Officiate Weddings in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor may just be the perfect corner of Michigan to have your dream wedding. This charming college town is charged with energy courtesy of the University of Michigan. Go Wolverines!
Ann Arbor’s quaint downtown has your quintessential mom and pop shops, diners, coffee shops, upscale eateries, and low-key dive bars. And as far as wedding venues are concerned, the options are just as plentiful. We are here to help you figure out the logistics from getting ordained to officiate weddings to what the couple needs to do to file for their marriage license.
After all, there are so many important factors to focus on, such as choosing to have your wedding at the Planterra Conservatory or something more intimate and low-key in your backyard. More important than where you get married though, is who performs your marriage. Having someone close to you officiate your wedding is one of the most easiest steps you can take to add extra meaning to your wedding – and we will walk you through the process. So without further ado, let’s go over what someone needs to do to become a legal wedding officiant in Ann Arbor.
STEP 1: Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries
The Michigan Compiled Laws § 551.7 allows for the following officials to officiate weddings:
(1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
(a) A judge of the district court, in the district in which the judge is serving.
(b) A district court magistrate, in the district in which the magistrate serves.
(c) A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction under section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.9928.
(d) A judge of probate, in the county or probate court district in which the judge is serving.
(e) A judge of a federal court. (f) A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.
(g) A county clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.
(h) For a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk’s office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.
(i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.
(j) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.
(2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and make returns as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.
(3) If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.
(4) If the county clerk or, in a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the clerk’s office designated by the county clerk solemnizes a marriage, the county clerk shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the commissioners of the county in which the clerk serves. The fee shall be paid to the treasurer for the county in which the clerk serves and deposited in the general fund of that county at the end of the month.
If you’re not a mayor or a justice, don’t worry. You can get ordained with AMM to become an officially ordained minister. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
Officiant Registration in Ann Arbor
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Washtenaw County may ask you to present proof of your status as an ordained minister. You can give their county clerk’s office a call to ask if they’ll need it. If that’s the case, or you just want to be prepared, AMM can provide your official documentation, available from our store.
STEP 2: Prepare For Officiating the Wedding
Getting AMM ordained is the easy part. Your next step as the wedding officiant is to prepare for officiating the wedding ceremony. As the wedding officiant, there are two main things you need to prepare for:
- Non-Legal Duty – Officiating the Wedding Ceremony
- Legal Duty – Signing the Marriage License
Non-Legal Duties – You non-legal duties encompass all of the performative aspects of the wedding ceremony. How do I write a wedding ceremony? How do I get ready to perform marriage? What do I say at a wedding?
To learn the answers to all these questions and more, we recommend that you read through the officiant training pages on the American Marriage Ministries website. These resources cover all important aspects of performing marriage and is geared towards first-time officiants.
Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. The sooner you get started and the more time you allocate to practice, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to officiate the wedding.
Legal Duties – Your legal duties have everything to do with the marriage license. Your one legal job as the wedding officiant is to sign the marriage license for the couple. This is as simple as it sounds, kust complete and sign a piece of paper. That’s it!
We understand how important it is to make sure the marriage license is properly completed. If you do find yourself confused by some of the fields on the marriage license, check out our page on How to Fill Out a Marriage License.
STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding
Now, back to taking care of the marriage license. It is the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have done so before performing the ceremony.
Once the festivities are over and the marriage license is properly signed, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. Just remind them to return the marriage license within 33 days of the ceremony.
For more details on filling in the individual fields such as “religious official title,” check out our guide on how to complete a marriage license.
Ann Arbor Wedding Planning Logistics
Ann Arbor is a hotspot for beautiful wedding venues, with options ranging from rustic farm spaces to classic elegance. If you’re in the market for the latter, there are a handful of options, our favorite being the Graduate Ann Arbor. This hotel’s event space has that air of elegance and dignity perfect for a traditional wedding. It also has a spacious terrace if you want to take the party outside.
For a modern twist, you might want to check out the Rust Belt Market, located just about 45 minutes outside of Ann Arbor. Its chevron wood backdrop and full bar is perfect for the modern couple with an affinity for an industrial vibe. If you really want to embrace of old Michigan, a barn wedding may be a good choice. We like Frutig Farms. Its 16 acres of tranquil greenery are located just six miles from downtown Ann Arbor but feel like it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the university. Regardless of your taste, we’re confident you’ll find a great fit for your wedding day needs in the Ann Arbor area.
On Football Saturdays, traffic jams up the town’s roadways for hours before and after the game, and drive up hotel prices over the weekend. So, if you’re planning to have a Saturday wedding in Ann Arbor during football season, you should really consider choosing another date.
Ann Arbor’s bus system is cheap for riders and covers most of the parts of the city, but the buses themselves are not very frequent, so you’re better-off using a rideshare or renting a car to get around. If your guests are from out of town, advise them that traffic can really slow things down during rush hour, and that they may want to allocate extra time when getting from point A to point B.
Ann Arbor’s climate is typical of the Midwest. Its winters can get quite cold and snowy, and daily highs barely reach above freezing. Summer days are warm and usually humid, with average highs reaching around 80 degrees. Fall and spring are both beautiful and mild in Michigan — great seasons to visit or to plan a wedding.
Ann Arbor Marriage License Info
It is the couple’s responsibility to file for the Michigan Marriage License. That being said, below is important information regarding applying for a marriage license in Washtenaw County. If you need more clarification on what is meant by “Waiting Period”, “Expiration”, and “Return”, check out the Marriage License Definitions page on the American Marriage Ministries website.
Where do I file for the marriage license?
Washtenaw County Clerk
200 N Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
How much does the marriage license cost?
$20 – $30
How long must I wait before completing my marriage license?
72 Hours (but you can pay a fee of $50 to wave it)
When does the marriage license expire?
Who returns the marriage license?
When must the marriage license be returned after the wedding?
Within 10 Days