How to Get Ordained, Register and Perform Weddings By State
Get Ordained, Register and Perform a wedding or ceremony in California.
If you are planning to get ordained in California, need to find a minister in California or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in California, you've come to the right place.
As an ordained minister with Open Ministry, our ministers have successfully performed thousands of marriages in California and around the world!
The Ordination and Officiant information is provided below in five steps, is designed help walk you through the most common steps in registering to become a minister for California and perform a wedding ceremony in California.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to get and become Ordained in California to Officiate or perform marriages in California
Our Ordinations for California are completely free and can be completed in less than a day. Thousands of people have registered and become licensed ministers in California and are able perform marriages through Open Ministry in California!
Get Ordained Today and start your journey as an ordained minister in California with Open Ministry.
Get started today by clicking on the link below!
Step 2 - Contact The County Clerk
How to Register to Officiate a Marriage in California
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in California. Let them know that you are a minister of Open Ministry in California, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage in California.
When speaking with the county clerk; it can be helpful to use the following phrases.
- What agency or department issues marriage licenses in your county and how may I contact them?
- I am an ordained minister with a church in California and I would like to register as a wedding Officiant in your county to perform and solemnize weddings.
- I have my Letter of Good Standing and/or Ordination Credential as proof of my ministry and ordination.
- What additional documentation is required for me to register as a wedding Officiant in your county?
Step 3 - Getting Licensed to Perform the Marriage
License to perform a wedding in California
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See California State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in California you may be asked to display proof of your ordination to the county clerk's before they will accept the marriage license as having been legally solemnized. We typically advise ministers of California to get a Complete Minister Package for California which includes your Letter of Good Standing.
Having your ordination credentials will also provide peace-of-mind to any couple that you intend to marry. Additionally, we recommend that you have at least 4 weeks between the date of the wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your materials in time to register.
It is important to note that some county clerks in California may require wedding officiants to attach a statement avowing some of the elements in the marriage license upon submission, including the following:
- The time and location at which the wedding took place
- The names and places of residence of all official witnesses
- The religious organization in which the officiant is ordained
- The printed name and address of the officiant
Please note that, when filling out a marriage license, that California State may request you use the title "Minister" or "Reverend". The County Clerks may also require you enter your denomination, you can use "Non-Denominational". Failing to state a denomination may result in rejection and could require a duplicate marriage license.
Step 4 - How to Perform the Wedding
How to perform a wedding in California
Once you have completed of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their California marriage license from the appropriate office. Marriage licenses valid for a set number of days, and there may be a waiting period between when the couple receives the marriage license in California and when the ceremony may be legally performed in California.
Please be aware that the signed license must be returned to the issuing office in California before the time limit is reached. Check the marriage license for the exact dates. Once the legal matters have been addressed, officiating a wedding in California can be a great experience.
If you have any comments or issues as a wedding officiant in California, or after you have been ordained, or would like to just asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony in California. We recommend that all new California wedding ministers who have issues or concerns about the ceremony read over our helpful guides.
400 Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriage
Although marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil, and not a religious, contract, a marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is 18 years of age or older:
(a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination. A person authorized by this subdivision shall not be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage under this subdivision, either by an individual or by a religious denomination, shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any entity.
(b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
(c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
(d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
(1) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
(2) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(3) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(4) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
(e) A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.
Family Code - Division 3: Marriage - Part 3: Solemnization of Marriage - Chapter 1: Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriage