Before your ceremony, make sure that your officiant is registered with and licensed by the state of Ohio to perform weddings.

The Ohio Revised Code (Ohio law) lists those people who are allowed by law to solemnize marriages:

  1. an ordained minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages by the State of Ohio;
  2. a judge of a county court;
  3. a judge of a municipal court;
  4. a probate judge;
  5. a mayor of a municipality may solemnize marriages within the county where the municipality lies; and
  6. the superintendent of the state school for the deaf.

Just because a person is an ordained minister doesn’t mean he or she is legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. Any ordained minister, preacher, pastor, elder, bishop, etc. must be licensed by the state of Ohio because it is the state of Ohio which gives that person the authority to pronounce a couple husband and wife. Any person who is licensed by the state of Ohio to perform marriages will receive from the state an actual license, which is to be produced at the request of any party to a marriage or to any probate judge.

Those listed above in items 2 through 6 are authorized to perform marriages by virtue of their political position and do not have to go through the licensing process. However, they may choose not to perform wedding ceremonies.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is the entity that issues licenses to marriage officiants. That office provides an on-line, searchable database through their web site at You can use this database to search for a particular person by name OR you can search for marriage officiants in your area by utilizing the “city” search feature.

Once on the Secretary of State’s home page, click on “Records” in the horizontal list at the top of the page. On the “Records” page, you will see a section entitled “MINISTER LICENSE.” Click on the “SEARCH MINISTERS” box. Input your search criteria and click on the “Run Report” button. The results, if any, will include the officiant’s name and address.

It is believed that the database is kept fairly current; however if you are unable to find a certain name or have other questions, you may call that office at 1-877-767-3453.

This information is being provided by this office as a courtesy and is not to be construed as legal advice.