A common refrain when it comes to wedding tips and advice is that there is no one right way to get married. Every couple has their own wishes and dreams for their big day. And those dreams and wishes can include the person conducting the wedding ceremony.
Many people choose to have their wedding officiated by a member of their chosen faith’s clergy. But it’s also very common to reach out to a beloved friend to ask if they will be the wedding officiant.
That’s when learning how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota can come in handy. If you are getting married soon and want to let your officiant know what they need to do or if someone has asked you to run their ceremony, these directions will be very helpful.
Who Can Officiate a Wedding in Minnesota?
In order to be an MN marriage officiant, you need to fit into certain categories. There are rules and regulations that an officiant needs to follow in order to make sure that there won’t be any problems getting the new marriage on file with the state.
To be a wedding officiant Minnesota approves of, you will need to be 21 or older and fit into one of the following categories:
- Judge of a court of record
- Retired judge of a court of record
- Court administrator
- Retired court administrator with the approval of the chief judge of the district
- Former court commissioner still employed by the court system or acting pursuant to an order from the chief judge of the commissioner’s district
- Residential school administer for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf or the State Academy for the Blind
- Licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination
It’s the final category that we will be focusing on today. As long as there is some kind of church that gives a prospective officiant credentials that can then be shown to the proper official, that person can be a marriage officiant MN recognizes.
So now that we know who can officiate a wedding in Minnesota, it’s time to dig into how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota.
How to Get Ordained in MN
There are a few ways to get ordained in Minnesota. The first is to go through the steps to become a clergy member in the religion you most believe in. This will likely take a number of years because some sort of theological degree will probably be required.
Most of the time, when we look at how to become ordained in MN, we are looking at a much simpler route. Minnesota recognizes ordination from several online churches—each of which has their own simple process of ordaining a wedding-ready minister.
To get ordained online, Minnesota recommends doing a search for online, non-denominational churches that offer ordination. There are quite a few out there. Many are based in California. That’s fine. The church does not need to be located in Minnesota to be recognized by the state.
Different church organizations will have different fees for ordination and paperwork. So do your research to find one that works for you. Some have upfront costs and some charge for the copies of your paperwork that they send out. Just make sure you know exactly how much you can expect to pay so that you don’t get blindsided by a fee that you forgot to pay.
The next step in how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota is to get registered. To do this, you need to find your county clerk’s office. Although the license you will eventually receive will be from the state, registration takes place at the county level.
You do not need to register in the same county in which the wedding will take place. So you can go through the process for Hennepin County officiant registration and be recognized as a certified, bonafide wedding officiant throughout Minnesota.
To register, you will need a physical copy of your ordination record. A Letter of Good Standing may also be required. You will be able to get both of those documents from the organization that ordained you.
It should be noted that, unless otherwise stated on an official county website, registration must be done in person or by mail. The county clerk will need to actually see and hold your paperwork. If you are mailing your application, photocopies are allowed.
You will also want to register with plenty of time before the wedding, because it can take time for your registration to process and your license to arrive.
Officiate the Wedding
This is the fun part. It’s always a good idea for the officiant to communicate with the couple to find out what tone they’d like you to set, how much religion they want mentioned during the ceremony, and what, if any, special touches they would like added in.
Running the ceremony is what going through the “how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota” process is all about. But remember: the job of the officiant does not end when the married couple say “I do.”
Taking Care of the Marriage License
While the ceremony is the celebration and acknowledgement of the married couple’s union, the actual marriage license is what completes the wedding as far as the state goes. And, as the officiant, you will need to be involved in filling out that license.
Along with the newly married couple, the official witnesses and the officiant have to put their information and signatures onto the marriage license. And when it comes to the officiant, there are some things you need to know before you sign.
For starters, a Minnesota marriage license includes a spot where the officiant lists their credentials. For someone who has gone online for their ordination, there are specific answers that need to be entered in order to align correctly with what the state needs to see.
The license may require you to identify yourself as a minister or reverend. You will also need to fill in your denomination on the form. Enter “non-denominational” in this space. Failure to fill in this information can result in the need to fill in a new license, so don’t miss it!
You will also be asked for your church name and address. This means your address—not the church’s. Having a different address on the marriage license than on your county registration can create any number of headaches.
Traditionally, it is the officiant’s responsibility to turn in the marriage license. So be aware of the time limits involved with marriage licenses.
The wedding must take place within six months of the issuing of the marriage license. However, if there is a delay to the wedding, a new license can be issued without an additional cost. You just need to return the original license so that it can be canceled.
When it comes to submitting the license to the government, there are a few things you need to know. The license must be submitted within five days of the wedding ceremony. This will once again go to the county clerk’s office.
That’s All It Takes
And that’s how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota. It’s pretty simple, really. Just remember to give ample time for application and registration processing and you won’t have any issues to worry about on the day of the wedding—at least, no issues related to your role in the ceremony.
Remember: you do not need to be a Minnesota resident to be an officiant in Minnesota. As long as you register with a county clerk in person or by mail, you will be fine.
Now that you know how to become a wedding officiant in Minnesota, go out there and get ordained! Being asked to marry a couple is a great honor. It shows the care and love and trust that the couple has for you. And what could be better than that?