Happy Spring everyone! Since it’s almost wedding season, I thought I’d share with you how I became ordained and ensured it was legitimate. Having a close friend or relative officiate a wedding adds a personal touch and is frugal as well.
It was 7 years ago that my brother and his (now) wife were planning their September wedding. They wanted something small, including the wedding party. My brother and I are close but there wasn’t room for me in the wedding party. He jokingly said that I should get ordained online so I could be a part of the wedding. It got me thinking: What would it take to become ordained and how much would it cost?
After doing some searching, I got ordained online through the Universal Life Church, based in California. As expected, it was quick and easy, only taking a few minutes. Once that’s done, you can print a certificate from the website.
But to make it legal, I checked with the state and county that I live in. This is where it’ll take a little research on your part, since I can only say what needs to be done for Hennepin County in Minnesota. I went to the county’s website and did a search to see how I could file my ministerial credentials. Back then, it could only be done in person and a certificate from the church with a “live” signature (not stamped or copied) had to be provided. Now it can be filed via mail.
I ordered the certificate from ULC and it arrived a few weeks later. Once I had that, I went to the county’s service center. They made a photocopy of the certificate and I filled out an envelope with my mailing address. A couple weeks later, I received a slip of paper that stated which book and page number my credentials are registered in and the paper was embossed with the county seal.
For less than $15 I was able to get ordained and it’s good for a lifetime. No re-filing is required.
I officiated my brother’s wedding the following September and also had the honor of officiating a close friend’s wedding a year later. Filling out the marriage certificate was a little tricky the first time but much easier the second time around. Tip: Make sure you have the address of the wedding location before the ceremony.
Hopefully this is helpful to anyone who’s considering getting ordained or was wondering how it’s done.