Know: Who can legally marry you
Integrity should be at the heart of the most important event in your life. Unfortunately, the internet has become a haven for those who would lead you to believe they are legitimately credentialed when, in fact, they are not. You can easily locate "clergy" having invested little more than "postage and handling" in their "credentials" who now claim to be legitimate and experienced clergy.
The IDPH website explains: To be valid, a marriage must be performed by one of the following individuals:
- a judge of a court of record or a retired judge of a court of record;
- a judge of the Court of Claims;
- the county clerk in counties having 2 million or more inhabitants (Cook County);
- a public official whose powers include solemnizing marriages;
- or an officiant performing the marriage in accordance with the principles of any religious denomination (and) the officiant be in good standing with his religious denomination...
Know: Many officiants found on the Internet possess imitation credentials
In addition to those who possess imitation credentials, you will find other official sounding titles. As you search the internet, you will find those who may acknowledge they are not really a judge or clergy, but claim they can legally officiate a wedding. Some claim the status of "Certified Celebrant" or "Wedding Officiant". There is no such class of officiants listed in the above section titled "Know who can marry you."
You may find the 10 Questions resource helpful as you search for the right clergy to serve you.
Service Ministries weddings are performed only by legitimately ordained clergy. We perform ceremonies, both religious or contemporary in nature.
Know: There is no Justice of the Peace in Illinois
The internet has created an opportunity for those looking to take advantage of couples as they plan their wedding celebration. Couples looking for contemporary wedding celebrations can find sites on the internet leading them to believe the officiant is a Justice of the Peace. However, Illinois abolished the office of Justice of the Peace in 1962!
You should know that many legitimate clergy will conduct a contemporary ceremony, as Service Ministries does.
Know: Experience is the difference in exceeding expectations and disaster
When choosing an officiant for your wedding, be sure you check out their experience. Dozens of "clergy" have arrived on the scene to exploit couples who plan to marry. Be sure to ask, "How many weddings have you performed?" and "Where did you get your training?" Taking the time to weed out amateur officiants may save you from a memorable disaster on wedding day.
Know: Your marriage can have integrity
Most of today's couples want to design their ceremony. Know you can design the content and feeling of your wedding celebration and still maintain integrity in the wedding by having your ceremony conducted by a legitimately credentialed officiant from Service Ministries.