Before officiating weddings in West Virginia you need to get ordained online. This process is as simple as finding a website that offers online ordinations that reflects your values.
A quick Google search will provide plenty of options. Most churches offering online ordinations 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? 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 prerogative.
Once you are an ordained minister you will then need to register with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
Minister Registration Office – West Virginia Secretary of State
No matter where you plan on officiating weddings in West Virginia you need to register with the Secretary of State’s office. The officiant licensing procedure in West Virginia is pretty straightforward. You will need to submit:
- Valid Government ID
- Your Official Ordination Certificate
- Your Letter of Good Standing
- Your Completed West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Application
- A $25 Check or Money Order Payable to the “West Virginia Secretary of State”.
Valid Government ID
The West Virginia Secretary of State accepts copies of these documents as valid government ID:
- Birth Certificate
- Driver’s License
- Military ID
Ordering Your Ministry Credentials
The following instructions assume you were ordained with American Marriage Ministries. If you were ordained with another church they should also be able to provide you with equivalent paperwork to successfully register with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
To receive your official Ministry Credentials, including your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing, you can order your Minister Ordination Package from AMM. Your package for West Virginia will also include a partially completed West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Application to help simplify the registration process.
More importantly, the West Virginia Letter of Good Standing is signed by two Church Officers, as required by the West Virginia Secretary of State.
Their “Signature Wedding Officiant Package” also includes everything described above in addition to a Clergy Stole and their comprehensive wedding training manual “Asked to Officiate“. The book is an especially good resource for first time officiants.
Completing Your West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Application
The application provided by the West Virginia Secretary of State is a simple one page document. Most of the fields should be self-explanatory, consisting of your names, address, email, and phone number. You will also be asked for your Birth Date and the name of the County where the wedding will take place.
For the field marked “Denomination” you should enter “Non-Denominational” or what is recommended by your ordaining church.
Finally, you simply need to sign the application.
Submitting Your West Virginia Marriage Celebrant Registration Application
The West Virginia Secretary of State prefers that you submit your application by mail.
Along with the completed application, make sure to include a copy of your valid Government ID, your Letter of Good Standing signed by two Church Officers, Your Ordination Certificate, and a check or money order for $25.
With all the required documents in hand, mail your application to:
West Virginia Secretary of State
Building 1, Suite 157-K 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
Approval of Your West Virginia Minister Application
Provided there are no complications, approval of your application should take no more than a few days from the time it is received by the Secretary of State.
Factoring in shipping time, we recommend that you allow for one week before you hear back from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
You can also check the West Virginia Secretarhttp://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/licensing/y of State’s website to see if you have successfully registered as a Marriage Celebrant in West Virginia. Simply enter your first and last name and under “Type” select “Minister”.
If you have not heard back from the Secretary of State or have other questions about your application, you can contact them at:
Email: [email protected]
The information provided here was mainly sourced from this page.
Now You Can Officiate!
Registering with the West Virginia Secretary of State is the easy part to officiating weddings in West Virginia. The real work is in preparing for the wedding ceremony. Follow the link below for more guidance on how to officiate weddings.