I’ve been asked to officiate a wedding. I’m not a minister. At least, not until last night when I became a minister of American Marriage Ministries. It’s “free” to become a minister but you have to pay to get the pretty documents that most states (mine included) will require when you register with the state.
I’m curious about anyone else’s experience with online ordination and how things went when you went to register your credentials. I’m in the very red state of Oklahoma and I’m expecting at least a side-eye when I take mine. Or maybe it’s so common by now that no one cares anymore.
At any rate, if you’ve got a story or advice, I’d love to hear it.
Nebraska here. My daughter got ordained on-line so she could officiate at her best friend’s wedding. No problems that I ever heard and Nebraska is a pretty die hard conservative state.
That’s good to hear. I’d guess that Oklahoma and Nebraska are pretty comparable when it comes to redness.
I’m with Universal Life Church but can’t be helpful. I got the ordination because I work with a lot of dying clients and it “holds” the spiritual/religious content in a way that matters should the state ever think I’m practicing outside the scope of my credentials.
@kayaker do I recall correctly that you’ve done this?
I expect that. Or even if you get the side-eye, who cares. They’ll still issue you the paperwork.
I got ordained online, but in CA the officiant doesn’t need to register anything, just the betrothed.
Forgive my naivete, but are you sure you need to join some sort of order to officiate a wedding in Oklahoma? Don’t you just need to have a couple of witnesses and fill out the marriage license?
Universal Life Church a few years back, and I have officiated at weddings. It fact, it looks like I might be officiating at my nephew’s wedding next year.
So they’re still doing that! I was so proud to get my credentials back in the 60s, when you had to mail four dollar bills (all the way to California!), and promise to follow their creed:
“We believe in that which is right.”
(“And in every person’s right to interpret what is right.”)
It’s a bold stand to take, so think long and hard before joining…
BTW I have functioned as a witness at a marriage in France, and as far as I could tell only the mayor could legally officiate. Most definitely not any kind of minister or other random dude.
Yes, I’m sure. In Oklahoma at least, at the bottom of the wedding license there is a line for “My credentials are recorded in XXXXXX county on page NN”, or words to that effect.
Many years ago, my husband and I had our cat ordained. She was Minister Wee-Wee.
But did the cat go on to sign someone’s wedding certificate?
Yes. I forget which one I went with. I also had a friend ordained online to sign my own wedding certificate.
We’re in Maryland, who doesn’t really care. The gist of their policy as I understand it is “if the marrying parties agree you’re qualified, we won’t argue.”
I’m sure functionally, no one’s going to come back to you decades later and say “You’re not married! The bride’s family minister wasn’t properly licensed at the time!”
Unless you’re in a 60s sitcom couple. I think I’ve seen that in a couple of black & white comedies (when they run out of ideas). I know Rob and Laura Petrie discovered that, and a watered-down version of hilarity ensued.
At the time we were married in Oregon, the couple’s belief that the officiant was permitted to solemnize the marriage was sufficient.
Universal Life Church. I have officiated at three California weddings. When I was first ordained in 2000, they sent me a booklet with the laws in every US State. I signed the marriage license and put Universal Life Church as who ordained me.
When ULC first started doing their instant ordinations, some pious asshole tried to sue them. The California Supreme Court determined that it wasn’t the Government’s role to determine what is or isn’t a valid religion.
She joined, in holy matrimony, Big-Guy and Baby. Witnessed by Rajah and Gus.
I’m ordained through The Universal Life Church, headquartered in Modesto California. I’ve performed seven or eight weddings (currently not sober or I’d know exactly) and they’ve been performances, believe me.
The only couple where I solemnized their vows and they’re no longer together parted due to death, although I do not use the “till death do you part” line.
Every marriage I’ve officiated, I’ve sworn afterwards it was my last.
Every religion has requirements for someone who wants to lead a flock. For some it’s a college degree, others an apprenticeship, maybe a time spent in solitude. The Universal Life Church required I click “YES”. And I did.