If you are looking for information about finding a wedding officiant in Indiana or about being a Wedding Officiant in Indiana, this is the article for you. My name is Victoria Meyer. I’ve been a Wedding Officiant in Indiana for over 10 years and I’ve married thousands of couples. My experiences as a wedding officiant have given me the opportunity to learn a lot and I’m happy to share my information with you. I’m also happy to marry you!
If you are looking for a quick, legal wedding today, please click here for information about my $50 Quickie Weddings
If you are looking or information about me officiating your formal wedding, big or small, including elopements, please click here.
What is a Wedding Officiant?
A wedding officiant is a person who is legally qualified to perform a marriage. That means they meet the requirements set by the state to perform a marriage in that state.
What does a Wedding Officiant Do?
In Indiana, a wedding officiant will solemnize your marriage and complete the marriage license.
Solemnize just means that you have an “official” ceremony. An official ceremony can be a simple civil ceremony where each person just says “I do” or it could be a larger traditional or religious ceremony.
Your wedding officiant with fill out your marriage license with their personal contact information. There is a place on the marriage license that asks for the Title of the Officiant. That would be Reverend, Priest, Pastor, Ordained Minister, Judge, Mayor, Secular Celebrant etc… The wedding Officiant will fill in the date of the wedding, the city or town and the county in which the marriage occurs. They will then sign the marriage license and witness you signing the marriage license. When the wedding officiant fills out the marriage license and signs it they are stating all the information is true.
Who qualifies as a Wedding Officiant in Indiana?
Get the facts here: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/County/Clerk/Marriage/Pages/Wedding-Officiants.aspx
Is a Wedding Officiant Certified or Registered in Indiana?
No. There is no formal certification or registration for Wedding Officiants in Indiana. If you get ordained online in order to marry a couple you can get a certified copy of your ordination certificate. That certification means you are ordained, it does not automatically mean you are certified to perform marriages. That’s up to the state in which you are performing a marriage. In Indiana, as long as your ordained, by any church, even online, you are qualified to officiate a wedding.
If there is no formal registration how do I know my marriage is legal?
Indiana state law does not require the county clerk’s to check a person’s qualifications, therefore they do not. They could check if there were legal questions. You can always ask the person who is marrying you to prove their qualifications to be sure. Anyone advertising their services and charging money to marry you should be able to prove they are qualified to do so. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you are at all concerned.
It is your responsibility to make sure the person who is marrying you is qualified to do so. If the officiant signs the marriage license and you sign the license, you are all saying you are agreeing to the marriage.
If you are looking for more information as to how to obtain a marriage license and get legally married you can read my article here.
Does my Wedding Officiant get the license for me?
No. In Indiana, couples need to both appear in person at their County Clerk’s office to obtain the marriage license.
Does my Wedding Officiant return the license for me?
Anyone can return your marriage license for you. Your marriage license can be returned in person or by mail. If you are in a hurry to get a certified copy of your marriage license I suggest taking the marriage license to yourself and filing it. Most counties will issue your certified copies right away. The only county I know of that won’t do that is Johnson County. If I perform a $50 Quickie Wedding for you I give the completed marriage license back to you to file. For all other services, if your marriage license was issued in Marion or Hamilton County I will return the completed license for you in person and mail you two certified copies within one week of your wedding.
The online information about getting legally married in Indiana states that the wedding officiant should return your marriage license. In reality. Your marriage license needs to be returned within 30 days. Just because your marriage license is returned doesn't mean you automatically get a certified copy of the license to prove you are married to change your name etc... Your wedding officiant may or may not obtain those copies for you. That part is not their responsibility. I think it's better to have it all done at once. Return the license and get certified copies immediately. If you need to get legal matters completed, file the license yourself. It just takes a few minutes in the clerk's office.
We want to get legally married now and have a big wedding ceremony later. Is that OK?
Yes! This is very common. There are many reason couples want or need to get legally married before their formal wedding ceremony with all of their friends and family. I often legally marry a couple and perform their wedding ceremony later. Or I’ll legally marry them and they will have someone else perform their formal ceremony. Just as often, I’ll perform a wedding ceremony for a couple already legally married. Once, I performed the big ceremony for a couple and actually signed the marriage license several months later after they had cleared up some legal issues.
If we aren't having a big ceremony do we both need to be there when the wedding officiant signs the marriage license? Can we Skype?
No. Both of you need to be present to sign the marriage license. The only exception might be when one of you is incarcerated and only allowed a video visitation.
How do you get ordained to officiate weddings?
There are several websites where you can get ordained online. The most popular in The Universal Life Church Monastery. They will ordain you online instantly and for free. You just have to pay for them to send you a certified copy. As a religious institution - a church - they stand up for the US constitutional right to religious freedoms. They ordain anyone so they can legally practice any religion they want. It’s all completely legal. You can get ordained by the Universal Life Church Monastery and start your own church if that’s what you want to do. (They can also certify you as a Jedi Knight if that’s your thing. Although Jedi Knight’s aren’t ordained to perform legal marriages in Indiana)
If my Wedding Officiant is an ordained minister does that mean they have to perform a religious ceremony?
That depends on the Wedding Officiant
You can become ordained in order to legally perform weddings and never ever say a prayer. You can also insist on praying. It's up to you who you hire to perform you wedding. Always ask to be sure if you have a preference.
If I'm your Wedding Officiant?
Definitely not. In order to be legally married, you don’t have to do anything more than just say “I do” sign the marriage license and file the license with the clerk. You are welcome to celebrate your marriage with any type of ceremony you like.
Side note: You don’t have to say, “Obey” when you get married or exchange wedding rings if you don’t want to.
Many people become ordained ministers in order to perform marriages in line with their own personal spiritual beliefs.
There are professional wedding officiants that specialize in only officiating non-religious weddings. They may only perform legal, civil ceremonies or traditional, formal ceremonies that Some will only perform Christian weddings, others specialize in Pagan rituals like handfastings.
As a full-time professional wedding officiant in Indiana, I perform just about any ceremony a couple wants. My $50 Quickie Wedding is the simplest of wedding ceremonies, picking up where the small claims courts and clerk’s offices left off when the stopped performing marriages. I perform many non-religious ceremonies as well as spiritual, Christian, multi-faith ceremonies and handfastings. I’m open to everyone. If you want something “different” I’m open to learning something different.
Professional Wedding Officiants and the anti-religious Wedding Ceremony
Many couples who seek my services come from Christian families but really don’t want to be married in a church. They may not be religious at all but their parents insist on having some sort of religious aspects to their wedding ceremony. Some couples simply want to honor their parents or grandparents religious beliefs because they love them and want everything to run smoothly. We get together and always find a happy medium. We choose prayers or Christian readings that aren’t too over-the-top preachy. We may choose updated translations of scriptures or more spiritual readings that are simply beautiful and won’t offend non-religious people.
An example of when it’s a good idea to call a professional Wedding Officiant.
One of the most interesting services I’ve provided more than once is being the person a couple hires so they don’t have to have a family member marry them. Indiana is a traditional, Christian state. There are many small-town churches along the highways and byways of our state with many churches and families filled with pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. They all have their own views on marriage and are more than happy to share them. All of them could legally perform marriages in Indiana but that doesn’t mean a couple would want them to. I’ve officiated completely non-religious weddings for closet atheists. They don’t want to tell their very religious families they don’t share their religious views, so they hire me and when their family complains they can blame it on me. I’m fine with that.
In other cases, the couple simply couldn’t decide which pastor in their family to marry them so they chose me.
Professional Wedding Officiants pick up where religious misters stop
Some Christian ministers will refuse to marry couples based on religious reasons. It all depends on how they interpret the bible and the religious teachings they adhere to. One couple came to me to sign their marriage license because their pastor refused. Both of them had been married before. The pastor didn’t believe in divorce for any other reason than infidelity. In the past, the pastor had gone out to ask the ex-husband or ex-wife if the reason for the divorce was, in fact, infidelity. Apparently, he got much more information than he really needed to know so he just stopped the whole process altogether. After I signed the marriage license the pastor would bless the marriage they had already legally entered into but wouldn’t do the legal part. (I know, it’s illogical)
Some religions require a couple engage in a certain number of counseling sessions or take classes before they will allow them to get married in their church. This doesn’t always work out. Sometimes the couple is in two different places leading up to the wedding and it’s just not possible for them to be in Indiana at the same time often enough to fulfill those requirements.
Sometimes, couples need to get married quickly and don’t have enough time to fulfill all the requirements with their church. In those cases, we often just perform simple, legal marriages to fulfill the Indiana state requirement to be legally married and then they have a religious ceremony later. This is very common.
LGBTQ Christian Wedding Ceremonies
There plenty of LGBTQ Christians but not every Christian minister wants to perform same-sex marriages. That's OK. There are plenty of people who are very happy to perform a Christian ceremony for a same-sex couple. I'm one of them. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would happy to get ordained to perform a Christian marriage just to do it!!
Interfaith Wedding Ceremonies
I am a professional wedding officiant and technically a non-denominational minister but I have a very strong Christian background. I grew up Episcopalian and have been part of several different churches over the years. I have a very strong interest in spirituality and religion and how each person relates to God or doesn’t relate to God at all. It’s that part of my background that drew me to being a wedding officiant.
Some of my favorite wedding ceremonies are when we join a couple from two different faiths. We mix Jewish and Christian traditions or incorporate Catholic or eastern religions into truly beautiful ceremonies.
One of the very first interfaith weddings I performed was for a couple from two completely different religious backgrounds. Neither of them was actively practicing their religion at the time but they looked at the act of marriage is a time to learn about and celebrate traditions because getting married means having a family and carrying on those traditions. They spent a lot of time researching every part of their family and religious backgrounds to decide how they wanted to honor them during their wedding ceremony. They were definitely a very curious couple. I the end, they hired Jewish musicians and then had members of their family come up and give them a “blessing.” The blessings were actually wonderful stories and words of advice for the couple. We laughed a lot! Ultimately, marriage was about family and carrying on their traditions of love.
Can you get married without a marriage license?
No, in order for a marriage to be legal you need to have a marriage license issued by the state and that marriage license needs to be completed and filed. If you want to have a wedding ceremony and not be legally married, that's fine. Professional wedding officiants perform all sorts of wedding ceremonies. You aren't legally married unless you sign the license. You can consider yourself married. That's a personal matter.
There are laws that state you can't be married without a license and anyone who performs a wedding without having that license is breaking that law. However, if everyone understands there is no legal marriage happening, there is no problem. I'd be breaking the law if I said "Yes! Of course you are married!"
I'm an ordained minister. That makes me a Wedding Officiant. Can I marry myself?
No. A Wedding Officiant acts as a legal witness to the marriage. You can't be your own witness. At least not in Indiana. In Colorado, you can self-solemnize your marriage!