Starting a wedding-ceremony business is easier in some states than in others. The state of Colorado is one of the least restrictive states regarding the performance of weddings, so if you are looking to help couples celebrate their love for one another, you could be in luck. Whether you're a photographer, makeup artist or want to open a wedding chapel, getting started is likely simpler than you imagined.

Colorado Officiant Laws

In Colorado, ordination is not required to perform wedding ceremonies. Any of the following parties can solemnize a marriage:

  • Clergy member
  • Judges and retired judges
  • The couple getting married
  • Public officials
  • Court magistrates
  • Tribal officials

If you do not fit in any of the above categories, the couples you serve can solemnize their own marriage on the paperwork after you perform the ceremony. You might also consider becoming ordained online or pursuing a religious course of study for ordination if your belief system dictates it.

Instructions for Self Solemnizing Marriage in Colorado

Couples in Colorado are not required to have a third party present to solemnize their marriage. To self solemnize a marriage in Colorado, the couple must:

  • Apply for a marriage license at the County Clerk's office
  • Present valid forms of identification
  • Present documentation of divorce or name change, if applicable
  • Pay a $30 fee
  • Sign the marriage license to solemnize it after the ceremony
  • File the license with the County Clerk and get certified copies

There is no waiting period after couples apply for a marriage license in Colorado, so they are free to do the whole thing in one day. No blood tests are required, and no appointment is needed.

Get Ordained Online

If you feel better about advertising solemnization services for your customers as an ordained person, you could be ordained online. Many websites offer nondenominational Christian or interfaith ordination services. Some popular ones include Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries and Open Ministries. Before you complete a nearly instant ordination process with one of the organizations, look into the following:

  • Fees for ordination and documentation
  • Statements of belief
  • Time requirements
  • Renewal requirements
  • Reputation 

Religious Considerations

Sometimes you or the couples you serve have specific and strongly held faith beliefs that require the presence of a particular type of clergy person. If your own faith views lead you to pursue ordination in a mainline Christian denomination, keep in mind that the process often involves an undergraduate degree, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, a few years of church experience, an exam and a vote by an ordination board. This is a lot of work to go through unless you genuinely feel called to that ministry.

Alternatively, consider compiling a list of local religious leaders who are willing to perform marriage ceremonies and then partner with them. Some clergy might have other requirements for couples before they marry, such as:

  • Being of the same faith
  • Holding certain beliefs
  • Baptism or another ritual
  • Premarital counseling
  • Church weddings

As you put together a list of marriage officiants, remember to include:

  • Mainline protestant clergy
  • Rabbis 
  • Roman Catholic priests
  • Imams
  • Eastern Orthodox priests
  • Nondenominational clergy
  • Unitarian Universalist clergy

Creative Wedding Business Ideas 

Because of the ease of marriage solemnization in Colorado, it can be a blast to plan wedding services as a small-business owner. Depending on the focus of your business, consider some of the following ideas:

  • Hair, makeup and ceremony packages
  • Photography and ceremony packages
  • Catering and ceremony packages
  • All-inclusive wedding packages
  • Hiking excursion weddings
  • Weddings on a boat
  • Urban setting weddings
  • Ceremony and creative arts reception
  • Rural setting weddings

Use your small business's specialty combined with the client's wedding desires to create and officiate memorable wedding experiences that are sure to be remembered for a lifetime.