Even celebrities are part of the growing trend. After New York legalized gay marriage last year, Lady Gaga became ordained to officiate the ceremony of her friend and personal yoga instructor. Conan O'Brien, Tori Spelling and Russell Brand are just a few of the other famous faces who've officiated wedding ceremonies for friends. 7 Celebs Who Have Officiated Their Friends' Weddings
New York City-based lawyer Amit Pandya is another friend-turned-officiant—and has unintentionally made marrying people into something of a hobby.
"I have officiated three of my friends' weddings. One was a joint Indian/non-denominational wedding, one was a standard Western non-denominational wedding, and one was a sort of a non-denominational wedding with some culturally Chinese items thrown in there. I was also just asked to officiate a same-sex wedding recently, so add that to the list," says Pandya, whose experience reflects the choice that many multicultural or interfaith couples are making to forego choosing one tradition or the other and instead ask a neutral party to marry them.
The ordination process for Pandya was simple. "I was allowed to officiate by getting ordained online at the Universal Life Church," he says. "It took about 3 minutes to do."
How To Get Ordained
While Pandya had an easy time securing his minister status, that's not the case for all who've been ordained online. YourTango editor and video producer Tom Miller, who recently officiated a friend's wedding, had to make three trips to the New York City clerk's office before walking away with the Marriage Officiant certificate that the city requires. His advice?
"Do as much in as far in advance as possible. Most of the online officiating 'providers' are small-scale operations who aren't especially quick to respond. It's also a good idea to call and get all the materials you need for your state or city."
Couples and officiants should investigate whether or not the state and county where they are to be wed accepts online ordinations like those the Universal Life Church provides. Some states, like California, grant one-day ordinations for the specific purpose of letting an otherwise unordained officiant act as a justice of the peace for couples.
Besides ordination hassles, there are other issues that couples choosing this route need to be prepared for.