A wedding minister earns income in the most satisfying way possible: by working with people in love to create a meaningful wedding ceremony they will treasure for the rest of their lives.
To succeed, wedding ministers must possess a specialized set of skills. They must also treat what they do as a profession, recognizing that they have legal obligations to fulfill as well as financial realities to consider.
If you want to become a wedding minister, the first step in your journey begins with identifying the personal skills required for success:
- An ability to speak in public – This might seem obvious, but the most well designed ceremony seems dull if it is poorly presented. There are many ways to become a better speaker. Take a class at a local college, for example, or search the web for one of the many online courses available.
- Understanding of faith traditions – While many no longer claim membership in a faith tradition, they still want their wedding to reflect their spiritual values. It is important for a wedding minister to know how different faiths structure a wedding. Basic research or online courses will give you the information you need.
- People skills – Wedding ministers not only deal with the wedding partners, but with attendants, parents, siblings, and friends. It is not unusual for there to be disagreement among these groups, and the wedding minister’s ability to smooth the path to the special day is an invaluable asset.
- Flexibility and a sense of humor – Every wedding is unique, and the wedding minister’s willingness to enter into the wedding couple’s dream will add to their joy. Your good-humored ability to embrace change will be greatly appreciated.
In most states and cities there are legal requirements to be met by a wedding minister. The most common requirements are listed below. It is your responsibility to check with the governments in your area to ensure you meet all legal requirements.
- All wedding ministers must complete part of the marriage license and file it on time.
- Some states require that the wedding minister be authorized clergy of a religion, with an active ministry (serving an existing congregation).
- Most states allow ordained clergy, including those ordained on-line, to officiate at a wedding. There are many on-line ordinations available.
- A few states allow anyone to officiate at a wedding. Check with the county issuing the marriage license to ensure you fulfill the legal requirements.
As you acquire the skills you need to become a wedding minister, you should research about the business aspects of your new profession, such as prevailing fees and expenses. There are several professional organizations that can help you manage your new business.