Internet-ordained ministers: how to officiate your friend's wedding (LEGALLY!)

Updated Sep 28 2019
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This is Offbeat Bride's Sr Editor Catherine at her wedding ceremeny, which was ordained by her AMM-ordained childhood friend Chad Corbley. Photo by Emma Mullins Photography
So you've been asked to ordain a friend's wedding… That's awesome! Congratulations! If you're wondering what comes next in the life of an internet ordained minister, I'm here to talk you through some of the steps for how to make sure you're legally able to ordain a wedding.

STEP 1: Make sure you're legally ordained by a solid organization

Maybe you've heard of places like Universal Life Church, but here's why you should know about American Marriage Ministries, too – they might be just the right fit for you.

American Marriage Ministries is a legit 501(c)3 non-profit church and a charitable organization. That matters because many online ordination services are for-profit businesses with questionable values (and questionable legal standings!) It's important to get ordained with a trustworthy, and ideally non-profit organization because you don't want to have to worry about whether the organization that ordained you is actually legal. If you're wondering "Is it legal to get ordained online?" the answer is YES… but just make sure you get ordained by a legitimate organization.

Seriously, it's a bummer to marry your friends and then, after you file the paperwork with the state, learn that you're not actually qualified to preside over the legal marriage. Who can legally marry people? If you're ordained with a legit org like AMM, YOU CAN. (To answer your question: Yes, if you get ordained with American Marriage Ministries, the weddings you preside over are legal in all 50 US states!)

Plus, you want to align yourself with an organization that shares your values — stuff like being inclusive, and hardcore allies of the LGBTQ community. American Marriage Ministries believe that love should not be conformed to political, social, or financial standards. These things matter to us here at Offbeat Bride, and we're betting they matter to you too.

STEP 2: Get support

Another things we love about American Marriage Ministries is that they have a whole team of researchers and lawyers to help guide you, making them excellent knowledge base for marriage-related laws and providing information to couples.

This means AMM isn't just a one-and-done ordination service… they have a community that will see you the whole way through the process, celebrating you and the people you're marrying. Plus, they make it easy to figure out how to write a wedding ceremony, guides like this:

How to Write a Wedding Ceremony Script

Learn about the invocation, declaration of intent, proclamation, and all the parts that go into making a wedding ceremony. Once you gain an understanding of the structure of a wedding ceremony, you will be better equipped to write your own!

So what are you waiting for?

It only takes about 5 minutes to get ordained online.

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