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 Wisconsin, you've come to the right page. Ordained ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.
Step 1 - How to Become Ordained
How to become an Ordained Minister in Wisconsin
Ordination is completely free and can be completed in less than a few hours. Thousands of ministers have registered to perform marriages in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk) in Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin.
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 Wisconsin
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our bookstore to purchase your official credentials and any required documentation (See Wisconsin State Statutes for More Specific Requirements )
When registering in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin to get a Complete Minister Package for Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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.
765.16 Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.
Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The following are authorized to be officiating persons:
(1) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.
(2) Any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of the church or denomination.
(3) The 2 parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.
(4) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.
(5) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).
(6) Any municipal court judge
The Family - Chapter 765: Marriage
History: 1977 c. 323; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (4); 1979 c. 176, 259; Stats. 1979 s. 765.16; 1981 c. 20 s. 2200; 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 315; 1999 a. 85; 2001 a. 61.