Before officiating weddings in New York you need to get ordained online through a reputable online ministry. This process is as easy as finding a website that offers online ordinations that reflects your values.
A quick Google search will provide plenty of candidates. Most of them are free though some charge exorbitant fees. We will be openly biased in recommending that you get ordained with American Marriage Ministries.
Why American Marriage Ministries? Well, their ordination is free. They are set up specifically to help people officiate wedding ceremonies. And they are the only IRS Certified 501c3 Charitable Organization that offers online ordinations.
That being said, if you decide to seek ordination through another organization, that is your right.
Once you are ordained you will then need to check with the city or town clerk in New York. You may or may not be required to register depending on which city or town the wedding will take place.
We can tell you from experience that most places do not impose any minister registration requirements. If you plan on officiating weddings in New York City you will need to register with the City Clerk’s Marriage Bureau.
Officiating Weddings in New York City
The reality is that most people officiant weddings in New York do so in New York City. This page provides clear officiant registration instructions with the NYC Marriage Bureau.
We will also cover how to register as a wedding officiant with the NYC Clerk’s Marriage Bureau here as well provide advice on officiant registration elsewhere in New York.
How To Register as a Wedding Officiant with the NYC Marriage Bureau
The instructions provided below assume that you were ordained with American Marriage Ministries. If you sought ordination with a different church, you should still be able to complete registration so long as they can provide you with the required documents, and by substituting “American Marriage Ministries” with the name of that church.
Step 1 – Get Your Paperwork for the NYC Clerk
The NYC Clerk’s Marriage Bureau requires the following documents when applying as a wedding officiant in New York City.
- Your Official Ordination Certificate
- Your “Letter of Consent” – Addressed to the City Clerk
- NYC Marriage Officiant Registration Form
- Valid Government ID
The easiest way to procure the first three documents is to order your Minister Ordination Package. It includes your ordination certificate, your Letter of Consent addressed to the City Clerk, and the Marriage Officiant Registration form with instructions on how to complete and submit your application.
AMM also offers a “Signature Wedding Officiant Package” that includes a Clergy Stole and their comprehensive wedding training manual “Asked to Officiate“. The book is especially a good resource for first time officiants.
Once you have received your package, you will have all the documents you need to register with the Marriage Bureau.
Detailed registration steps for registering as a wedding officiant in NYC are provided below. These instructions we sourced from the NYC Clerk’s Website and the American Marriage Ministries page – “How To Officiate Weddings in New York City“.
Step 2 – Complete the Online Marriage Officiant Registration Application
While you wait for your package you can get started with the online portion of your officiant application.
Make sure to submit this online application no more than 21 days before you submit your final paperwork. The application expires after 21 days, at which point you will have to re-submit the online application.
Completing this online application should take you no more than 15 minutes.
Step 3 – Submit Your Paperwork to the NYC Clerk’s Office
With your online officiant application completed and your paperwork in hand, you are now ready to submit application to the City Clerk’s office.
You can submit your application to the City Clerk’s office at:
Office of the City Clerk
Marriage Officiant Registration Clerk
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
If you are not able to register in person, the City Clerk can make arrangements to receive your application by mail. Please be mindful that they only allow this in extenuating circumstances. The City Clerk strongly recommends that you register in person.
Phone: (212) 669-8090
Hours: M-F 8:30am-3:45pm
Approval Of Your Officiant Application
As with most things NYC, the City Clerk is extremely efficient at processing your application. Provided there are no complications, it should take the NYC Clerk’s office no more than 30-60 minutes to process and approve your application.
Officiant Registration Outside NYC
To the best of our knowledge, the only locations outside New York City that requires wedding officiant are certain towns on Long Island.
Our advice is to call the city or town clerk’s office where the couple intends to get married. That office will inform you as to whether you need to complete an application or submit your ministry credentials.
To simplify this process we recommend that you order your ministry credentials from your ordaining church just in case. Even if officiant registration is not required, it doesn’t hurt to have your official ministry credentials for your own records.
The information provided here was mainly sourced from this page.
Now You Can Officiate!
You next step is to prepare for the wedding ceremony. That is where you will put in most of the work. Follow the link below for more guidance on how to prepare for the wedding ceremony.