How to Become a Wedding Officiant

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in California

It's an increasingly common trend, especially among LGBTQ couples. Here are three tips for having a friend or relative officiate your wedding.

More and more couples are asking friends or relatives rather than professional officiants—such as ministers, rabbis, and justices of the peace—to marry them. Having a layperson you know perform your ceremony can feel more personal and make it easier to tailor the event—and your vows—exactly as you please. Going this route is surprisingly simple. Here are the simply steps you to to become a wedding officiant:

1. Brush up on Your Public Speaking Skills

Couples want to go with someone they trust and whose support they value, but they should also be sure the person they tap to perform their wedding is at ease with public speaking and can, ideally, help with the script-writing process. A great wedding officiant is eloquent, thoughtful, and cool under pressure. If you haven’t done a lot of public speaking, look for some less high-pressure opportunities to develop these skills and become more relaxed talking before a larger group.

2. Get Ordained

Thanks to online ministry groups like Universal Life Church, becoming an ordained minister takes minutes—and the process is free.

3. Sign Here

Head to your local courthouse to apply, pay for, and obtain a license. Your officiant will sign it on your wedding day and mail it back to the county. Once it’s received, you’re officially married—and your friend is now an ordained minister for life!

If you’re interested in hiring a professional to perform your wedding, visit our California Gay-Friendly Officiants Guide.

Author Christy Matthews operates Christy Matthews Events in Dallas–Fort Worth and hosts The Big Wedding Planning podcast. Check out her story in our sister publication, Love Wins Texas, about how a young Texas couple successfully landed world-famous physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss to officiate their wedding, simply by reaching out to him on Twitter.

Featured image by Melonhead Photo