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Links to a selection of ceremonies can be found below. However, it is recommended that you read the following material first.

Marriage is unique in that in most jurisdictions, a marriage conducted by an approved ordained minister has legal ramifications. A marriage is a union recognized, not just by the religious organization, but also by the State.* That means, that for a marriage to be valid, the requirements of the State must be met.

It is your responsibility to determine and follow the laws governing marriage in your particular jurisdiction. Generally there are two elements to be aware of. First there are the laws governing the two individuals being married, and these laws cover issues such as (but not necessarily limited to) age, relationship, blood tests, licensing etc. And secondly, most jurisdictions require some form of registration of the ministry with the civil authority.

In some jurisdictions, it is sufficient to be ordained and authorized to perform marriages by the governing body of your Church which means no further action is required by our clergy in these areas. In some other jurisdictions, individual ministers have to register with local authorities such as the County Clerk. In others, registration is required by the Church at the State / Province / National level. This is something we expect Patriarchs / Matriarchs to work on. In the absence of a Patriarch, a Bishop in the jurisdiction should take on the responsibility. Or do it yourself.

If you find yourself having to resolve the registration situation yourself, we suggest the following to research the issue:

  1. Contact the authority in your jurisdiction who issues marriage licenses and ask what is required for an ordained minister to officiate in legal marriages; or
  2. Search the web using as search terms "Marriage" or "Marriage Authority", and the name of your state; or
  3. Find your State / Provincial government web site and search it using the key word of "Marriage" or "Marriage Authority;" or
  4. Head down to your local library and research the old fashioned way from books.

If you find your local regulations too restrictive [for example, some jurisdictions require proof of a minimum size congregation meeting weekly] then there may be alternative means of obtaining authority to perform civil marriages, such as becoming a marriage commissioner, justice of the peace etc.

Note: Some jurisdictions limit clerical marriage authority to "Ministers of the Gospel." In countries which claim separation of Church and State, it is not logical that this is intended to limit such authority to Christian clergy. Accordingly, we believe such laws refer to the broad definition rather than the narrow. Within the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic, the Gospel is made up of the following sections of the main web site: Discussion of the Articles of Faith; the Ethics section; and Meditations. These sections constitute Church Doctrine and the examples and parables which serve to teach the message of the Church. We consider all clergy ordained by the Church to be Ministers of the Gospel.

Marriage Authority

The resources below provide regulations for Marriage Authority in various US States. This is for information only; it does not alleviate you from the responsibility of determining and following current laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. Laws and regulations do change.
  • US State Registration / Licensure procedures for states that require clergy to register or obtain licensure. This information was provided by Michael J. Barney and is current as of 2005. This should be consulted first as the most recent information. Use the resources below for states not listed.
  • A summary of US State Regulations (as of 1990) has been submitted by Rabbi Thomas K. Adam.
  • In addition, our own research in the US and Canada is summarized here.

The Marriage Ceremony

  • A marriage ceremony has been prepared by the Reverend Troy Rodriguez, which he has used several times. Feel free to adapt this to meet the need of those whose union you are celebrating.
  • Another wedding ceremony comes from the Most Reverend Marjorie Norris.
  • A ceremony without rings has been provided by Reverend Sidra Vitale.
  • And here is a marriage ceremony performed by Michael J Barney
  • Three ceremonies courtesy of Reverend Janet Potts:
  • A tattoo wedding ceremony written and used by Kristine Sihto for her own wedding. The rings are tattoos rather than physical objects.
  • An Agnostic Ceremony for Religious Families prepared by Reverend Ralph Wical - written so that the religious family members attending the ceremony could interpret it in line with their views.

An alternate option is this Secular Wedding Ceremony written by Nina Callaway

And this wedding site offers several Non-Religious Ceremonies .


Note: * For the purpose of this discussion "State" means whatever legal jurisdiction sets the rules for marriages. In most countries, it is a national responsibility; in some, like most of the USA, the rules are set at the state or provincial level; in some states, the authority has been delegated to the county level.

updated 22 August 2018