How to Register and Perform a Wedding By State
If you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Illinois, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Illinois and around the world!
The information provided below is designed to walk you through the most common steps to become a minister and perform a wedding ceremony in Illinois.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Illinois
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Illinois and other states each year!
If you haven't already, you should get ordained online 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 Illinois
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Illinois. 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 Illinois.
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 Illinois
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Illinois State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Illinois 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 Illinois to get a Complete Minister Package for Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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.
209 Solemnization and Registration
(a) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a retired judge of a court of record, unless the retired judge was removed from office by the Judicial Inquiry Board, except that a retired judge shall not receive any compensation from the State, a county or any unit of local government in return for the solemnization of a marriage and there shall be no effect upon any pension benefits conferred by the Judges Retirement System of Illinois, by a judge of the Court of Claims, by a county clerk in counties having 2,000,000 or more inhabitants, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, or in accordance with the prescriptions of any religious denomination, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group, provided that when such prescriptions require an officiant, the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group. Either the person solemnizing the marriage, or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, both parties to the marriage, shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk within 10 days after such marriage is solemnized.
(b) The solemnization of the marriage is not invalidated by the fact that the person solemnizing the marriage was not legally qualified to solemnize it, if either party to the marriage believed him to be so qualified or by the fact that the marriage was inadvertently solemnized in a county in Illinois other than the county where the license was issued.
Rights and Remedies - Chapter 750. Families - 5. Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act - Part II. Marriage
(Source: P.A. 95?775, eff. 1?1?09.)