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 Washington, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Washington 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 Washington.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Washington
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Washington 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 Washington
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Washington. 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 Washington.
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 Washington
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Washington State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Washington 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 Washington to get a Complete Minister Package for Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington 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.
26.04.050 Who may solemnize
The following named officers and persons, active or retired, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages, to wit: Justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals, judges of the superior courts, supreme court commissioners, court of appeals commissioners, superior court commissioners, any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest of any church or religious denomination, and judges of courts of limited jurisdiction as defined in RCW 3.02.010.
Title 26: Domestic Relations - Chapter 4: Marriage
[2007 c 29 Â§ 1; 1987 c 291 Â§ 1; 1984 c 258 Â§ 95; 1983 c 186 Â§ 1; 1971 c 81 Â§ 69; 1913 c 35 Â§ 1; 1890 p 98 Â§ 1; 1883 p 43 Â§ 1; Code 1881 Â§ 2382; 1866 p 82 Â§ 4; 1854 p 404 Â§ 4; RRS Â§ 8441.]