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 Rhode Island, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Rhode Island
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island.
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 Rhode Island
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Rhode Island State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island to get a Complete Minister Package for Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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.
15-3-5 Officials empowered to join persons in marriage
Every ordained clergy or elder in good standing, every justice of the supreme court, superior court, family court, workers' compensation court, district court or traffic tribunal, the clerk of the supreme court, every clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, family court, district court, or traffic tribunal, magistrates, special or general magistrates of the superior court, family court, traffic tribunal or district court, administrative clerks of the district court, administrators of the workers' compensation court, every former justice or judge and former administrator of these courts and every former chief clerk of the district court, and every former clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, the secretary of the senate, elected clerks of the general assembly, any former secretary of the senate or any former elected clerk of the general assembly who retires after July 1, 2007, judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution, and United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law, may join persons in marriage in any city or town in this state; and every justice and every former justice of the municipal courts of the cities and towns in this state and of the police court of the town of Johnston and every probate judge and every former probate judge may join persons in marriage in any city or town in this state, and wardens of the town of New Shoreham may join persons in marriage in New Shoreham.
Title 15: Domestic Relations - Chapter 15-3: Solemnization of Marriage
History of Section. (G.L. 1896, ch. 191, Â§ 8; C.P.A. 1905, Â§ 1228; G.L. 1909, ch. 243, Â§ 8; P.L. 1922, ch. 2207, Â§ 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 287, Â§ 8; P.L. 1932, ch. 1896, Â§ 1; P.L. 1933, ch. 2042, Â§ 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 415, Â§ 8; P.L. 1949, ch. 2290, Â§ 1; G.L. 1956, Â§ 15-3-5; P.L. 1974, ch. 290, Â§ 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 326, Â§ 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 327, Â§ 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 382, Â§ 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 363, Â§ 2; P.L. 1987, ch. 489, Â§ 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 561, Â§ 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 607, Â§ 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 139, Â§ 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 163, Â§ 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 132, Â§ 5; P.L. 1991, ch. 205, Â§ 4; P.L. 1994, ch. 103, Â§ 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 199, Â§ 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 249, Â§ 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 451, Â§ 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 70, Â§ 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 123, Â§ 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 6, Â§ 42; P.L. 2004, ch. 444, Â§ 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 174, Â§ 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 259, Â§ 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 85, Â§ 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 89, Â§ 1.)