Officiate Weddings in Jacksonville, Florida
Though less of a Hollywood fixture than Miami, Jacksonville is actually Florida’s largest city (about twice the population than Miami). And as a wedding destination it checks all the boxes if you are looking for a beach wedding ceremony with a big city feel.
More important than whether your wedding is taking place at the beach or a fancy hotel is who officiates your wedding. By having a family member or friend become an officiant to officiate your wedding, you are adding something truly special to your wedding that has no substitute. And doing so is much easier than you might think.
American Marriage Ministries ordains people to solemnize marriage and has thousands of AMM ministers who have already officiated weddings in Jacksonville and all across Florida. Even better, ordination with “AMM” is free and they provide all the resources necessary to help train up first-time officiants. Keep reading to to learn more about what you need to know before performing a legally-binding wedding ceremony in Jacksonville. You want to make sure the wedding is legal and we will walk you through this process.
STEP 1: Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries
The Florida Statutes § 741.07 allows for the following officials to officiate weddings:
(1) All regularly ordained ministers of the gospel or elders in communion with some church, or other ordained clergy, and all judicial officers, including retired judicial officers, clerks of the circuit courts, and notaries public of this state may solemnize the rights of matrimonial contract, under the regulations prescribed by law. Nothing in this section shall make invalid a marriage which was solemnized by any member of the clergy, or as otherwise provided by law prior to July 1, 1978.
(2) Any marriage which may be had and solemnized among the people called “Quakers,” or “Friends,” in the manner and form used or practiced in their societies, according to their rites and ceremonies, shall be good and valid in law; and wherever the words “minister” and “elder” are used in this chapter, they shall be held to include all of the persons connected with the Society of Friends, or Quakers, who perform or have charge of the marriage ceremony according to their rites and ceremonies.
Per the Duval County Clerk’s website, wedding officiants need to be ordained through a religious organization, a notary public, (or be on a list of acceptable government officials). If you are not yet a clergy member or affiliated with a religious organization, you are in luck. You can get ordainedwith AMM — the process is free and will take just a few minutes. Once you’ve got that box checked, we’ll get to the good stuff.
Officiant Registration in Jacksonville
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Hillsborough County may ask you to present your ministerial credentials, which AMM provides for a small fee. (You can call the county clerk’s office before you perform the ceremony to ask if they will require you to bring the certificate in person.)
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.
Jacksonville Wedding Planning Logistics
Jacksonville is a wonderful southern city with great views and lots of beautiful beaches and waterways. It is a great destination for a warm and happy wedding day. We have added some suggestions and locations we found that will help get you started in planning your big day.
Just check the city’s event page before you pick your wedding date. If you or your soon-to-be spouse are big sports fans, you could coordinate your ceremony to see Gator Bowl and the Jacksonville Jaguars, or a PGA tournament at The Players Stadium Course. Jacksonville also has a great craft brewery scene and lots of outdoor opportunities like fishing charters.
If you and your partner are ready to start looking at venues, Jacksonville has a wide variety of venue options, like the gorgeous Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club. The venue is housed in the duPont Mansion located on the banks of the St. Johns River. It was built in 1926 and provides English style gardens, stone fountains & massive oak trees. Its turn of the century charm is sure to make a great backdrop to your dream wedding.
Or, you could hold your wedding reception at a 40 acre farm that has the only covered bridge in the entire state, and a beautiful 9500 square foot barn for your ceremony. The Keeler Property is another great alternative to a traditional venue space, and would be quite the romantic wedding to share your first dance next to a private lake and watch a gorgeous Florida sunset with your new love.
If you don’t want to get a rental car, it’s easy to get around downtown Jacksonville as they have a well connected transit system. The JTA is well-liked by residents, with easy access to the downtown area, and a monorail system called the Jacksonville Skyway which covers 2.5 miles from the St. Johns River to the central business district. If your wedding is farther afield, you’ll want to look into private transport.
Winters are pleasant in Florida with temperatures dropping down to 50 at night and mid 60s during the day. During the summer it is quite hot and humid, and temperatures can climb to the 90s. The best time to visit Jacksonville for warm-weather activities is from late March to late May and early October to November.
Jacksonville Marriage License Info
It is the couple’s responsibility to file for the Florida Marriage License. That being said, below is important information regarding applying for a marriage license in Duval 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?
Duval County Clerk of Courts
Marriage License Department
501 West Adams Street, Room 2403
Jacksonville, FL 32202
How much does the marriage license cost?
How long must I wait before completing my marriage license?
72 Hours for Florida Residents. No waiting period for out-of-state couples.
When does the marriage license expire?
Who returns the marriage license?
When must the marriage license be returned after the wedding?
Within 10 Days