Can my friend officiate my wedding in Wisconsin?

Answered by Robert Flynn

In Wisconsin, there are certain requirements for who can officiate a wedding ceremony. While the rules are relatively straightforward, it is important to ensure that your friend meets the criteria set by the state. Let’s delve into the details.

Firstly, your friend must be at least 18 years old to legally officiate a wedding in Wisconsin. This age requirement is in place to ensure that the officiant is mature enough to handle the responsibilities associated with solemnizing a marriage.

Secondly, your friend must fall into one of three categories: a judge, an appointed court commissioner, or an ordained minister. Let’s explore each of these options further:

1. Judge: If your friend is a judge, they are automatically qualified to officiate your wedding in Wisconsin. Judges have the authority to solemnize marriages without any additional requirements or paperwork.

2. Appointed Court Commissioner: In Wisconsin, court commissioners are individuals who have been appointed by a judge to perform certain judicial functions. If your friend is an appointed court commissioner, they can legally officiate your wedding. However, it is essential to verify that they have the authority to solemnize marriages by checking their appointment status.

3. Ordained Minister: If your friend is not a judge or court commissioner, they can still officiate your wedding in Wisconsin if they are an ordained minister. Being an ordained minister means that they have received official recognition and authorization to perform religious ceremonies, including weddings. There are various religious organizations and online platforms that offer ordination services, making it relatively easy for someone to become an ordained minister.

It is important to note that Wisconsin does not require ordained ministers to register with the state or obtain any specific documentation. However, some counties or municipalities may have additional requirements or ask ministers to provide proof of ordination. Therefore, it is advisable to check with the county clerk’s office in the location where you plan to have your wedding to ensure your friend meets any local regulations.

As long as your friend is at least 18 years old and qualifies as a judge, appointed court commissioner, or ordained minister, they can officiate your wedding in Wisconsin. It’s always a good idea to double-check with the relevant county clerk’s office to ensure compliance with any local requirements. Best of luck with your wedding planning!