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 Maryland, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Maryland 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 Maryland.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Maryland
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Maryland 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 Maryland
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Maryland. 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 Maryland.
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 Maryland
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Maryland State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Maryland 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 Maryland to get a Complete Minister Package for Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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.
2-406 Performance of ceremony
(a) Authorized officials.-
(1) In this subsection, "judge" means:
(i) a judge of the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;
(ii) a judge approved under Article IV, Â§ 3A of the Maryland Constitution and Â§ 1-302 of the Courts Article for recall and assignment to the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;
(iii) a judge of a United States District Court, a United States Court of Appeals, or the United States Tax Court; or
(iv) a judge of a state court if the judge is active or retired but eligible for recall.
(2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:
(i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony;
(ii) any clerk;
(iii) any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county; or
(iv) a judge.
(b) Period during which ceremony may be performed.- Within 6 months after a license becomes effective, any authorized official may perform the marriage ceremony of the individuals named in the license.
(c) Performance by unauthorized individual prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony unless the individual is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony under subsection (a) of this section.
(2) An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.
(d) Performance between individuals within prohibited degrees prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not knowingly perform a marriage ceremony between individuals who are prohibited from marrying under Â§ 2-202 of this title.
(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.
(e) Performance without license prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony without a license that is effective under this subtitle.
(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.
(f) Ceremony performed by a clerk or deputy clerk.- The county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county shall designate:
(1) when and where the clerk or deputy clerk may perform a marriage ceremony; and
(2) the form of the marriage ceremony to be recited by the clerk or deputy clerk and the parties being married.
(g) Forms of religious ceremonies.- This section does not affect the right of any religious denomination to perform a marriage ceremony in accordance with the rules and customs of the denomination.
Family Law - Title 2. Marriage - Subtitle 4: Licensing and Performance
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, Â§Â§ 392, 394; art. 62, Â§Â§ 3A, 4, 15; 1984, ch. 296, Â§ 2; 1999, ch. 336, Â§ 2; 2002, ch. 207; 2004, ch. 199; 2009, ch. 324.]