New York Wedding Laws

How to Become an Ordained Minister in New York

Become an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church and you can become a legally recognized wedding officiant in New York. Simply follow the instructions listed below.

How to Perform a Wedding in New York

1. The Universal Life Church Monastery's ordination is legally recognized by the State of New York. This means that our ministers are able to perform marriage ceremonies there without any difficulties. If you want to become a legally-recognized wedding officiant in New York, simply become ordained online through the ULC. Doing so only takes a couple of minutes and is done entirely online.

2. Before attempting to perform a ceremony, all New York ministers must contact the town clerk of the town they are planning on performing a wedding ceremony in to make sure that our ordination is accepted there. If the town clerk refuses to acknowledge the validity of our ordination, please let us know. If they do accept our ordination, ask the town clerk what forms of credentials and documentation you must have in your possession to file for a marriage license. Buy these ministry products from us from our church store. Make sure to leave three or more weeks between the wedding day and the day on which you make your order; failure to do so might cause your ministry products to arrive late.

3. We advise you keep your information in our ordination database as up to date as possible. This means that you need to let us know when your name, address, and e-mail changes. Failing to do so could jeopardize your ability to file for a marriage license with a New York town clerk if they decide to look into your ordination.

NYC Weddings: ULC ministers who are looking to officiate weddings in New York City need to buy a special package in order to do so; the standard ordination credential will not be enough to satisfy the NYC clerks' requirements! This package contains literally everything a person needs to register as a wedding officiant with New York City. Also, please note that all of the above applies to both native New Yorkers and those who are traveling to the Empire State from elsewhere.

Erie County Weddings: those who are looking to perform wedding ceremonies in Erie County should know that no registration whatsoever is required by ULC ministers in order to do so there. This new policy of the Erie County clerk's office is fundamentally different than the policies of other New York clerk's offices; the latter offices require that our ministers register with them before they perform weddings and will not let them file for a marriage license unless they do otherwise.

Need more information about how to perform a wedding ceremony or become a minister in New York? Have no fear, the ULC has several resources you can use to prepare for your first ceremony. The first is themonastery.org's Training section, which has wedding training, instructions on how to get your minister's license, marriage laws, and even information on how to start your own place of worship. Those looking for tips on how to officiate a wedding ceremony can visit the Ministers Network, a custom social network built by the ULC for the explicit purpose of giving our ministers a way share tips and advice on how to perform weddings (as well as to promote religious discourse amongst our ministers).

New York Marriage Laws

 

Definition: "The term "clergyman" and the term "minister" include a duly authorized pastor, rector, priest, rabbi, and a person having authority from, or in accordance with, the rules and regulations of the governing ecclesiastical body of the denomination or order, if any, to which the church belongs, or otherwise from the church or synagogue to preside over and direct the spiritual affairs of the church or synagogue." Excerpted from Article 3, Section 11, of the Domestic Relations code

For the City of New York: We include two letters with ordination packages shipped to New York that meet the City requirements. For more information see the following:

Who can perform a marriage ceremony? To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law which includes:

  • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body
    but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs

  • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law

Officiant Registration: Registration is conducted on Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Section 11-b of the Domestic Relations Law requires that all persons authorized by law to perform marriages register with the City Clerk's office before performing wedding ceremonies within New York City. Therefore, if you intend to perform a marriage ceremony within New York City you must register. If your activities are outside of New York City the registration requirement does not apply to you. There is a $15 charge, payable in money order only, for registration.

A clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader, or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture in the city of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhattan, or by the leader of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, having its principal office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society, having its principal office in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of the Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx county, or by the leader of any other Ethical Culture Society affiliated with the American Ethical Union. The term "clergyman" or "minister" when used in this article, shall include those defined in section two of the religious corporations law. The word "magistrate, " when so used, includes any person referred to in the second or third subdivision.

Gay Marriage and Same Sex Wedding Laws:

This state currently has legal same-sex marriage by State Legislature.

The Monastery Ordination Credential

To perform a marriage in New York you need to be ordained and may be required to provide proof of ordination such as an ordination credential, wallet credential, or a letter of good standing from the church.

ULC The Monastery's foreign corporation state filings

Read the full Law on the official site »

New York Wedding Laws by County

Albany County

32 North Russell Road
Albany , New York
12206,

Phone: (518) 487-5100
Fax: (518) 487-5099
E-mail: countyclerk@albanycounty.com
Albany County website »

Allegany County

7 Court Street
Rm 18
Belmont, New York
14813,
Phone: (585) 268-9270
Fmx: (585) 268-9659
E-mail: christr@alleganyco.com
Allegany County website »

Bronx County

851 Grand Concourse
Rm 118
Bronx, New York
10451,

Phone: (866) 797-7214
Fmx: (718) 590-8122
Bronx County website »

Broome County

P.O. Box 2062
Binghamton, New York
13902,

Phone: (607) 778-2451
Fmx: (607) 778-2243
E-mail: clerkinfo@co.broome.ny.us
Broome County website »

Cattaraugus County

303 Court St.
Little Valley, New York
14755,
Phone: (716) 938-9111
Fmx: (716) 938-9328
E-mail: ABernstein@cattco.org
Cattaraugus County website »

Cayuga County

160 Genesee Street
Auburn , New York
13021,

Phone: (315) 253-1271
Fax: (315) 253-1653
E-mail: sdwyer@cayugacounty.us
Cayuga County website »

Chautauqua County

1 North Erie Street
PO Box 170
Mayville, New York
14757,
Phone: (716) 753-4331
Fmx: (716) 753-4293
Chautauqua County website »

Chemung County

210 Lake Street
PO Box 588
Elmira, New York
14902,
Phone: (607) 737-2920
Fmx: (607) 737-2897
E-mail: chughes@co.chemung.ny.us
Chemung County website »

Chenango County

5 Court Street
Norwich, New York
13815,
Phone: (607) 337-1450
E-mail: countyclerk@co.chenango.ny.us
Chenango County website »

Clinton County

137 Margaret Street
Plattsburgh, New York
12901,
Phone: (518) 565-4700
Fmx: (518) 565-4718
Clinton County website »

Columbia County

560 Warren Street
Hudson, New York
12534,
 
Phone: (518) 828-3339
Fmx: (518) 828-5299
E-mail: htanner@govt.co.columbia.ny.us

Cortland County

46 Greenbush Street
Suite 105
Cortland, New York
13045,

Phone: (607) 753-5021
E-mail: elarkin@cortland-co.org
Cortland County website »

Delaware County

PO Box 426
Delhi, New York
13753,

Phone: (607) 746-2123
Delaware County website »

Dutchess County

22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, New York
12601,
Phone: (845) 486-2120
Fmx: (845) 486-2138
E-mail: bkendall@co.dutchess.ny.us
Dutchess County website »

Erie County

New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York
12237,

Phone: 1-866-881-2809
Erie County website »

Essex County

100 Court Street
P.O. Box 247
Elizabethtown, New York
12923,
 
Phone: (518) 873-3600
Essex County website »

Franklin County

355 West Main Street
P.O Box 70
Suite 248
Malone, New York
12953,
 
Phone: (518) 481-1681
Fmx: (518) 483-9143
E-mail: wmurtagh@co.franklin.ny.us
Franklin County website »

Fulton County

223 West Main Street
Johnstown, New York
12095,

Phone: (518) 736-5555
Fmx: (518) 762-9214
Fulton County website »

Genesee County

15 Main Street
Batavia, New York
14020,
 
Phone: (585) 344-2550 ext 2242
Fmx: (585) 344-8521
E-mail: coclerk@co.genesee.ny.us
Genesee County website »

Greene County

411 Main Street
Catskill, New York
12414,

Phone: (518) 719-3255
Fmx: (518) 719-3284
Greene County website »

Hamilton County

Route 8
P.O. Box 204
Lake Pleasant, New York
12108,

Phone: (518) 548-6385

Herkimer County

109 Mary Street
Suite 1111
Herkimer, New York
13350,
 
Phone: (315) 867-1129
Herkimer County website »

Jefferson County

175 Arsenal Street
Watertown, New York
13601,
 
Jefferson County website »

Kings County

360 Adams Street
Room 189
Brooklyn, New York
11201,
Phone: (347) 404-9750

Lewis County

Lewis County Court House
Lowville, New York
13367,
 
Phone: 315-376-5333
Fax: 315-376-3768
E-mail: Clerk@lewiscountyny.org
Lewis County website »

Livingston County

6 Court Street
Geneseo, New York
14454,

Phone: (585) 243-7010
Fax: (585) 335-1712
E-mail: jculbertson@co.livingston.ny.us%20
Livingston County website »

Madison County

New York State Health Department
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York
12237,

Phone: (212) 669-2400
Madison County website »

Monroe County

101 County Office Building
39 W. Main St.
Rochester, New York
14614,

Phone: (585) 753-1600
Fmx: (585) 753-1624
E-mail: mcclerk@monroecounty.gov
Monroe County website »

Montgomery County

P.O. Box 1500
Fonda, New York
12068,

Phone: (518) 853-8111

Nassau County

240 Old Country Rd
Mineola, New York
11501,

Phone: (516) 571-2664
Nassau County website »

New York County

60 Centre Street
Room 161
New York, New York
10007,
 
Phone: (646) 386-5955
alternate phone: (656) 386-5956
New York County website »

Niagara County

Niagara County Courthouse
P.O. Box 461
1st Floor
Lockport, New York
14095,

Phone: (716) 439-7025
alternate phone: (716) 439-7022
Fmx: (716) 439-7035
E-mail: niagaracounty.clerk@niagaracounty.com
Niagara County website »

Oneida County

800 Park Avenue
Utica, New York
13501,
Phone: (315) 798-5794
E-mail: countyclerk@ocgov.net
Oneida County website »

Onondaga County

New York

Onondaga County website »

Ontario County

20 Ontario Street
Canandaigua, New York
14424,
 
Phone: (585) 396-4200
Ontario County website »

Orange County

255 Main Street
Goshen, New York
10924,

Phone: (845) 291-2690
Fax: (845) 291-2691
Orange County website »

Orleans County

New York

Orleans County website »

Oswego County

46 East Bridge Street
Oswego, New York
13126,

Phone: (315) 349-8621
E-mail: williamsg@oswegocounty.com
Oswego County website »

Otsego County

197 Main Street
Cooperstown, New York
13326,

Phone: 607.547.4276
Fmx: 607.547.7544
E-mail: GardnerK@otsegocounty.com
Otsego County website »

Putnam County

40 Gleneida Avenue
Room 100
Carmel, New York
10512,

Phone: (845) 225-3641
Putnam County website »

Queens County

88-11 Sutphin Blvd.
Room 106
Jamaica, New York
11435,
Phone: (718) 520-3137

Rensselaer County

105 Third Street
Troy, New York
12180,

Phone: (518) 270-4080
Fmx: (518) 271-7998,
Rensselaer County website »

Richmond County

18 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, New York
10301,
Phone: (719) 390-5386
Richmond County website »

Rockland County

1 South Main Street
Suite 100
New City, New York
10956,

Phone: (845) 638-5070
Fmx: (845) 638-5647
E-mail: rocklandcountyclerk@co.rockland.ny.us
Rockland County website »

Saratoga County

40 McMasters St.
Ballston Spa, New York
12020,
 
Phone: (518) 885-5381

Schenectady County

620 State Street
Schenectady, New York
12305,
Phone: (518) 388-4220
Fmx: (518) 388-4224
E-mail: john.woodward@schenectadycounty.com
Schenectady County website »

Schoharie County

284 Main Street
PO Box 549
Rm 130
Schoharie, New York
12157,
 
Phone: 518-295-8316
Fax: 518-295-8338
Schoharie County website »

Schuyler County

105 Ninth Street
Unit 8
Watkins Glen, New York
14891,

Phone: (607)535-8133
Fmx: (607)535-8130
E-mail: lcompton@co.schuyler.ny.us
Schuyler County website »

Seneca County

1 DiPronio Drive
Waterloo, New York
13165,

Phone: (315) 539-1771
E-mail: clotz@co.seneca.ny.us
Seneca County website »

St. Lawrence County

Building #2
48 Court Street
Canton, New York
13617,
 
Phone: (315) 379-2237
Fmx: (315) 379-2302
E-mail: pritchie@co.st-lawrence.ny.us
St. Lawrence County website »

Steuben County

3 East Pulteney Square
Bath, New York
14810,

Phone: (607) 776-9631 ext 3203
Fax: (607) 664-2157
Steuben County website »

Suffolk County

310 Center Drive
Riverhead, New York
11901,
 
Phone: (631) 852-2000
E-mail: countyclerk@suffolkcountyny.gov
Suffolk County website »

Sullivan County

100 Main St
Monticello, New York
12701,

Phone: (845) 794-3000

Tioga County

16 Court Street
Owego, New York
13827,
Phone: (607) 687-8660
Fmx: (607) 687-8686
Tioga County website »

Tompkins County

320 N. Tioga Street
Ithaca, New York
14850,
Phone: (607) 274-5431
E-mail: countyclerkmail@tompkins-co.org
Tompkins County website »

Ulster County

Ulster County Office Building
244 Fair Street
Kingston, New York
12401,
Phone: (845) 340-3288
Fax: (845) 340-3299
E-mail: countyclerk@co.ulster.ny.us
Ulster County website »

Warren County Municipal Center

1340 State Route 9
Lake George, New York
12845,

Phone: (518) 761-6429
alternate phone: (518) 761-6426
Warren County Municipal Center website »

Washington County

Building A
383 Broadway
Fort Edward, New York
12828,
 
Phone: (518) 746-2170
Fax: (518) 746-2177
Washington County website »

Wayne County

9 Pearl St.
PO Box 608
Lyons, New York
14489,

Phone: (315) 946-7470
Fax: (315) 946-5978
E-mail: mjankowski@co.wayne.ny.us
Wayne County website »

Westchester County

110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
White Plains, New York
10601,
 
Phone: (914) 285-3080
Westchester County website »

Wyoming County

143 North Main Street
Warsaw, New York
14569,

Phone: (585) 786-8810
alternate phone: (585) 786-2264

Yates County

417 Liberty Street
Suite 1107
Penn Yan, New York
14527,

Phone: (315) 536-5120
alternate phone: (315) 536-4221
Fmx: (315) 536-5545
E-mail: countyclerk@yatescounty.org
Yates County website »