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Making it Legal


Handfastings.org does not verify the accuracy of the details stated in our officiant listing, nor do we vouch for the value of the goods or services presented here.  We do not endorse any one path or religion.  As with all contacts and financial dealings, we encourage you to use caution and wisdom in your dealings with strangers. 


When searching for an officiant for your special day, we strongly suggest that you interview her or him thoroughly, check with your state (or other local government if outside the U.S.) to verify her or his legal registration, request references, and sign a contract before hiring anyone.   


Certain states and cities do not recognize all churches and temples.  If you would like your marriage to be legally recognized, please research your officiant and their affiliation before making your choice.  




I have been receiving many emails with questions regarding legal ordination.
Whether you just want to perform your best friend’s wedding ceremony, or if you are interested in making a career out of handfasting couples, there are several steps you must go through in order to become fully legally ordained.

First, you must be sponsored by a
Temple, Church, Coven, or other authorized 501 (c) (3) organization in order to become “clergy”. Then, you need to file for a license within your State or local government to have your marriages be legally recognized.

There are many Pagan temples & organizations that offer this. For some of them, you have to study with them for a certain amount of time to become a High Priest/ess, and for others, all you have to do is sign up with them online [I do not “promote” one over the other – but you can do a search just by typing in keywords into a search engine].

The next step after you become sponsored / ordained is to become legal. You take your information down to your local City Clerk and register with your City/State. In some instances, you may only be able to perform legal ceremonies within the City or County in which you register. Even when you are registered as clergy with your Temple/Church/Coven/Circle/etc., you must follow up with state laws. Some states require a Letter of Good Standing by your religious representative or other requirements. Check with your local government.

Once you perform the wedding/handfasting ceremony, you must have the couple sign a legal contract along with witnesses’ signatures (the couple has to go fill out a separate marriage license on their own and give it to you for this purpose), you mail it off, and the couple gets their marriage certificate in the mail several weeks later! In some states, couples can legally marry themselves without a minister or witnesses, although the couple does have to get a license from their city or state clerk to do so. Some religions even have a separate contract that must be signed by the couple, but it is not a legally binding
U.S. document. Do your research!

Remember, it is a two-step process: 1. Sponsorship, and 2. Legal registration (if your State, County, or government requires it – some do not).

Good luck, and please let Handfastings.org know when you become “official”!


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