious title. I don’t really dwell on the whole “hokey minister” thing. Personally, I am not religious, but I know many Universal Life Church ministers who are and go out far enough as to create their own church. I mainly use the credentials for non-denominational wedding services and that is it.
Now once you find a couple to marry (advertising information later on), you need to perform the ceremony for them. Yes, you could probably get away with just signing the license if they want that, but usually they want a little ceremony. I have attached my samples that I send out for couples to pick from. I also let them customize them, if they want, from adding more readings to writing their own vows.
Once you have coordinated the time, date and location of the ceremony, I usually show up 15-30 minutes before hand to coordinate everything. I then perform the ceremony which, if you read the samples, is pretty self explanatory. Any details for performing ceremonies can be found on the internet or YouTubing weddings. The typical format of a ceremony is as follows:
- The “I do’s”
- The vows
- The ring exchange
- The kiss
After the ceremony, you must sign the license. There are three parts to a license, usually. One part you keep for your records (it has a seal on it from the court). One part you fill out and send in to the court. One part you fill out and sign and return it to the couple. In NJ, you need to get witnesses (2) to sign the license. You have 5-10 days to send it back to the court house. And ta-da! You are done!
So, there are a lot of other details, of course, that I could discuss in this guide. Advertising, how much to charge, etc. You can visit my website at www.libertyweddings.org and click “officiants” to see my page, my package deals, etc. As for advertising, I use sites such as Craigslist, Thumbtack, tons of wedding vendor sites, and Google ads — (free trial here). You can also simply Google search other ceremony ideas and other officiant websites to see the competition. All of this depends on how far you want to go with your wedding business — you can also simply create fliers or handouts to put around places, too.
Best of luck, let me know if you have any questions.