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Who Can Legally Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania

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  • If either applicant was previously married, proof of dissolution of the latest marriage must be submitted at the time of application.

  • A widowed applicant must submit a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse.

  • A divorced applicant must provide a certified copy of the most recent divorce decree.

  • If either of the foregoing documents is not written in English it must be translated to English and the translation must be certified to be correct.

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 Pennsylvania’s 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?

Determine If You Need To Register With The Court

Once you’ve been ordained, the next step in the process is to make sure all the paperwork and other legal checkboxes, if any, are checked off. Some regions require that the officiant file credentials with the local court and others do not. For example, in California, it is not necessary to register, but in New York City, not only do officiants have to register, they have to appear in person at the City Clerk’s office to do so.

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What Does A Quaker Wedding Ceremony Look Like

Any way you want, unless you actually do have religious expectations to satisfy. If youre a practicing Quaker, you have to seek approval from the Meeting, and a clearness committee will be assembled to interview you and serve in an advisory capacity. The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the organization that represents congregations in the region, recommends that clearness committees ask couples questions ranging from family planning, to their views on marriage to financial obligations that should be taken into account. The aim is to help prepare the couple for their next chapter chapter together.

Quakers often have two marriage certificates, the official license issued by the state, and another with spaces for all their guests, in this case their community and their witnesses, to sign.

But, if you dont have any faith-based requirements and you dont have to arrange for an officiant, a self-uniting license can mean that you have way less to do. That Fishtown couple with the Primos Hoagies photos had a self-uniting ceremony in their living room. The bride told Billy Penn that the license is the easiest way to get married in Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, the LOVE statue made a surprise appearance at a Kensington wedding. The ceremony was on April Fools Day and included a nerf gun salute. Those nuptials were confirmed with a Quaker license too.

Use Our Amm Wedding Helper

Harrisburg, PA LGBT Wedding Officiant

If the process of planning, scripting, and performing a wedding is daunting, then you need our suite of tools.We have distilled years of experience into an easy-to-use platform with training materials, quizzes, a personalized ceremony script generator, and tips to prepare you for performing marriage, all accessible through your minister profile.That’s only the beginning. After the wedding, you can share your wedding on the with our nationwide network of ministers.


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Pennsylvania Title 23 1503 Persons Qualified To Solemnize Marriages

General rule.–The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons that produce a marriage license issued under this part:

  • A justice, judge or magisterial district justice of this Commonwealth.
  • A former or retired justice, judge or magisterial district judge of this Commonwealth who is serving as a senior judge or senior magisterial district judge as provided or prescribed by law or not serving as a senior judge or senior magisterial district judge but meets the following criteria:
  • has served as a magisterial district judge, judge or justice, whether or not continuously or on the same court, by election or appointment for an aggregate period equaling a full term of office
  • has not been defeated for reelection or retention
  • has not been convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to or agreed to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other probation without verdict program relative to any misdemeanor or felony offense under the laws of this Commonwealth or an equivalent offense under the laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation
  • has not resigned a judicial commission to avoid having charges filed or to avoid prosecution by Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies or by the Judicial Conduct Board
  • has not been removed from office by the Court of Judicial Discipline and
  • is a resident of this Commonwealth.
  • So How Do I Get One Of These Licenses

    The same process for a traditional marriage license. You need to head down to City Hall, and both soon-to-be spouses should have two forms of official identification . There are additional requirements if youve been married before or legally changed your name prior, but thats no different from any Pennsylvania marriage application. The only distinction is that self-uniting licenses are $10 more expensive. A traditional marriage licenses goes for $90, but a self-uniting marriage costs a hundo.

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    A Criminal Record Doesn’t Automatically Bar Anyone From Holding Office Just From Performing Marriages

    There’s a good chance that Robb Green, the Marrying Mayor of Jefferson, has performed and presided over more weddings and marriages in York County than anyone else.

    Green’s current tally of marriages is at 3,446. First-term York Mayor Michael Helfrich is just getting started in the marrying business. He has performed three weddings.

    And, here’s where the law gets weird.

    Green could officiate at all those weddings, many long after he retired as mayor, because he was never defeated for re-election. If an incumbent Pennsylvania mayor loses a re-election bid, he or she also loses the otherwise lifelong authority to officiate at Pennsylvania weddings.

    So, to follow along, Helfrich’s predecessor, York Mayor Kim Bracey, could preside over weddings when she ran the city. But, she lost that ability when she lost her re-election bid to Helfrich, who was then city council president.

    Meanwhile, Bracey’s predecessor, Mayor John Brenner, still has the legal authority to officiate at weddings because he chose not to run for re-election and, therefore was not defeated, and he also has no criminal record.

    Pennsylvania statute specifies who can and cannot officiate at weddings. And, of course, it gets complicated.

    Helfrich can administer the wedding vows to anyone with a legal marriage license while he is in office.

    More:Court challenge against York Mayor Michael Helfrich is withdrawn

    Keep Records Of Your Ministry Credentials

    Officiating a wedding a reality in Alberta

    Though there are no officiant registration requirements in Pennsylvania, you must be an ordained minister to be able to legally perform marriage. Local regulations in Pennsylvania stipulate that wedding officiants under the designation of “Minister” be ordained by a religious organization, such as American Marriage Ministries.While you are not required to register with any Pennsylvania government office as a wedding officiant, it is a good idea to keep personal records of your official Ministry Credentials. Proof of your ordination is essential in the event that the couple, government officials, or the wedding venue request to see proof of your ordination.We recommend that you order your to receive your official ministry credentials. Your package includes your official Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing.Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by a church officer, dated, and notarized. Your Minister Ordination Package also includes your AMM Minister’s Manual, a valuable resource for officiant training information.Part of the proceeds from your order will go towards our . So along with receiving your AMM ministry credentials, you are also helping to support a good cause.

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    How To Perform A Wedding In Pennsylvania

    Congratulations! If you’ve 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

    Thank You For Sharing

    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.

    The Dec. 31 decision by Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. in In re ONeill 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.

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    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.

    Officiant Must File Marriage Return

    Harrisburg, PA LGBT Wedding Officiant

    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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    Review The Registration Process

    As soon as the date of the wedding is set, you’ll want to meet with the couple to discuss their ceremony expectations and review any registration requirements. “If you have to register with the local government before performing a marriage, youll need to make sure you have copies of your credentials and fill out any necessary applications to complete the registration process. Plan ahead so you have extra time to allow for processing the paperwork or any delays,” Anakotta says.

    How To Become An Ordained Minister In Pennsylvania

    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!

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    How To Officiate A Wedding In Pennsylvania

    Contact the local county clerk’s office. Introduce yourself as a minister officiating a wedding, and ask them what documents they will need from you. They may ask to see a number of things, and be aware that these requirements vary from county to county. Rest assured that any materials or documents you might need are available in the Church Supplies section of our website.

    Please note: although the ULC is officially recognized in the state of Pennsylvania, some county clerks personally refuse to process paperwork for weddings performed by ministers ordained online. If you encounter one such clerk, we recommend that the couple obtain its license from a different county clerk’s office, if possible.

    Regardless of which county office issues the marriage license, the couple will be able to use it to hold a wedding in any location within state borders. The clerks’ offices in the counties of Philadelphia, Luzerne, and Bucks have traditionally accepted weddings performed by ULC ministers — we encourage couples to obtain licenses from those counties in order to ensure a smooth process.

    Select your county to view contact information for each office:

    The Pennsylvania state flower, the Mountain Laurel

    Which States Allow Self

    Breakdown of Pa. same-sex marriage decision

    There are only a handful of states that have self-solemnization written into their laws. And each state manages the practice slightly differently.

    Maine and Nevada allow self-uniting marriages, but only for specific faith groups. In Maine, you must be a member of the Quaker or Bahai faiths. In Nevada, the only allowances to the traditional officiant route are for Quakers and American Indians.

    However, in all other states that allow self-uniting marriages, theres more leeway.

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    Information On How To Get Ordained And Register As A Minister

    How to get ordained and perform a wedding or ceremony in Pennsylvania.

    Since 2010, Open Ministry has been ordaining and helping people all over the world perform weddings, ceremony and other sacerdotal duties. This page focuses on requirements and information for Pennsylvania, if you don’t need the States Statues or ordination information for Pennsylvania scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to other states.

    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 doesn’t even need an officiant, while in others, only pastors can perform a wedding.

    You’ll want to do your research first to make sure you’re following local state or district rules. For example, in New York City, your officiant will have to register with the court at the city clerk’s office.

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