Frequently Asked Questions

Performing Marriage

The Basics

Can I legally perform a marriage with an AMM Ordination?

What steps do I need to take to perform a legal marriage?

Where am I allowed to perform a marriage?

What states/localities require me to register with the government before performing marriage?

Does the couple need to do anything to make sure their marriage is legal?

The Ceremony

What is the legal form/structure for a wedding ceremony?

What do I say for the ceremony?

Do you have any information that will help prepare me for the ceremony?

Legality (The Paperwork)

How do I know the marriage I perform will be legal?

How do I complete the marriage license as a minister?

What do I do with the marriage license after it is completed?

Misc

Can I perform a wedding in Washington DC?

Can I perform a same-sex marriage?

Can I perform a marriage in another country?

Can I perform a marriage outside of my home state?

I am not an American citizen. Can I perform a marriage in the U.S.?

About American Marriage Ministries

Church History & Beliefs

Are you a legal church?

What are your beliefs?

What is your church history?

Ordinations

Are your ordinations legal?

How long does it take to become a minister?

What is required to become a minister?

How much does your ordination cost?

Are your ordinations valid in my state?

Do your ordinations expire?

Will getting ordained change my tax status?

If you ordain people for free, how do you support yourself?

Can I perform funerals, baptisms, etc?

Website & Account

Becoming Ordained/Creating an Account

How do I become ordained?

What is required to become ordained?

Is it really that easy to become ordained?

How can I be assured that this ordination is legal?

What do you do with my information?

Help! The ordination application is not loading properly.

I received the ordination confirmation email and it looks like gibberish, what’s going on?

Logging In

How do I login?

I used the password reset tool but haven’t received my new password. What is going on?

Completing My Profile

My profile says 0% complete. What does this mean?

Am I required to complete my profile?

How do I submit my bio?

How do I submit my religion?

My religion is not in your list. What do I do?

How do I submit my profile picture?

How do I register a wedding?

Registering My Weddings

What does registering a wedding do?

Why should I register my wedding?

I would prefer to keep this private. Do I have to register my weddings?

General

Can I print a copy of my ordination certificate from the website?

How do I manage my privacy settings?

How can I show my availability as a wedding officiant for hire?

I no longer wish to be a minister, how do I delete my account?

Products & Ordering

Products

What is an Ordination Credential?

What is a Letter of Good Standing?

Payment

Is my payment secure?

What payment methods do you accept?

Can I pay with Paypal?

Will I be charged a sales tax?

Can a non-minister pay for an order?

Can I place an order by mail or phone?

I am using a gift card, the order did not go through but it says I was charged. What’s going on?

How will I know my order was received?

Shipping

Can I ship to an address other than the minister?

How much do you charge for shipping?

How can I check the status of my order?

How long will it take to get my order?

Return Policy

What is your return policy?

Performing Marriage

The Basics

Can I legally perform a marriage with an AMM Ordination?

Yes. It is part of our mission to ensure that all people have the ability to solemnize marriage for friends and family.

What steps do I need to take to perform a legal marriage?

The steps you need to take will vary depending on where the marriage is taking place. For more detailed information, use our Steps to Legal Marriage tool.

Where am I allowed to perform a marriage?

You can perform marriage anywhere in the U.S., at any type of venue. There is no law defining where a wedding ceremony must be conducted. In addition to a traditional church, wedding ceremonies can be conducted at a beach, a country club, or even a home.

What states/localities require me to register with the government before performing marriage?

There are currently 13 states/localities that require ministers to register with their local government before performing marriage. They are: Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC. Each state or district has its own unique registration procedure. Please visit the corresponding link for more information if you are performing marriage in one of these areas.

You are not statutorily required to register with any government office if you performing marriage in a state that is not mentioned above. However, we recommend that you use our Steps to Legal Marriage tool to find more information about performing marriage in your area.

Does the couple need to do anything to make sure their marriage is legal?

Yes. The couple must file for a marriage license before the wedding for their marriage to be legally recorded. In most states marriage licenses are issued by the local County Clerk’s Office (usually in the County Courthouse), though this may vary depending on the state.

For more specific local information, including marriage license cost, application requirements, etc, please see our Government Office Search page.

The Ceremony

What is the legal form/structure for a wedding ceremony?

There is no legal form or structure to a wedding ceremony. Weddings typically follow a standard convention, which you can learn more about on our Wedding Ceremony Format page. A wedding ceremony is flexible and can include candle rituals, scripture readings, etc.; the only limit is the imagination of you and the couple.

The one caveat is that a ceremony should always include a Declaration of Intent – where you ask the couple if they will have each other in marriage (the “I Do” portion of the ceremony). This is required in California and some other states.

What do I say for the ceremony?

Read through our Sample Wedding Ceremony page if you will be performing your first ceremony. If you are looking for inspiration, we have a Wedding Ceremony Library with real wedding ceremony transcripts that have been submitted by AMM ministers.

Do you have any information that will help prepare me for the ceremony?

Yes. Click on the down arrow on the “Training & Tools” tab above to see all the information you need to get you started. We recommend that you explore the Wedding Ceremony Format, Sample Wedding Ceremony, and Wedding Ceremony Library pages.

Legality (The Paperwork)

How do I know the marriage I perform will be legal?

Don’t worry. You’re not the first person to do this, and fellow AMM ministers have performed marriages across the country. As long as you complete any required registration where the marriage is taking place you will be able to legally act as a wedding officiant. Once the marriage has been performed and recorded with the state government the couple will receive a confirmation, in the form of their state-issued marriage license.

How do I complete the marriage license as a minister?

There will be a special place on the marriage license for the officiant to complete and sign. See our Completing the Marriage License page for more detailed information and guidance. If you are unsure or have any questions, contact us or the office that issued the license.

What do I do with the marriage license after it has been completed?

After a marriage license is completed it must be returned to its office of issuance, usually within a few days. The marriage license is typically returned by the couple however these steps will be clear when you are at that point as the issuing office will include specific instructions on how and when it needs to be filed.

Misc

Can I perform a marriage in Washington DC?

Yes. To perform a marriage in the District of Columbia you must register with the Washington DC Marriage Bureau. Please contact us for additional information.

Can I perform a same-sex marriage?

Yes. AMM ministers have the full authority to perform same-sex marriages, so long as same-sex marriage is legally recognized where the marriage is taking place.

The states/localities that currently recognize same-sex marriage are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and some tribal jurisdictions. A same-sex marriage performed anywhere else in the U.S. is not legally recognized at this time.

Can I perform a marriage in another country?

Yes. For couple’s that wish to get married outside of the US, we recommend that they file for their marriage license stateside from their local government office. The marriage license should be completed and filed locally – this will take care of all the legal aspects of the marriage.

Afterwards the couple, officiant, and wedding party can travel to their destination to enjoy the wedding ceremony.

Can I perform a marriage outside of my home state?

Yes. Your state of residency will not affect your ability to perform a marriage; meaning you can reside in one state and perform a marriage in another. A few states have special registration procedures for non-resident ministers, but these additional requirements will not stop you from performing a marriage.

I am not an American citizen. Can I perform a marriage in the U.S.?

Yes. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for performing marriage in the U.S., as protected by the religious non-establishment clause of the first amendment. Consider that a Cardinal from the Vatican can travel to the U.S. and perform a wedding.


About American Marriage Ministries

Church History & Beliefs

Are you a legal church?

Yes. American Marriage Ministries is a not-for-profit church established in Washington State. Our articles of incorporation are registered with the Washington Secretary of State and we maintain corporate filings as required around the country.

What are your beliefs?

As outlined in our Theological Doctrine, American Marriage Ministries (“AMM”) is built on the belief that all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or socioeconomic status, have the right to contract marriage, that all people have the right to administer the marriage contract, and that it is the right of every couple to choose who will officiate their marriage.

AMM and its ministers believe in the doctrine of marriage, that marriage is a sacred bond, a religious rite to be cherished and respected by the people and the state.

AMM is a non-denominational, interfaith church. Of its three officers one is Presbyterian, one Jewish, one Agnostic. This religious society, and all members thereof, stand for the principled intent of helping all people.

What is your church history?

American Marriage Ministries was incorporated on July 4th, 2009, by current President Glen Yoshioka and the AMM board. We saw an opportunity to help individuals take greater control of their spiritual practice, and we were compelled to fulfill that vision. Collectively, we bring together years of experience working with ministers and helping individuals register as marriage officiants.

Ordinations

Are your ordinations legal?

Yes, our ordinations are fully legal. An ordination is simply an appointment conferred by a church body. The practice of administering ordinations is protected by the religious non-establishment clause of the 1st Amendment.

How long does it take to become a minister?

Our ordination process is nearly instantaneous. Our intent is to make our services as straightforward and accessible as possible; especially to those who have never performed marriage before.

What is required to become a minister?

To become ordained, simply complete our ordination application. As long as your information is current and accurate, your ordination is valid.

You do not need to have prior ministerial experience or even consider yourself to be a religious person. The purpose of our ministry is to enable all who want to serve their community. Discriminating based on belief would be counterproductive to this end.

How much does your ordination cost?

Our ordination is free. There is no tithe, expiration, or annual licensing fee. It is only necessary to get ordained once, and you will remain a minister of our church as long as you wish to remain a minister.

Are your ordinations valid in my state?

Yes. However, some states have licensing procedures for ministers that you will have to follow. To learn more about the specific requirements where you will be performing marriage, use our Steps to Legal Marriage tool.

Do your ordinations expire?

No. Our ordinations do not expire and we do not charge any periodic licensing fees. Your ordination is valid as long a you choose to remain a minister of our church.

Will getting ordained change my tax status?

No. Your tax status will not change or be affected in any way through ordination. If you receive income from performing marriage ceremonies you will have to declare that income.

If you ordain people for free, how do you support yourself?

American Marriage Ministries is supported entirely through the purchase of certified documents and materials. If you would like to support us, simply make a purchase. Our documents are designed to aid in state and county registrations, and commemorate a special event.

As a non-profit church, it is our goal is to enable ALL people to celebrate marriage in accordance with their values. It is our intention to make available as many services and resources as possible at no cost. Purchase is not required to finalize or validate your ordination.

Can I perform funerals, baptisms, etc?

Yes. As an ordained minister of American Marriage Ministries you are entitled to perform any religious rite entitled to any member of the clergy. Beyond marriages, you can perform baptisms, funerals, renewal of vows, etc. As a small and targeted ministry operating on limited resources we have chosen to focus our attention on marriage. Marriage is the only religious rite that has an associated legal component, and we want to make sure our ministers fully understand their duties and obligations.


Website & Account

Becoming Ordained/Creating an Account

How do I become ordained?

To get ordained all you need to do is complete and submit our ordination application. That’s it!

What is required to become ordained?

To become ordained, simply complete our ordination application. As long as your information is current and accurate, your ordination is valid.

You do not need to have prior ministerial experience or even consider yourself to be a religious person. The purpose of our ministry is to enable all who want to serve their community. Discriminating based on belief would be counterproductive to this end.

Is it really that easy to become ordained?

Yes. Our ordination is quick and simple by design. Our goal is to make our services as accessible as possible.

How can I be assured that this ordination is legal?

AMM ordinations, and the ordinations of any other church or religious organization, are federally protected by the religious non-establishment clause of the 1st amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

What do you do with my information?

We take privacy very seriously and do not share any personal information with third party solicitors. Minister information is securely recorded so that ordinations may be verified upon request.

Help! The ordination application is not loading properly.

If you are encountering problems with the ordination application, such as only the first name field loading, it is most likely related to the web browser you are using. We have had users report issues using older versions of the Internet Explorer web browser, and some mobile and tablet devices.

If you are using Internet Explorer, please make sure you are up to date with the latest version (version 9) or use another web browser (such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome).

If you are experiencing issues on a mobile or tablet device, please try using a laptop or desktop computer with an up to date browser.

I received the ordination confirmation email and it looks like gibberish, what’s going on?

We apologize for any confusion this has caused you. The email you were sent was an automated message to confirm your ordination, but your email client was unable to properly display the HTML in the message. Please note that this does not affect your ordination. The fact that you received the email means that we have your ordination record on file.

Logging In

How do I login?

You can login from the AMM homepage or login page, using your email address and the password you created with your account.

I used the password reset tool but haven’t received my new password. What is going on?

If you used the “forgot password” tool, and still have not received your new password by email, please contact us and we can have your password manually reset for you.

Completing My Profile

My profile says 0% complete. What does this mean?

Your minister profile has a number of special features that you can access after ordination. You can submit a brief bio or profile picture, share your spiritual background, and register weddings you will be performing (or have performed). These features are voluntary, and the completion percentage is designed to let you know when there are features you have not yet explored.

Am I required to complete my profile?

No. You are not required to complete your minister profile. Your ordination or standing as a minister will not be affected in any way. We understand that some ministers would prefer not to share any personal information, and we respect the right to privacy.

How do I submit my bio?

To submit your bio, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page, where there will be a form labeled “Share a little bit about yourself!” Write a few words and click “Submit.” That’s it!

How do I submit my religion?

To submit your religion, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Click on the “Account” link in the top right corner of the page to be directed to your account page. There will be a form on the left menu that says “Share Your Belief.” Select the appropriate option from the drop-down menu and click “Submit.” That’s it!

My religion is not in your list. What do I do?

If your religion is not listed, please contact us. The AMM is a diverse community and we will be happy to expand the list.

How do I submit my profile picture?

To submit your profile picture, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Click on the “Account” link in the top right corner of the page to be directed to your account page. There will be a form on the left column that says “Profile Picture.” Choose a picture to upload and you will be directed to a page where you can crop the image to your specifications. Once satisfied, click submit.

How do I register a wedding?

To submit your profile picture, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Towards the bottom of the page there will be a form with the title “Register a New Wedding!” Fill in the required information and click “Submit.” This will create and direct you to a page for your new registered wedding.

If you have already registered a wedding, click on the button that says “Register a New Wedding” and to display the form.

Registering My Weddings

What does registering a wedding do?

By registering your wedding, you create an account for that wedding on our site. This is a public account of the wedding, and it allows us to provide you with information to prepare for the wedding. You will have access to quizzes to help you prepare and the ability to upload pictures after the wedding.

Why should I register my wedding?

Registering your wedding helps us better prepare you for performing marriage. It also helps to show other people that AMM ministers have and are performing marriage in your area.

I would prefer to keep this private. Do I have to register my weddings?

No. You do not need to register any weddings. Use of the Register a Wedding tool is completely voluntary.

General

Can I print a copy of my ordination certificate from the website?

Yes. To print a copy of your ordination certificate from our website start by logging in. You will automatically be directed to your profile page. On the left hand column you will see a “Print Credentials” link. Click the link to open a pop-up window with a printable copy of your ordination certificate.

Please note, you will not be able to view or print your credentials if you have disabled pop-ups in your browser.

How do I manage my privacy settings?

To control your privacy settings, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Click on the “Account” link in the top right corner of the page to be directed to your account page. On the left hand column you will see a menu titled “Privacy Settings.” The three checkboxes allow you to control the display of your address, phone number, and ability to be contacted via email. Click “Submit” to finalize any changes you make.

Please note, we do not reveal email addresses. Contact emails are sent via in-browser submission form.

How can I show my availability as a wedding officiant for hire?

To list yourself as an available wedding officiant for hire, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Click on the “Account” link in the top right corner of the page to be directed to your account page. On the left hand column you will see a menu titled “Wedding Services.” The settings will allow you to specify your fee range, the distance you are willing to travel, and identify yourself as a professional officiant. Click “Submit” to finalize any changes you make.

I no longer wish to be a minister, how do I delete my account?

If you would like to renounce your ordination and have your account deactivated, contact us.


Products & Ordering

Products

What is an Ordination Credential?

Our Ordination Credential is a certificate that contains your name, date ordination, and state of activity.

What is a Letter of Good Standing?

A Letter of Good Standing is a signed and notarized letter stating that you are in good standing with American Marriage Ministries, and that you are authorized to perform marriage as an AMM minister. Ministers performing marriage in Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and other locations are required to produce such a letter.

To learn more about requirements in your area, use our Steps to Legal Marriage tool.

Payment

Is my payment secure?

Yes. All sensitive information is protected by a Secure Socket Layer, encrypted, and sent directly to our certified payment gateway Authorize.net.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover credit or debit cards. We do not accept American Express or prepaid cards.

I only use Paypal online, can I pay through Paypal?

No. We do not accept Paypal at this time.

Will I be charged a sales tax?

No. All taxes are included in the purchase price.

Can a non-minister pay for an order?

Yes. You can specify alternate billing information during the checkout process.

Can I place an order by mail or phone?

Yes. We can process credit or debit card payments over the phone, and check or money order payments by mail.

We can be reached at:
206-395-9164, M-F, 10am – 5pm PST.

To place a mail order, please send a check or money order for the cost of the items you would like to purchase to:
American Marriage Ministries
2239 Boylston Ave E #2
Seattle WA 98102

Why is my order not going through?

To keep your data safe, we maintain a high threshold of security for all of our transactions. We use an Address Verification System (AVS) and Card Code Match to ensure that fraudulent transactions do not occur.

If your order was declined, it was likely due to an AVS mismatch. This means that the address you entered does not match the address that the credit card company or bank has on file with your account. You will need to update your address or contact your bank before you can continue.

Please note, if you attempt multiple transactions your account may show these transactions as pending charges for up to 48 hours. contact us and we will take appropriate action.

How will I know my order was received?

When an order is successfully placed you will be sent a confirmation email and be automatically directed to a checkout success page.

Shipping

Can I ship to someone else’s address?

Yes. You can specify an alternate shipping address on the checkout page. This will not alter your credentials in any way.

How much do you charge for shipping?

A $3.95 shipping and handling charge is applied to all orders (except wallet cards which are shipped free if ordered individually).

How can I check the status of my order?

To control your privacy settings, start by logging in. You will be automatically directed to your profile page. Click on the “Account” link in the top right corner of the page to be directed to your account page. Scroll down to see your order history.

The status “Pending” indicates that your order has been received and will be processed shortly. The status “Shipped” indicates that your order has been processed and is in transit to you. It should take no more than 10 business days to receive your order. If you expedited your order by adding Priority or Express shipping, you will be emailed additional tracking information.

How long will it take to get my order?

Orders are processed and shipped within 1 business day.

By default all orders are shipped via USPS First Class Mail, which should take no more than 10 business days to arrive. If you need your order sooner, we offer two expedited shipping methods at fixed additional costs: Priority Mail (2-5 postal days), and Express Mail (1-2 postal days).

Please note that business days are Monday – Friday, and postal days are Monday – Saturday, excluding holidays. If you do not receive your order within the specified amount of time, please contact us immediately and we will resolve the issue.

Return Policy

What is your return policy?

We will refund any order within 30 days of purchase. If the order has already shipped, it must be returned at the customer’s expense before a refund will be issued. If there is a typographical error on any document we will provide a replacement at no charge.

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