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Legal requirements for the State of Ohio and what to expect once you book an officiant.

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The purpose of this page is to provide information on the legal requirements for West Ohio, information that you will need to be prepared to provide us, and information on what to expect when you choose Appalachian Life Rituals for your wedding. You may already be aware of some or all this information, however, it is our mission to be as transparent as possible. We know the information contained herein is quite lengthy, but please read it carefully and in its entirety.

Your wedding officiant (or marriage celebrant) must be 18 or over. They are not required to be a resident of Ohio. They are required to provide proof of their ordination and a letter of good standing with the society or church that provided the ordination to the Ohio Secretary of State Office for registration. No ID is issued; however, a license number is issued. Your wedding officiant is David L Shaffer. David meets all the legal requirements for Ohio to officiate weddings. You can search for David’s license at the Home Page - Records Portal Search (

Your wedding cannot be conducted by video chat. The minister and couple must be present at the ceremony; however, witnesses are not required. A couple’s verbal consent is required as part of the ceremony (the “I do” portion), as is the minister’s verbal pronouncement of that consent. The rest of the ceremony is up to the minister and the couple.

The State of Ohio requires that couples both apply for and pick up marriage licenses in person at the probate court of the county of their choice. The probate judge will verify the relevant information, requiring that either a birth certificate, voter registration card, or driver’s license be presented as proof of identity. Both parties will need to provide, under oath, their names, ages, residence, place of birth, both their father’s name and mother’s maiden name if applicable, as well as the name of the officiant expected to solemnize the wedding. The names of former spouses and any children born in previous marriages must also be divulged, along with any relevant divorce documents. Ohio does not require a grace period between the time the marriage license is granted, and the ceremony is performed, unless either party is under 18 years of age. If either of you is under 18, please provide that information upfront. Couples have 60 days to have the ceremony once the license is in their hands. Ohio does not require either member of the couple to reside in the state or country and currently recognizes marriage equality.

After the ceremony, the officiant must make a copy of the signed Marriage License and is required to keep a permanent record of every marriage performed. David is ordained through Universal Life Church Ministries and the official title on the Marriage License will be Minister even if the ceremony itself has no religious components. His home address will also appear on the license, and the officiant has thirty days from the time of the ceremony to return the license to the issuing authority.

If possible, before the ceremony, we would like to invite both partners to schedule a time with us for a Zoom meeting. Or, if you prefer, an in-person meeting if locations and schedules permit. Please plan on about thirty minutes. This will be an opportunity for us to visibly meet each other, converse, and ask questions. At any point up until the ceremony, please feel free to schedule another Zoom meeting if you require it. I am also available via WeddingWire, our website (, direct email (, or by phone at (304) 997-5810.

Individual packages have a certain number of miles included. An additional fee of $1.00 per mile is assessed outside the included mileage. Once you book your wedding, a bill for the fee will be sent. It can be paid by check up to 14 days prior to the ceremony, by credit card or PayPal up to three days prior to the ceremony, alternatively, you can pay with cash the day of the ceremony, and a temporary receipt will be provided followed by an updated copy of your invoice showing the payment. Also, you will receive an email containing this information along with more specific information pertaining to your specific circumstances. For example, we need the names of both partners, their ages, addresses, contact information, venue, etc. That email will also include any pending financial information. This includes the package purchased, deposits made, and the balance remaining.

On the day of the ceremony, David will arrive 5 – 30 minutes prior to the event depending on the venue and type of wedding. At that time, please have the marriage license ready for his review and discuss any last-minute changes that he may need to know. If your package includes a rehearsal, the license will be reviewed at that time. The couple’s signature is not needed at this time, as the couple would have signed all the required paperwork at the time the license was issued. We also offer Notary services in the event you have a name change or other legal document because of the wedding.

After the ceremony, it would be appreciated if you leave feedback at and let us know how we did. Your comments may be used on our website for testimonials and your submission, through whatever medium, provides your permission to do so. We also humbly request that if the photographer or the couple could provide a picture or pictures of the event, including any with the officiant and the couple, it would be greatly appreciated.

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