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 Montana, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Montana 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 Montana.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Montana
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Montana 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 Montana
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Montana. 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 Montana.
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 Montana
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Montana State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Montana 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 Montana to get a Complete Minister Package for Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana 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.
40-1-301 Solemnization and registration
(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by a mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace, by a tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the clerk of the district court.
(2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, the party may authorize in writing a third person to act as proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, the person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.
(3) 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 that person to be qualified.
(4) One party to a proxy marriage must be a member of the armed forces of the United States on federal active duty or a resident of Montana at the time of application for a license and certificate pursuant to 40-1-202. One party or a legal representative shall appear before the clerk of court and pay the marriage license fee. For the purposes of this subsection, residency must be determined in accordance with 1-1-215.
Title 40: Family Law - Chapter 1: Marriage - Part 3: Solemnization
History: En. 48-309 by Sec. 9, Ch. 536, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 33, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 48-309(1), (2), (4); amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 247, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 348, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 235, L. 2007.