Once upon a time you had to be ordained by a church to be allowed to legally marry two people. Then the law shifted and allowed state officials to legally marry others. Somewhere along the way ship captains got involved. Then the Internet came along and suddenly, within a few minutes, anybody could become ordained and legally certified to marry others.It's no wonder that so many people want to be wedding officiants. Who doesn't love the idea of being able to be the one to join two people he or she cares deeply about together into a marriage? It is one of the most special things you can do! So how do you do it?
Most of the time there is more to the process than simply getting ordained through a website. Sure, there are a lot of churches out there that are happy to help people ordain themselves quickly and relatively painlessly. The Universal Life Church is perhaps the most famous of these. Still, even though that ordinance is perfectly legal, it doesn't yet mean that you can marry someone. After getting ordained you are going to need to register yourself with your city and with your state. That way, when you sign your friends' marriage license it can be filed properly.
In some places you do not have to be ordained to perform a marriage ceremony. In Massachusetts, for example, you simply need to petition and get permission from your local government for permission to marry someone else. In other states, you have the option of acquiring a license to be able to perform civil unions. This is good for people who want to perform marriage ceremonies but who might be hesitant to join a religious organization to do so.
The most important thing you need to do if you want to be a wedding officiant is check out the laws in your local area. Every state (sometimes even individual towns within those states) will have different legal requirements that wedding officiants have to meet. Make sure you understand these thoroughly. Sometimes you will even be able to find instructions on how to become legally certified in your town or city to marry others. Follow those instructions exactly!
Once upon a time the only way to get married was to have a priest or rabbi (or other church leaders) perform the ceremony. Then the door opened for judges and justices of the peace. Nobody really knows where the ship captains came in. Now, thanks to the relaxing of most local laws, anybody can become legally ordained or certified to be a wedding officiant! Just make sure you follow the local laws where the ceremony is supposed to take place and you should be fine.