Before officiating weddings in Vermont you will first need to get ordained online as a minister. This is as easy as Googling for a website that offers online ordinations.
Most of these organizations offer ordination for free though there are a few that charge exorbitant fees. We will be openly biased in recommending that you get ordained with American Marriage Ministries.
Why American Marriage Ministries? AMM 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 prerogative.
Once you are an ordained minister your next steps will depend on your residency status in New Hampshire.
Vermont Minister Registration Only Required for Non-Residents
Vermont is one of two States in the country that requires non-resident officiants to register but requires nothing of Vermont residents.
If you are a resident of Vermont then your status as an ordained minister is all the authority you need to officiate weddings in the State.
Non-Resident Minister Registration In Vermont
The registration process for non-residents is pretty straightforward. You will need to:
- Provide Proof That You Live Out of State (Such as a Driver’s License)
- Complete the “Non-Resident Minister To Perform Marriage Petition“
- Provide Proof That You Are a Minister (Ordination Certificate or Letter of Good Standing)
- Pay a Filing Fee of $100
Below are step-by-step instructions on completing your non-resident application.
Completing Your Non-Resident Minister To Perform Marriage Petition – Part 1
The following instructions are written for ministers of American Marriage Ministries. If you got ordained online through a church other than AMM, simply substitute “American Marriage Ministries” where applicable.
- You will be asked to enter your full name and mailing address. This must match the address on your government issued ID.
- Enter the names of the couple and their mailing addresses.
- Enter the date of the wedding ceremony and the town where the ceremony will take place.
- For denomination put “American Marriage Ministries”.
- Below denomination, put in your State of residence.
Completing Your Non-Resident Minister To Perform Marriage Petition – Part 2
There is a section on this application that inquires if your ordination was obtained specifically to perform the marriage in question. Asking for qualifying criteria regarding the nature of the ordination is unconstitutional however it is the current State policy until it is legally challenged.
Though not specifically required as part of your application, we recommend that you have the couple draft a signed and notarized affidavit testifying that they want you and only you to officiate their wedding and the reasons why.
The affidavit can be phrased something like this:
I (Partner A) and (Partner B) declare that we have discussed and agreed that the only appropriate person to solemnize our marriage is (Officiant’s Full Name). We have made this decision after serious thought and consideration. (Officiant’s Name) has been and currently is an integral part of our lives and our community.
This is our wedding ceremony and we respectfully request that (Officiant’s Full Name) be approved to Solemnize our Marriage.
We recommend that the couple sign this affidavit in the presence of a notary and have it notarized.
On the application, you can then reference this signed and notarized affidavit in explaining the circumstances of your officiant status.
**Before you complete your Non-Resident Minister To Perform Marriage Petition application you must date and sign the form in the presence of a notary and have the application notarized.**
Obtaining Your Ministry Credentials
The following instructions assume you were ordained with American Marriage Ministries. If you were ordained online through a different church, they should be able to provide you with equivalent documents.
The American Marriage Ministries Minister Ordination Package contains your official Ministry Credentials, your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing. Either of these documents satisfy the proof of minister status criteria instituted by the Vermont Judiciary.
The Minister Ordination Package is $45 and also comes with a Minister’s Manual that covers useful minister registration and wedding training information.
They also offer a “Signature Wedding Officiant Package” that includes everything described above as well as a Clergy Stole and their comprehensive wedding training manual “Asked to Officiate“. It is $95 and the book, Asked to Officiate, is probably the best instruction manual for first time officiants.
Submitting Your Minister Application
Though the application is issued by the Vermont Judiciary you will have to submit your application to the Probate Division of the Superior Court in the county where the wedding is to take place.
There are 14 Counties in Vermont. If you have questions you can contact the Probate Court’s office in the county where the wedding will take place.
Provided there are no complications, approval of your application should take no more than a few days. In most counties you will be approved on the same day that you submit your application along with the rest of the required documents.
Much of the information presented here was sourced from this page.
Learn More About How to Officiate Weddings
Successfully registration as a non-resident wedding officiant in Vermont is just one step. Resident or non-resident, most of your work will involve preparing for the wedding ceremony. Follow the link below for useful wedding training information.