How can I go about doing this? Google searches yield hundreds of ads for becoming ordained through different websites, but I am hesitant to trust any of them. I understand that different states have different rules, but there has to be a starting point that is non-religious and easier/less expensive than these google results.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because there is no question about law.
    – user6726
    May 17, 2016 at 16:51
  • @user6726 - Agreed. An on-topic variant might be, "What are the legal requirements to marry in state X." Which I suspect an internet search would answer quite readily.
    – feetwet
    May 17, 2016 at 18:37
  • @user6726 this question relates to Legal process and procedure, specifically the legal process in become ordained. I do agree that it is a little broad, seeing as different states (and different counties) have different regulations, but I am not sure about asserting that this question is not "about law, within the scope defined..." May 17, 2016 at 18:46
  • As feetwet said... there are no legal requirements about being ordained, which is strictly at the discretion of the particular church. Legal power to officiate at a marriage is a different question.
    – user6726
    May 17, 2016 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


I am guessing that you are asking this because you are interested in being an officiant at a marriage ceremony. There are many options, including the Church of Universal Life, for example. The legal question is what ordination is acceptable for the purpose for which you intend to use it.

Different states have different laws about who may officiate a wedding ceremony. It is important that you be certain you are permitted to do so with whatever ordination you are seeking. Although I believe there will be more litigation about this in years to come, not all states allow "internet ministers" to perform wedding ceremonies.

You may need to contact an attorney in the state to be sure, and this is advisable because marriages have very significant legal and property implications. You do not want a couple to have their marriage deemed void because you were the officiant in a state that does not allow that. This could affect everything from taxes to property ownership to the right to make medical decisions for each other.

As a general rule, tourist destinations and states with more secular populations are more likely to allow these marriages. I believe Pennsylvania also allows the couple to self-solemnize the ceremony, growing out of the customs of the Society of Friends.

The bottom line is that the answer is state-specific.

  • Thanks for the answer. State-specific is probably the most valid answer, I would even argue that a person who seeks to be ordained (or whom seeks to be married in any location) check with county regulations as well, seeing as many certificates are issued by various government positions. May 17, 2016 at 18:41

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