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How To Officiate A Wedding In Pa

How To Have A Friend Or Family Member Officiate Your Wedding

How To Get Ordained In Pennsylvania To Officiate Weddings – THEAMM.ORG

Great newshaving a friend or family member officiate your wedding is surprisingly easy, at least in Pennsylvania. Because this is one of the MOST frequently asked questions we hear from brides, we thought it was high time to devote a post to this topic and debunk some myths!

There are many reasons couples choose to have someone close to them perform their wedding ceremony. For most, its a way to make the celebration extremely personal. Theres something extra special about having a parent, grandparent, sibling, or even close friend preside over your wedding vows. For other couples, they want to honor a person by giving them a special role in one of the most important days of their lives. Either way, this change of the status quo is becoming increasingly popularand its not nearly as hard as you think. Follow these tips for a smooth and easy process for saying I do! with someone you know at the helm.

Who Can Officiate Weddings In Pennsylvania

” General rule.–The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons that produce a marriage license issued under this part:… A minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation. Religious organizations.–Every religious society, religious institution or religious organization in this Commonwealth may join persons together in marriage when at least one of the persons is a member of the society, institution or organization, according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization.”

Pa Judge Oks Weddings By Ministers Ordained Via Internet

A minister ordained over the Internet who has no congregation and no church to preach in is nonetheless empowered under Pennsylvania law to preside over marriage ceremonies, a Bucks County judge has ruled. But the Dec. 31 decision by Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. directly conflicts with a September 2007 decision in which a York County, Pa., judge invalidated a marriage because it was performed by a minister who was ordained via the Internet.

1 minute read

The original version of this story was published on Law.Com

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Is It Free To Become A Minister In Pennsylvania

Our Ordinations for Pennsylvania are completely free and can be completed in less than a day. Thousands of people have registered and become licensed ministers in Pennsylvania and are able perform marriages through Open Ministry in Pennsylvania! Get Ordained Today and start your journey as an ordained minister in Pennsylvania with Open Ministry.

How To Plan A Wedding In Pennsylvania

How To Become An Officiant In Pa

If youâre due to officiate a wedding in Pennsylvania soon, here are a few helpful tips. While summer used to be the most popular time to get married, now over 40 percent of Pennsylvania couples prefer fall weddings. What does this mean for you? Come prepared! Autumns in Pennsylvania can be quite chillyâthe average low hovers around the mid-forties and the average high reaches the mid-sixties. In addition, it is important to understand how seasonal marriage trends affect Pennsylvaniaâs most popular wedding destinations, regardless of whether the destination is Philadelphiaâs elegant greenhouses or the charmingly rustic Pocono campgrounds. Philadelphiaâs greenhouses allow for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, making them an excellent destination in spring, summer, and fall. Camping requires nicer weather, meaning only the bravest couples will risk inclement weather in the spring or fall. If you intend to market your services as an officiant, act accordingly! Finally, people often wonder how much a wedding minister should charge in Pennsylvania, but the truth is thereâs no simple answer â fees can vary widely based on experience and the level of involvement.

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What Do You Need To Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania

After speaking with the county clerk and determining what you need you can move on to ordering, chances are you will need some supplies before you will be permitted to officiate. Simply log in to your account and navigate to the supplies section. Most ministers in Pennsylvania choose to order the Classic Wedding Set and an Official Letter of Good Standing.

In general, Pennsylvania does require registration for ministers. Make sure to place your order well in advance of the wedding ceremony.

Getting A Marriage License In Pennsylvania Heres All You Need To Know

Is it legal to use an officiant who was ordained online? Can anyone get a self-uniting license? We demystify Pennsylvanias rules.

When Mickey and Tori Nuccio got engaged, they knew they wanted a close friend to officiate their wedding. Having Mickeys college roommate preside seemed like a good fit for their traditional but nonreligious ceremony in Phoenixville.

But Mickey remembered learning in law school about a York County court ruling from more than a decade ago that put weddings officiated by someone ordained online in a legal gray area.

They werent the first Pennsylvania couple to worry about that technicality. A reader contacted Curious Philly, our Q& A forum that invites readers to send in queries about topics of interest, and asked whether officiated are valid in this state.

Last year, about half of U.S. weddings were officiated by a friend or family member, according to an annual study by wedding website the Knot. Thats up from 40% in 2015 and 29% in 2009.

When you trust a friend, you can kind of know that theyre going to take care of you, said Julia Gwiazdowski, 27, of Philadelphia, who was married to her wife in 2017 by a friend who got ordained online. We were able to make the vows more reflective of what we felt was important to a marriage.

So are there any legal issues with having someone who was ordained online officiate your wedding in Pennsylvania? And when might you choose a self-uniting license?

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Can My Friend Or Relative Still Perform My Wedding Ceremony

Many professional legally ordained officiants are happy to include friends and relatives in the ceremony. I have officiated many weddings with the couples friend or relative and give the couple the choice of having that person perform the entire ceremony or have their friend or relative do parts of the ceremony.

Another solution is to go to the courthouse before your wedding day and pay $20 for a magistrate to perform a simple civil wedding ceremony and legally marry you. Then the public ceremony later can be performed by your friend or relative.

A professional wedding officiant has the expertise and experience to work with you to create a personalized and meaningful wedding ceremony and deliver it with grace on your wedding day, knows how to conduct a rehearsal, and can handle any unexpected incidents that may arise on your wedding day whereas online ordained friends and relatives lack this experience and expertise.

It is important to me that couples marrying in North Carolina not risk the validity of their marriages and I am here to serve them in any way I can. I am most happy to answer any questions on this subject. I have been seminary-ordained since 1997 and have officiated over 2000 weddings since then.

Reverend Kayelily Middleton

Can A Priest Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania


Once the legal matters have been addressed, officiating a wedding in Pennsylvania can be a great experience. If you have any comments or issues as a wedding officiant in Pennsylvania, or after you have been ordained, or would like to just asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania.

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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.

How To Perform A Wedding In Pennsylvania

Congratulations! If youve found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Pennsylvania. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Marriage License Waiting Period: 3 Days
  • Marriage License Valid For: 60 Days
  • Marriage License Return Within: 10 Days

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How To Become A Wedding Officiant In Pennsylvania

Min. Age of Minister:
Latest Document Submission Date Allowed:
Varies by County
Minister I.D. # Issued:

The requirements for officiants in the state of Pennsylvania are quite similar to that of other states. PA recognizes religious, spiritual, secular, and civil officiants, as long as the individual has been given officiant status by a larger institution. Ministers who have been ordained by the Universal Life Church fall into the category of religious actors. This means they are legally allowed to conduct the ceremony regardless of their personal belief system, gender, and other factors.

One important point to note is that ministers in the state of Pennsylvania may be required to register with the Office of the Clerk. In order to learn more about what paperwork is needed for this process, check with the office issuing the marriage license to see what they need from a minister performing a wedding in their county. To ensure you have all of the necessary documentation, the Universal Life Church has put together a useful Classic Wedding Package that officiants in Pennsylvania can use to prove their status.

§ 1503

Officiant Must File Marriage Return

How To Become An Officiant In Pa

An official public record of the marriage will not exist if the officiant performing the marriage ceremony fails to return the duplicate Certificate of Marriage within ten days after the solemnization of the marriage, as required by law. The law requires all marriage records are available for public inspection.

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Start Preparing For The Wedding Ceremony

Your next step is to learn how to officiate a wedding ceremony. If you have no experience, you are in good hands. Our Pennsylvania Wedding Officiant Preparation Guide covers all aspects of how to prepare for a wedding ceremony.You will learn everything from the format for a wedding ceremony, the names of the ceremony parts, how to write a wedding ceremony, and more.

Can Your Friend Or Family Member Officiate Your Wedding

Ordination requirements differ from state to state and even from county to county and city to city. Step one is to do your research and make sure your friend or family member is legally able to officiate your wedding. In some states, for example, a couple doesnt even need an officiant, while in others, only pastors can perform a wedding.

Youll want to do your research first to make sure youre following local state or district rules. For example, in New York City, your officiant will have to register with the court at the city clerks office.

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How Are Pennsylvania Online Ordinations Legal

To better understand the legal underpinnings of how online ordinations work in relation to gaining the authority to officiate weddings in Pennsylvania, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with an esoteric legal term, Solemnization of Marriage. Solemnization of Marriage is simply a fancy way of saying, Perform Marriage, Conduct a Wedding, or Officiate a Wedding. Solemnize is the official act of conducting a wedding ceremony. This is how the act of performing a wedding ceremony is described in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Below is the law that specifies who exactly can Solemnize Marriage in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 1503

How To Become An Ordained Minister In Pennsylvania

Wedding Officiant Andrew Wilson of Weddings by Andrew

If you havent 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!

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What Should Your Officiant Wear

It doesn’t hurt to discuss what your officiant will wear to your ceremony. Remember, they will be front and center along with you and your spouse, which means they’ll be in some of the most important pictures of your life. Make sure they don’t overdress or underdress for the ceremony so that their outfit doesn’t distract from the overall magic of your big moment.

Apostilles For Marriage Records


The Marriage Application and Duplicate are the most commonly requested documents for authentication by the Department of State. Marriage Documents are required for Foreign Adoptions, dual citizenship and registering marriages performed in USA in a foreign country. The two types of authentication of the records issued by this office and accepted by the Department of State are the Certification of the Marriage signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans’ Court and the Exemplification, which includes the complete marriage application, signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans Court and a Judge of the Orphans Court.

For more information or to request an Apostille, contact the Department of State

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How Do I Prepare For Officiating Weddings In Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania can be broken down into two responsibilities. These are:

  • Non-Legal Duty Officiating the Wedding Ceremony
  • Legal Duty Signing the Marriage License
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