How is the Marriage Ceremony Performed?

Who May Perform

No person may celebrate the rites of marriage in Virginia who is not authorized by a Circuit Court.

Court Authorized Officiants:

1. A Minister, Pastor, Priest, etc..

2. Marriage Commissioners:

  • Virginia Chilton: (540) 710-1230
  • Rita Ohlert-Paul: (540) 373-8714
  • Betty Kasper Scott: (540) 845-4656
  • Pamela Mann: (571) 338-8551
  • Margaret Hyland (540) 216-2229
  • Chris Karol 804-389-8655
  • Amy Allensworth: (540) 760-6843

3. Please follow the links if you wish to become a, One-Time Civil Celebrant, One-Time Religious Celebrant or a Religious Celebrant.

*NOTE: There is no officiant available at the courthouse to perform ceremonies

Structure of Ceremony:

There is no statutorily prescribed structure or wording that must be used during a marriage ceremony. Couples are free to write their own vows and plan their own ceremonies in accordance with their own beliefs and customs.


There is no statutory requirement that witnesses be present at the marriage ceremony.

Marriage Solemnization:

*The marriage is solemnized when the rights of marriage have been celebrated and the officiant completes the Marriage Record and the Marriage Return.

*Marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed and practiced in the society.

Marriage License:

*Within five days after the marriage ceremony, the officiant must complete and sign the Marriage Register and the Marriage Return and return both forms to the circuit court clerk's office that issued the license.

*In addition to these two forms, the officiant is welcome to prepare any other type of certificate to be given to the newly married couple.