Who can officiate a wedding? Learn the steps required for friends and family to officiate.

Couples that want to add something special to their wedding ceremony often ask, “can a friend or family member perform the wedding ceremony?” The good news is, that the answer is yes!

It’s never been easier to get ordained online, become an official minister, and officiate a legal wedding. And while there are dozens of internet churches that will offer this service for free, or a small fee, the goal of this article is to explain how the process works, and what you need to know before asking your cousin to officiate your wedding.

Getting ordination can be as simple as completing an online form from a ministry or church that will ordain people who wants to solemnize weddings. Some organizations require a fee, or only offer their services to people of a certain faith, and/or an application. Others, like American Marriage Ministries, simply require that you submit your contact information, and agree to the terms of service.

These terms are general, usually just agreeing to abide by local marriage laws, be over 18 years of age, and state that you are acting in good faith. If the terms require anything further, be sure to read them thoroughly, and understand what you are agreeing to.

In many states, that’s all that’s required, but some states require additional paperwork. This usually includes a requirement that the officiant provide a letter of good standing within his or her ministry. Make sure that you have researched the requirements for the state and county where you are planning to get married or officiate a wedding.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some religious denominations will not recognize a marriage performed by someone ordained outside their particular faith. This means that while you may be legally married, your church may not acknowledge it. If this is something that is of concern, take the time to talk to your church’s leadership as well.

Final point — keep in mind the type of ceremony you want. Make sure you choose an officiant that shares your vision, and who is articulate and capable of handling affairs on this very important day. If you ask a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, make sure that they can handle the responsibilities.