Although Texas is among the states that recognize common-law marriage, Texas law also restricts the persons authorized to officiate over or solemnize weddings. An officiant is anyone who officiates over a religious rite. To act as an officiant at a wedding within Texas borders, you must be be an active or retired judge, a licensed or ordained priest, minister or rabbi, an officer ordained by a religious organization, or a justice of the peace.
Ordained Member of the Clergy
Consult with a pastor, priest or rabbi within your own religious tradition if you are interested in becoming an ordained member of the clergy. These people can provide detailed information about ordination requirements for your faith. They can also give you a sense of the extensive time commitment required for many established faiths and help you decide if the calling of the ministry is for you.
Complete the educational requirements for your religious faith. This could involve years of study at a seminary, yeshiva or equivalent ministerial education program, where you will get in-depth training in theology, practice, ritual and liturgy, church, temple or synagogue management and scriptural counseling.
Serve in a position of leadership. Many established faiths require you fill several top roles within your congregation prior to full ordination.
Justice of The Peace
Become a Texas resident. By statue, to qualify as a justice of the peace, you must have been a Texas resident for at least 12 months and be at least 18 years old. As a practical matter, to be competitive for a justice of the peace post, you should already be a law school graduate and a practicing attorney.
Obtain the application paperwork, which you can get from the office of the Texas Secretary of State. Among the documents will be an authorization for a criminal background check.
Obtain an appointment from the governor of Texas. As a justice of the peace, you may officiate at Texas weddings.
Officer of a Religious Organization
Serve in a position of leadership within your church, temple or synagogue. Religious organizations often have lay leaders who function as elders within their congregations. You can do this without having to go through he rigorous theological education often required of pastors, priests, ministers and rabbis.
Obtain an appointment as an elder or other comparable officer position. Texas law allows officers within a religious organization who are not necessarily ministers, priests or rabbis to officiate at a wedding ceremony.
Obtain authorization from your religious order to perform wedding ceremonies. Texas law grants churches and other religious organizations wide latitude in defining who may perform wedding ceremonies within their own traditions. If your religious organization grants you the authority, then Texas will recognize that and allow you to sign the marriage certificate as the officiant.
Some ordination programs require minimal educational requirements. The First Nation Ministry, for instance, offers an ordination after you file a $32 fee and a brief application.