Become a Wedding Officiant Online
There are several online options for aspiring wedding officiants, which vary by state based on marriage-related regulations. These include faith-based ordination options, notary public options, and justice of the peace options.
Online Wedding Officiant Options
Several states allow justices of the peace, officers of recognized religious communities, judges, magistrates, and temporary state deputies to officiate at marriage ceremonies. Some states allow any adult to become a temporary wedding officiant for a fee after submitting an online application. Three states even allow notaries public to perform wedding ceremonies. Requirements for marriage officiants can be found on state government websites. Specific legal regulations vary by state.
Faith-Based Ordination Options
Several interfaith organizations offer online ordainment, including secular humanist organizations such as the Universal Life Church or the American Marriage Ministries. Applicants for these ordinations typically must supply certain personal information via an online application, specify a desired type of ordination, and pay a fee, if a fee is required.
To officiate at a wedding, an ordained individual must register as a marriage officiant with the appropriate local government offices, if registration is required. Officiants may need to do some research to ensure they are in compliance with local rules and regulations before performing a wedding ceremony.
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Notary Public Option
Florida, Maine, and South Carolina are the only states in which a notaries public can officiate at weddings. In order to become a notary public in any of these three states, individuals need only to download an online application and fill it out. General stipulations include state residency, registered voter status in the selected state for a minimum of three years, and an oath declaring the applicant has not been convicted of a crime. Applicants might also undergo state police record checks. The application process can take several weeks to complete.
Some postsecondary institutions offer online training courses for aspiring notaries public, which provide preparation for the registration exam.
Topics of study typically include:
- Cash sales
- Power of attorney
among others, so students get far more training than is technically necessary to officiate a wedding. Because they are presented in online formats, students who enroll in these classes must have a computer with Internet access and Office software.
Justice of the Peace Option
The laws governing justices of the peace differ radically from one state to the next, and some states, such as South Carolina, have phased out the office altogether. In some states, such as Vermont, the Justice of the Peace is an elected officer, while in others, JPs are appointed by the governor.
Most states that still have the office allow JPs to officiate at weddings. State government websites usually provide online requirements and application procedures to become a justice of the peace. Most states require applicants to be registered voters. Accepted applicants will be assigned as a justice of the peace for a specific time period, and this varies by state.
Depending on the state requirements, there are several different ways to become a wedding officiant through online resources.