Become a Wedding Officiant in California – A Guide with Christian Leaders Institute and Alliance

In California, presiding over a wedding ceremony is an honored task, involving substantial responsibility and deep satisfaction. Not in California, Click here. 

If you’re considering becoming a wedding officiant or have been asked to fulfill this role, this guide will walk you through the California-specific process and rules, particularly focusing on the Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) and Christian Leaders Alliance‘s offerings.

Starting with the Right Training to become a wedding officiant in California

Training is a pivotal initial step in becoming a wedding officiant. The CLI offers a comprehensive Wedding Officiant program, providing necessary training and credentials to officiate weddings. This program connects the training to the highly respected Christian Leaders Alliance, a minister credentialing organization that has licensed thousands of ministers. See Directory of Ministers.  The program encompasses an array of essential topics:

  • The Christian interpretation of marriage
  • Basic pre-marriage counseling and conversations
  • Legal requirements for officiating weddings in most states. Click here for specific requirement in California. 
  • The officiant’s role in the wedding ceremony
  • Crafting a wedding ceremony
  • Preparing for a wedding ceremony
  • Assisting at rehearsals
  • Conducting a wedding ceremony

Getting Ordained with CLI and Christian Leaders Alliance

Upon completing your training with CLI, you are invited to get ordained as a Licensed Christian Wedding Officiant with the Christian Leaders Alliance. This Alliance is a minister credentialing organization that recognizes the CLI’s wedding skills training. Once you finish the program, you’re eligible to receive a Christian Leaders Alliance Licensed Christian Wedding Officiant credential, enabling you to conduct weddings professionally and effectively. To Become a wedding officiant in California, unlike some other states, ordained ministers do not need to register with the local government. However, it’s crucial to keep a copy of your ordination certificate, as you may be asked to provide it as proof of your credentials.

Fulfilling Your Legal Responsibilities

As a wedding officiant in California, you hold the key to ensuring the legality of the marriage ceremony. You are required to verify the couple’s marriage license before the wedding. The license is valid for 90 days, and the marriage ceremony must take place within this period.

After the ceremony, you, the couple, and the witnesses sign the marriage license. The completed license should be returned to the county recorder’s office within 10 days following the ceremony to be officially recorded.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start this program?

Start studying today!

  1. Register for a Study Account with the Christian Leaders Institute. This free study account provides you access to over 150 courses and mini-courses.  You will be automatically enrolled in a Getting Started Course that takes less than one hour to complete.
  2. Enroll in the Wedding Officiant Skills – 1 CLI Credit – Click here to view the course to enroll, worth 1 CLI Credit. Click here to view the course and enroll. This Christian Wedding Officiant Skills class is a one-credit course that imparts you with the skills needed to officiate a wedding. This tuition-free course takes approximately 5-10 hours to complete.
  3. Complete your credential program with the Wedding Officiant Recognition Course, which carries no credits. This course commends your ordination status and registers you with the Christian Leaders Alliance, where you will be listed as a minister in their directory.
  4. Finally, don’t forget to order your credentials.

If you want to get ordained as a Wedding Officiant in less than two weeks, this Christian program will help.

Is online ordination recognized in California? Yes, online ordinations, such as those provided by the Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance, are recognized in California. Remember to keep a copy of your ordination credentials for verification, if needed. One additional comment: This is not an “online only” transactional ordination. This credentialing process includes graded study with local recommendations and inclusion in the global Christian Leaders Alliance directory.

Do I need to register with the State of California to officiate a wedding? No, California does not require ordained ministers to register with the state. However, you should keep your CLI and Christian Leaders Alliance ordination credentials on hand in case they are requested.

Becoming a wedding officiant in California is a journey involving training and understanding your legal responsibilities. However, the joy and satisfaction derived from playing a pivotal role in a couple’s special day make it an endeavor worth pursuing. Whether you’re planning to become a full-time minister or officiate a single ceremony, the Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance offer a robust program to equip you with the skills and credentials you need.

Is this an instant ordination? No. This ordination is a study and local-recommendation-based credential with the Christian Leaders Alliance that credentials ministers worldwide. See Directory. This is similar to how other established Christian denominations.

What is the funding concept of Christian Leaders Institute? Christian Leaders is a religious non-profit that includes an Institute, Alliance and a College. Christian Leaders is a donation-based religious non-profit that seeks to multiply difference-makers. All the courses are free and supported by vision partners who believe that everyone should have access to free ministry training. Christian Leaders Institute asks participants to donate if they desire. Small administration fees with are called “mission shares” cover the cost of sent documents and materials. We use a give it forward approach to raising funds. 

What does this credential mean? Getting the Licensed Christian wedding officiant recognizes you as ordained in the first core minister role with the Christian Leaders Alliance. Click here to see the entire Minister Credential Program.

Do you credential women ministers? Yes. This Christian leaders program welcomes men or women in this Biblically-based program. Click here for more. 

How long has this organization been around? Rev. Henry Reyenga, an ordained minister with the Christian Reformed Church, and Rich DeVos founded Christian Leaders on September 20, 2001. Christian Leaders have been ordained ministers through the Christian Leaders Alliance since 2014. This program is for study-prepared and recommended ministers. Click here to read more. 

Are there other Christian Leaders Alliance Wedding Officiant in the State of California?

Yes. Over 175 fully licensed Christian Wedding officiants has completed this program in California since 2014. These Christian wedding officiants are now part of the worldwide Christian Leaders Alliance. This global religious society in not an “only ordination only” ordination mill. You join an army of difference-maker who serve Christ and share his love and goodness.

After I become a Wedding Officiant with Christian Leaders Alliance, Can I go further into other minister roles.

Yes. Click here to find out more details to pursue more studies and more minister credentials.

Meet Barbara, a California Wedding Officiant

My name is Barbara.  I have chosen to undertake the licensed wedding officiant course offered by the Christian Leaders Institute because a dear couple has asked me to officiate their wedding this June. My decision to engage with CLI for my training was driven by my Christian faith, desiring that my credentials align with my belief in Jesus Christ and His conception of marriage. Here, I’d like to share my journey of faith, revealing how Jesus has been an influential presence in my life, bestowing abundant blessings for numerous years.

Born in Long Island, New York, and raised in Southern California, I was fortunate to grow up in a loving, close-knit family that fostered a joyful childhood.

My academic journey led me to Cal State University, Northridge, where I aspired to become a writer. Post-graduation, God opened a multitude of doors for me. My career began with CBS, traversed several production companies, and culminated in an 11-year tenure at Disney. There, I had the opportunity to write and produce projects for the studio, the Disney Channel, and Walt Disney Attractions. Following my time at Disney, I established my own production company, through which the Lord brought many clients and fostered a thriving business for over 27 years.

During this time, I met my loving husband, Philip, a sweet, gentle, and talented man who shares my devotion to the Lord. We have cherished almost 30 years of marital bliss.

Spiritually, God met my needs in profound ways. Raised Catholic, I had attended Catholic Mass and Catechism for over a decade but hadn’t read the Bible. My only exposure to the Bible was through brief, weekly readings during Mass, with little explanation provided.

Once my siblings and I graduated high school, my family ceased attending Mass, leaving me with a spiritual void. This void was filled when I participated in an informal Bible study with peers at a friend’s house. The way the group dissected the text and connected it to contemporary life was enlightening.

Subsequently, I started attending a Christian church where some of my Bible study friends worshipped. Here, the pastor’s in-depth explanations of the Bible readings were captivating. One night, while driving after work, I found myself deeply contemplating what I had learned. It all started making sense – Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be, and He wanted a relationship with me.

So, there on the 134 freeway in January 1982, I confessed my sins and invited the Lord into my life. Since that moment, He has faithfully answered that prayer.

Guided by His influence, I’ve had opportunities to teach Sunday school for over 15 years, sing in the church choir, write and produce Christmas plays and Easter pageants, act as a weekly host for church services, and lead Bible Study Fellowship and several other women’s Bible study groups.

Now, with God’s assistance and the training I’ve received from the Christian Leaders Institute, I am set to become licensed to unite couples in holy matrimony. I am thrilled, humbled, and honored to embrace this role and embark on the next stage of my spiritual journey. I eagerly await June 23, 2023, when I will officiate the wedding of a delightful young couple in the presence of their families and Jesus Christ. I am deeply grateful to CLI for their invaluable assistance!