Recognized Wedding Officiants by State

Wedding officiant

Maskot / Getty Images

The officiant is a crucial part of a wedding. They lead the ceremony and frequently help the couple prepare for the ceremony and marriage itself. Each state has its own laws regarding who is qualified to officiate a wedding. Here are types of individuals who may be qualified to officiate:

  • Member of the clergy
  • Justice of the peace
  • Judge
  • Court clerk or deputy
  • Magistrate
  • Public notary
  • Ordained or authorized friend or family member
  • Self-uniting couple

If you prefer to have a loved one marry you, nondenominational and interfaith groups can immediately ordain people online to carry out the ceremony. Some states, such as California, let anyone officiate a wedding by applying for permission to become a deputy commissioner of marriages. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, allow couples to officiate their own weddings. Always double-check with the county clerk regarding wedding officiants.

Here is a listing of state marriage laws regarding authorized persons, aka officiants, who can perform wedding ceremonies.

Alabama

Licensed ministers or pastors of recognized religious societies as well as current or retired Alabama judges.

Alaska

A minister, priest, rabbi, or recognized leader of any church or congregation in the state; a commissioned officer of the Salvation Army; a marriage commissioner; or a judicial officer of the state can perform weddings. A friend or relative can perform your marriage ceremony if they receive a marriage commissioner appointment.

Arizona

Licensed or ordained ministers, clergymen, or pastors of recognized religious societies.

Arkansas

Ministers must have their credentials recorded in one of Arkansas' 75 counties.

California

Clergy, justices, judges, magistrates, and marriage commissioners (current or retired). Some counties in California also have a "deputy for a day" program that allows non-clergy friends and relatives to officiate weddings.

Colorado

Couples themselves may solemnize their own marriage (C.R.S 14-2-109). They must apply for paperwork from the county courthouse in order to do this. However, friends or relatives cannot solemnize their marriage. Out-of-state clergy need not be registered in Colorado.

Connecticut

Any ordained or licensed clergymen as well as justices of the peace.

Delaware

Any ordained minister and clerks of the peace. If you have your marriage ceremony at the office of the clerk of the peace, there is a $20 fee for the civil marriage ceremony.

District of Columbia

Any ordained minister and justices of the peace. There is an application fee of $35 in cash for authorization to celebrate marriages in the District of Columbia.

Florida

Any ordained or licensed clergymen, notary publics, and justices of the peace.

Georgia

Licensed or ordained ministers, clergymen, or pastors of recognized religious societies as well as justices of the peace.

Hawaii

The marriage performer must be commissioned by the State of Hawaii, Department of Health.

Idaho

Priests or ministers of any denomination, judges, or other designated officials (e.g., mayor or governor) may perform weddings.

Illinois

Ordained ministers, judges, retired judges, and public officials whose powers include solemnization of marriages.

Indiana

Marriages may be performed by a member of the clergy (including a minister, priest, bishop, rabbi, or imam), a judge, a magistrate, a clerk of the circuit court, or a clerk or clerk-treasurer of a city or town.

Iowa

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Kansas

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Kentucky

Any ordained or licensed clergymen who have been licensed in Kentucky to perform weddings as well as justices of the peace.

Louisiana

Any ordained or licensed clergyman who has registered with the clerk of the district court of the parish or with the health department in New Orleans as well as justices of the peace.

Maine

Any ordained ministers or clergymen who have been licensed by the secretary of state. Application with a $5 fee needs to be made through the town clerk or treasurer.

Maryland

An official of a religious order or a deputy clerk or a judge.

Massachusetts

Any ordained ministers or clergymen and justices of the peace may perform weddings. Out-of-state clergy must obtain a certificate of authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. A non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) may receive from the governor special one-time permission to perform a marriage for a $25 fee.

Michigan

Marriages may be performed by federal, probate, district, and municipal judges as well as district court magistrates in their court area; mayors in their cities; county clerks; and ministers and pastors of the gospel, both resident and non-resident.

Minnesota

Judges, clerks of court, court commissioners, and licensed ministers, priests or rabbis, as well as representatives of Bahai, Hindu, Quaker, and American-Indian religious groups are authorized to perform weddings.

Mississippi

Clergy, mayors, local board of supervisors members, and judges of the state supreme court, court of appeals, circuit court, chancery court, justice court, or county court.

Missouri

Marriages may be performed by any clergyman in good standing, either active or retired, and by any judge, including a municipal judge.

Montana

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Nebraska

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

Nevada

Any ordained or licensed clergyman who has obtained a certificate of permissions to perform marriages as well as justices of the peace.​

New Hampshire

Weddings can be solemnized by a judge, supreme court justice, assistant judge, justice of the peace, priest, rabbi, or minister residing in New Hampshire. Non-resident clergy need to receive a special license from the secretary of state.​

New Jersey

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

New Mexico

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

New York

According to Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law, an officiant must be an authorized, officially ordained member of the clergy or a public official in the State of New York, such as a mayor, city clerk, deputy city clerk, appointed marriage officer, justice, or judge. In New York City, an officiant must be registered with the City of New York. Ship captains cannot perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.​

North Carolina

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

North Dakota

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Ohio

Any ordained or licensed clergymen who have presented their ordination credentials to the county probate judge as well as justices of the peace.​

Oklahoma

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

Oregon

Judges, county clerks or their deputies, justices of the peace, ministers, pastors, priests, and rabbis may perform wedding ceremonies.

Pennsylvania

Couples can obtain a self-uniting license. Any ordained minister, priest, or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation; judges; justices of the peace; and county clerks or their appointed deputies may perform wedding ceremonies. Mayors of cities and boroughs are also authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a complicated law regarding officiants.

South Carolina

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

South Dakota

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Tennessee

Any ordained or licensed clergymen over the age of 18 and justices of the peace.​

Texas

Persons authorized to perform weddings in Texas include licensed or ordained Christian ministers, priests, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized by religious organizations, justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of criminal appeals, justices of the courts of appeals, judges of the district, county, and probate courts, judges of the county courts at law, judges of the courts of domestic relations, judges of the juvenile courts, retired justices or judges, justices of the peace, retired justices of the peace, and judges or magistrates of a federal court of Texas.

Utah

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.

Vermont

Authorized persons are judges, supreme court justices, assistant judges, justices of the peace, and ordained or licensed clergymen. Non-resident clergy need to file for a permit from the county probate court where the marriage will take place.​

Virginia

Any ordained minister who can show proof of ordination. Marriage commissioners and judges (circuit court, district court, or retired) in Virginia may also perform civil weddings.

Washington

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.​

West Virginia

Any ordained minister who has received authorization to perform marriages in the state of West Virgina. The court in each city and county has appointed persons who are eligible to perform civil weddings.​

Wisconsin

Ordained member of the clergy, a judge, a court commissioner, or certain religious appointees. You and your prospective spouse may officiate under established customs or rules of some religions.​

Wyoming

Any ordained or licensed clergymen and justices of the peace.