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How To Officiate A Wedding In Georgia

What Is A Wedding Officiant

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A wedding officiant is the leader of the wedding ceremony. They work with the couple to prepare materials for the ceremony and perform the marriage on the day-of.

According to expert Natasha Anakotta, an officiant can expect to spend “anywhere from six months to a full year before the ceremony” preparing and officiating each wedding. “This allows enough time for ordering credentials and official documents, completing minister registration, working with the couple on the ceremony creation, practicing, and working out the logistics and details,” Anakotta says.

Meet the Expert

Natasha Anakotta is the Outreach & Operations Manager at American Marriage Ministries .

The upsides of getting a loved one or family acquaintance to officiate your wedding are plentiful: It’s more intimate and personal than having a stranger officiate, it’s less expensive than hiring somebody, and it’s a very special way to include them in your big day. Read on for a complete guide to officiating, from getting ordained to writing the actual ceremony.

Step 4return The Georgia Marriage License

After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to the County Clerk. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister.Specific instructions on how to return the marriage license should be included with the marriage license when it is issued to the couple. If these instructions are not included with the marriage license, you can call the issuance office for further clarification.Regardless of who returns the marriage license or by what method, it is important to return the completed marriage license to its issuance office as soon as possible.Georgia has a law specifying how soon the marriage license must be returned to the County Clerkafter it is completed. In Georgia the completed marriage license must be returned within 30 days from the weddingto be in compliance with Georgia Law.As long as the completed marriage license is returned within 30 days from the weddingthe marriage license will be filed and recorded in Georgia.

Can My Friend Or Relative Get Ordained To Perform A Ceremony Of Any Religion

Though some online organizations are for specific religions, many are either nondenominational or interfaith. The American Fellowship Church, which has been ordaining people since 1975, ordains people of any religion, and those who go through the process are also able to perform nondenominational services.

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How Does My Residency Factor Into Applying

Are you or your fiancé a Georgia resident?

If either you or your fiancé is a Georgia resident, you may apply for a marriage license at any Georgia probate court.

Are both you and your fiancé nonresidents of Georgia?

If neither you nor your fiancé is a Georgia resident, apply for a marriage license in the county where the marriage ceremony will take place.

Practice Your Public Speaking


Before the ceremony rehearsal arrives, take time to practice reading through your script. Make notes about where to pause for effect and practice saying words that might get stuck on your tongue. This is a great way to get used to what you’ll be saying to minimize how emotional you may be on the wedding dayyou’ll be more familiar with the lines, so hopefully, you won’t get too choked up. Read through the script in front of a mirror to practice making eye contact with the couple and the audience. In addition, make sure the couple practices their lines and vows in advance, too.

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Let’s Get Started With The Information For Georgia

If you are planning to get ordained in Georgia or you have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Georgia, or simply need to to find a minister in Georgia to perform your wedding ceremony the information on this page will assist you. If you still have questions we invite you to visit our FAQ or contact us for more detailed information. We are here to help and support our ministers and congregation.

Registered Ministers with Open Ministry have successfully performed thousands of marriages in Georgia and around the world!

The Ordination and Officiant information is provided below in an easy five step layout which is designed help walk you through the most common steps on registering to become a minister for Georgia and how perform a wedding ceremony in Georgia.

What Happens When You Give Notice To Marry

Notice of marriage is a legal statement of your intention to marry. Put simply, without giving notice of marriage you cannot get married. Your notice of marriage is then displayed for the public to see and anyone can come forward if they know of any legal reason why you shouldnt be getting married.

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Georgia Officiant Government Registration

We said it before but it bears repeating In Georgia, wedding officiants are not required to register with any government office. The government in Georgia does not impose any officiant registration process whatsoever. At no point in your journey from getting ordained to officiating the wedding ceremony are you required to complete government paperwork confirming your status as a wedding officiant. Once you are an online ordained minister you instantly have the legal ability to perform marriage anywhere in Georgia.

Though there is no legal requirement to prove your standing as an Ordained Minister with any Georgia government office, we do recommend that you keep personal records of your official Ministry Credentials. A physical copy of your Ordination Certification is useful to have in the event that the couple or anyone else affiliated with the wedding asks to see proof of your ordination.

If you choose to get ordained with American Marriage Ministries, consider ordering one of the following packages. In addition to your official ordination certificate you will also receive your AMM Ministers Manual and Asked To Officiate. Both of these books cover all of the important information you need to know regarding your legal duties as a wedding officiant and your ceremonial responsibilities, including how to best prepare for the ceremony.

Getting Ordained In Georgia


Getting ordained to become a marriage officiant through the Universal Life Church is much simpler than you might think. Our online ordination process is not only quick and easy, it’s also free! Legally licensed ministers from the ULC perform weddings in Georgia on almost a weekly basis. Once you have your minister license in hand, officiating a wedding is within your grasp!

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Does It Cost Money To Be Ordained

Again, this depends on the organization you go through. Some, like the Universal Life Church, ordain for free but charge a small fee for certificates of credentials. Others, like the American Fellowship Church, do charge varying prices for the ordination, based on what type of package or certificate you’d like to have. A quick tip: Before getting ordained, find out whether the ordination will be for life or for a limited time. If it’s for a limited time, find out if it costs anything to renew the ordination.

How To Officiate A Wedding

Now that your friend is actually ordained to officiate your wedding, what do they actually have to do? You’ll want to take a look at your local laws again to brush up on the requirements. In most cases, your officiant simply needs to include the declaration of intent, or the “Do you take…” and “I do” vows portion of the ceremony.

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How To Become An Ordained Minister In Harris County

If you haven’t already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!

Is A Marriage License Required In Georgia


If you want to get married in Georgia, youll need a marriage license . County probate courts grant marriage licenses to couples. If either you or your spouse-to-be is a resident of Georgia, then you may apply for the license in any county, regardless of where in the state the wedding will take place.

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How Do I Prepare For Officiating Weddings In Georgia

Getting ordained is just the first step. The bulk of your time and energy will be taken up in preparing for the wedding ceremony. We know that conducting a wedding ceremony is a big responsibility. And though it is a joyous experience it is also one that needs to be taken very seriously, especially for your role as the wedding officiant.

We will walk you through the process from both the legal and ceremonial aspects of your role as the wedding officiant. Check out our page How To Officiate Weddings to get started. Here we cover the important things that you as the officiant need to do, such as how to best prepare for officiating a wedding ceremony and Writing the Wedding Ceremony. For more information, we encourage you to visit the official American Marriage Ministries website. There you will find the most comprehensive officiant training materials you can find online.

Many of the people that get ordained online have never officiated a wedding before. We know that this can seem intimidating and have anticipated your need to understand the entire process. Our mission is to empower you not just to officiate weddings, but to do so with skill, confidence, and dare we say, a bit of style.

Officiating a wedding in Georgia can be broken down into two responsibilities. These are:

  • Non-Legal Duty Officiating the Wedding Ceremony
  • Legal Duty Signing the Marriage License
  • Religious Ceremonies: Religious Leaders

    Before starting the process of choosing an officiant, you need to know if you are having a religious ceremony with a religious officiant. Of course, if youre getting married in a place of worship, there is a good chance youll be required to use a religious leader associated with that organization. This means you might have a select few potential officiants to choose from.

    However, if you arent getting married in a place of worship but would like to have a religious component in your ceremony, youll have a few more options which can be daunting for some. You can start by seeing if there is someone available from your local place of worship, or the one you went to when you were younger. If youre getting married out of town, a leader from the areas place of worship may be able to serve as your officiant. Couples from different religious backgrounds may consider using an interfaith minister, or even having two religious leaders serve as officiants.

    Regardless of where youre getting married, as you are meeting with potential officiants, youll need to ask them a few key questions to get to know their work style and personalities. This person will be a big part of your day, so youll want to make sure you choose someone who meshes well with you and your partner, as well as the type of ceremony youre going for.

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    What To Look For In A Georgia Wedding Venue

    If you don’t know exactly what kind of venue you want, you’re in luck: Georgia has a little bit of everything. You can find all kinds of venues for your reception, ceremony, rehearsal dinners and more at The Knot Marketplace, as well as ratings, capacity, contact information, photos and any other details you might want to help make your choice.

    The Amusing: What Is Required To Officiate A Wedding In Georgia

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    Is belize city safe for tourists Georgia does not maintain a central registry of members of the clergy, and you are not required to undergo any specific formal training. Not a resident of Georgia? Georgia does not restrict legally ordained non-resident Marriage Officiants from performing wedding ceremonies anywhere in the state. Find Wedding Officiants in Georgia. Wedding Chicks offers reviews, prices and photos for Wedding Officiants in Georgia. Top Wedding Officiant in Georgia. Our team of friendly, professional wedding officiants has the best reputation in the area, working closely with each couple to create a custom ceremony for every wedding occasion. We are determined to make this a day to remember. No matter what sort of ceremony you desire, we can accommodate your wishes.
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    Can You Apply For A Marriage License Online In Georgia

    In certain counties, you can apply for your marriage license online. If you’re unsure, make sure you check on the website of the county that you are planning on getting your marriage license. It might work quicker in person, so if you are planning on getting your marriage license the same day of your wedding, consider going in person instead.

    Finalize The Ceremony With The Couple

    Even if you write the ceremony, it’s up to the couple to finalize the plan. Though some couples want to be somewhat surprised during the ceremony, it’s always a good idea to have them take a look at your introduction and any statements you might make about the meaning of marriage and their relationship. If they don’t care about being surprised, have them read the whole thing. Be receptive and accommodate any changes they request .

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    How To Fill Out An Georgia Marriage License

    It is your responsibility as the wedding officiant to sign the marriage license on the wedding day. We have broken this duty down into four simple steps:

  • Return the Marriage License.

    At some point on the wedding day, you need to ask the couple to present their marriage license. Generally this happens immediately following the ceremony while everyone heads out to the reception. Though this doesnt have to be the case, as the marriage license can be completed at any time on the wedding day before or after the ceremony.


    Before you start filling out the marriage license you need to confirm that it is currently valid. A marriage licenses validity is determined by three laws that specify the marriage license waiting period, expiration, and return. If you need further clarification on what these terms mean, there is a good explanation here. The information below outlines the waiting period, expiration, and return for Georgia marriage licenses:

    • EXPIRATION: No Expiration
    • RETURN: Within 30 Days after the Wedding

    In practice, verifying the validity of the marriage license is usually a formality. Most couples file for their marriage license a week or two before the ceremony date, in which case the marriage license, according to state law, is valid.



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