Ready to become an ordained minister?
Around half the ceremonies in my town are officiated by people who get ordained online. As of this writing online ordination is legal in 47 states, so thousands of people want to know how to get ordained to perform weddings. You can read more about the states that allow it here.
Why are so many people wanting to get ordained? Not every couple is on the spiritual path or practices a specific religion, so ordaining a close friend or family member to officiate is a great option.
According to AnswerThePublic.com New York, California, Texas, Colorado, Virginia and Alabama seem to be the states with the highest number of online ordinations.
Lots of celebrities get ordained to officiate weddings too. Here are a few just for fun!
- Jimmy Kimmel
- Hoda Kotb
- Ted Danson
- Tom Hanks
- Emma Stone
- Jonah Hill
- Lady Gaga
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Conan O’Brien
- Martha Stewart
I’m no celebrity, but it’s how I got started. My best friend asked me to officiate his wedding, so I was originally ordained through the Universal Life Church, but then wound up going to the University of Metaphysical Sciences and getting ordained after graduating from their Master’s program.
I’ve thought about establishing a church so that I can offer online ordination from mattsweddingceremonies.com, but it’s a major pain in the butt with many legalities to consider and can be quite expensive. So…
Instead, I’ll leave ordaining others to the three main online churches.
Get ordained online and become a wedding officiant
You can quickly get ordained at any one of these three sites, The Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries, or GetOrdained.org. I do not officially endorse any of those churches, but all have generally good reputations. Their process is so simple that you can become an online ordained minister in less than five minutes. There’s really nothing to it and no reason to stress.
Online ordinations are generally free and then the church makes its money by selling ordination credentials, like plaques and other stuff you won’t likely need. I live in Arizona and the state doesn’t require proof of ordination. However, please check with your state because laws are old and sometimes they’re not what you expect.
I’ve officiated weddings for over 12 years and can count on 1 hand the number of times people have asked to see proof that I’m an ordained minister. It’s usually the bride or groom’s religious grandma.
Getting ordained is only the first part of the process. Next, you need ceremony material and proper guidance. Avoiding the most common newbie mistakes is essential.
For example, many new officiants forget to ask the guests to, “Please rise” when the bride walks in and often forget to ask the guests to sit back down, once the bride has made her way to the front and handed off her bouquet.
It’s important to feel confident and to show that confidence, so avoiding easy mistakes is a great way to set yourself up for a great ceremony. I highly encourage you to check out the complete list of newbie ordained minister mistakes and how to avoid them here.
Knowing how to run the couple’s rehearsal is another part that newly ordained ministers often mess up. I have a clearly outlined process that I encourage you to check out here.
Here are the first four of ten things to consider:
1) Review the couple’s notes from your meeting. Make sure you’re aware of any deceased parents or divorced parents and potentially strained relationships. Every now and then someone is rude and it’s good to know that it’s because that person is stressed out due to a strained relationship and that it has nothing to do with you, personally. Divorced parents who still don’t get along can easily bring down the positive vibe.
2) Bring a printed copy of the ceremony to the rehearsal. On the last page or wherever there’s space, write down the couple’s parent’s names (sometimes last names are different), any children’s names, coordinator’s names, photographer’s name, DJ’s name. Occasionally coordinators email out a timeline to the vendors and this info is often on that timeline. It always impresses people when you walk up to introduce yourself and you know their name.
3) Introduce yourself to EVERYONE at the rehearsal and write names down. Members of the bridal party are prospective clients, parents sometimes give gratuity and fellow vendors give referrals. Also, you’ll need to know the name of the person/persons holding the rings so you can invite them up during the ceremony.
4) Ask the coordinator how she/he likes to run the rehearsal. Normally she’ll line everyone up in the places they’ll be standing during the ceremony, practice walking out, then walking back in and lining up, then the officiant runs through the bullet points of the ceremony, then everyone will practice walking back out again.
Click HERE to download the complete guide and then check your email.
There are quite a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years, so if you’d really like to look like a pro, check out my extra tips here. The article will share things like…
1) Ask the couple what their bridal colors are and coordinate your tie. I can’t tell you how many times someone has made a positive comment about my tie matching the couple’s colors. It’ll make you look like a pro.
2) Bring mints. Nothing says that you’re a professional like handing out mints while everyone is in line and waiting to walk in for the processional.
3) Be sure to do a sound check with the DJ before the ceremony starts. Find a volume level that’s comfortable for you. When I hear my own voice too loudly, it’s very distracting, so finding a good volume level is essential.
And, there are at least five more pro tips to consider.
But again, getting ordained isn’t done through me and my website.
I hope this article was helpful. Please leave a comment down below and let me know if you have any questions at all. Thanks!
To read a complementary article, who can officiate a wedding click here.
Matt T. Nathanson, 1st Officiant
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