Officiate Weddings in Austin, Texas
You have come to the right place to learn what you need to do to officiate weddings for friends and family in Austin. Texas is a HUGE state and Austin is probably the most unique city in the State. This is a well deserved observation considering Austin’s slogan, “Keep Austin Weird”.
And in embracing the independent spirit of Austin, having a wedding officiated by a close friend or family member is the perfect way to add meaning to your wedding ceremony in the most Austin way possible.
Not only that, but having someone get ordained to officiate your wedding is also incredibly easy. There are important logistics to consider. The most salient is that marriage is a legal contract. Therefore it is crucially important for the officiant to understand their legal responsibilities.
These legal responsibilities are a simple things to be observed and we cover all the important legal aspects of officiating a wedding in Austin that you need to be aware of.
STEP 1: Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries
The Texas Statutes § Sec. 2.202 allows for the following officials to perform marriage:
(a) The following persons are authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony:
(1) a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest;
(2) a Jewish rabbi;
(3) a person who is an officer of a religious organization and who is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony; and
(4) a justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of criminal appeals, justice of the courts of appeals, judge of the district, county, and probate courts, judge of the county courts at law, judge of the courts of domestic relations, judge of the juvenile courts, retired justice or judge of those courts, justice of the peace, retired justice of the peace, judge of a municipal court, or judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a retired judge or justice is a former judge or justice who is vested in the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan One or the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan Two or who has an aggregate of at least 12 years of service as judge or justice of any type listed in Subsection (a)(4).
(c) Except as provided by Subsection
(d), a person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony without authorization under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony of a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law or of a person who by marrying commits an offense under Section 25.01, Penal Code. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.
In order to be in compliance with this Statute, your first step is to complete the American Marriage Ministries ordination application.
Once ordained with AMM you will qualify to officiate weddings within the category of religious leaders. Our ordination authorizes you to officiate weddings in Texas (and everywhere else in the US). The process takes just a few minutes and is free!
Technically, officiants aren’t required to register with any government office in Texas. However the Travis County Clerk’s Office or the couple may ask to see some verification of your ministerial credentials. In such a case, you can order hard copies of your ordination certificate from American Marriage Ministries for a nominal fee.
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. You can also check out these pages for more ceremony prep info:
- Officiant Preparation for a Wedding Ceremony
- Writing a Wedding Ceremony
- How To Perform a Wedding Ceremony
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
Regarding your performative duties, this is where you shine. If you have done your due diligence in preparing for the wedding ceremony, you will do an amazing job. In fact, you may have a lot more fun officiating a wedding than you might think. Many officiants that are AMM ordained to officiate one wedding eventually go on to officiating several. It’s really a lot of fun!
Regarding the marriage license – The couple is responsible for applying for the marriage license. Make sure to double check with the couple before performing the ceremony. At some point on the wedding day, the couple must present to you their marriage license. Your job is to complete and sign it in their presence and any required witnesses. The marriage license can be completed before or after the ceremony, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that all the fields are completed properly and that it bears your signature.
Once the marriage license is properly signed, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. Afterwards we recommend that you follow-up with the couple to make sure the marriage license has been returned to its issuance office.
Austin Wedding Planning Logistics
When not locked down due to COVID restrictions, Austin is a city that known for its festivals and arts. When you’re planning your wedding you may want to choose a day where a major event isn’t happening close by. As an example, South by Southwest (SXSW) takes place in March and it draws in more than 150,000 people. This also means that hotel prices and traffic will be up, and this is something to seriously consider for your wedding guests. Austin provides a a schedule of the city’s annual events and you can use this to help decide on the wedding date.
Regarding wedding venues, Austin has it all. Whether you are looking for an old Victorian mansion or urban, minimalist spaces, or an old west style ranch – you will find it in Austin.
Austin Marriage License Info
It is the couple’s responsibility to file for the Texas Marriage License. That being said, below is important information regarding applying for a marriage license in Austin 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?
Travis County Tax Office
5501 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
How much does the marriage license cost?
$22 – $82
How long must I wait before receiving my marriage license?
When does the marriage license expire?
Who returns the marriage license?