Rhode Island Marriage Laws

Created and reviewed for accuracy by researchers at the Universal Life Church Ministries
Rhode Island Outline

Congratulations! If you've found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Rhode Island. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Rhode Island. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Rhode Island.

Quick Facts
  • ULC Ordination Accepted: Yes
  • Minister Registration Required: No
  • Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
  • Minister's Minimum Age: 18
  • Marriage License Waiting Period: 0 Days
  • Marriage License Valid For: 90 Days
  • Marriage License Return Within: By Expiration

1 How to Become an Ordained Minister in Rhode Island

If you haven't already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!

2 How to Officiate a Marriage in Rhode Island

Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk). Let them know that you are a minister of the Universal Life Church in Seattle, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage.

Select your county to quickly generate the contact information for your local marriage authority.

Select a county

Rhode Island's Top Wedding Spot

Rhode Island's Top Wedding Spot

Centrally located in the downtown harbor, the Newport Yachting Center

3 License to Marry in Rhode Island

After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our online store to purchase whatever documentation will be required. We typically advise ministers in Rhode Island to get an Ordination Package. Although minister registration is not required in Rhode Island you may be asked to display proof of your ordination to the county clerks before they will accept the marriage as having been legally solemnized. Having this proof of your ordination can also provide a great deal of peace-of-mind to any couple that you intend to marry. Additionally, please attempt to leave at least 3 weeks between the date of the wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your materials in advance.

Please note that weddings in Rhode Island require the presence of 2 witnesses in addition to the presence of the ordained minister.

4 How to Perform a Wedding in Rhode Island

Now that you've done all of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their Rhode Island marriage license from the appropriate office. This license is valid for 90 days, and there is no mandatory waiting period between when the couple receives the marriage license in Rhode Island and when the ceremony may be legally performed Please be aware that the signed license must be returned to the issuing office before its expiry.

At the Universal Life Church we receive several calls from wedding officiants in Rhode Island, after they've received their license to marry by getting ordained online, asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony. Once the legal matters have been taken care of, officiating a wedding (while a sometimes-daunting task) can be a great deal of fun. We would suggest that new Rhode Island wedding ministers concerned about the ceremony peruse one of our helpful wedding guides. The minister training section of our website should offer a helpful refresher for more experienced ministers.

Rhode Island Flag

Rhode Island Marriage Code

Marriage in Rhode Island is governed by Chapter 3 of Title 15 of Rhode Island's Statutes (the RI general laws). Ministers who got ordained online with the Universal Life Church have successfully solemnized thousands of weddings in the state. Below, you will find that we have reproduced a relevant excerpt of this code.
§ 15-3-5 Officials empowered to join persons in marriage. " Every ordained clergy or elder in good standing; every justice of the supreme court, superior court, family court, workers' compensation court, district court or traffic tribunal; the clerk of the supreme court; every clerk, administrative clerk, or general chief clerk of a superior court, family court, district court, or traffic tribunal; magistrates, special or general magistrates of the superior court, family court, traffic tribunal or district court; administrative clerks of the district court; administrators of the workers' compensation court; every former justice or judge and former administrator of these courts; every former chief clerk of the district court; every former clerk, administrative clerk, or general chief clerk of a superior court; the secretary of the senate; elected clerks of the general assembly;, any former secretary of the senate; any former elected clerk of the general assembly who retires after July 1, 2007; judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution; bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution; and United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law, may join persons in marriage in any city or town in this state; and every justice and every former justice of the municipal courts of the cities and towns in this state and of the police court of the town of Johnston and the administrator of the Johnston municipal court, while he or she is serving as an administrator, and every probate judge and every former probate judge may join persons in marriage in any city or town in this state, and wardens of the town of New Shoreham may join persons in marriage in New Shoreham.

View the Rhode Island Statutes on the official state site
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Bristol County

10 Court Street
Bristol, Rhode Island

Phone: (401) 253-7000
Fax: (401) 253-2647
Bristol County website »

Kent County

Noel Judicial Complex, 222 Quaker Ln
Warwick, Rhode Island

Phone: (401) 822-6900
Kent County website »

Newport County

43 Broadway
Newport, Rhode Island

Phone: (401) 845-5351
Newport County website »

Providence County

25 Dorrance Street,Room 104
Providence, Rhode Island

Phone: (401) 421-7740
Providence County website »

Washington County

4800 Tower Hill Rd # 173
Wakefield, Rhode Island

Phone: (401) 782-4121
Washington County website »