Presiding over a wedding in Texas is an act that is regulated by state law. The Texas Family Code regulates who can perform marriages. According to Texas Family Code 1.101, every marriage is valid unless challenged. The state regulates the type of person who can perform the ceremony as a way to ensure that the marriage is legal from the beginning.
Texas law authorizes leaders of organized religious groups, including rabbis, priests, ordained ministers and ministers holding a license, to officiate at weddings. The religious leaders must also have authorization from their organization to perform the weddings. Doing so without the proper authorization is a Class A misdemeanor.
Aside from religious leaders, judges are the only other people authorized to perform weddings in the state of Texas. Judges from the Texas Supreme Court, criminal court of appeals, probate court, juvenile, district, county and municipal courts can officiate a wedding. Certain retired judges hold this privilege as well.
Wedding officiators must review the marriage license to ensure that the couple can be wed, that the license is valid and the document is properly completed. Performing a wedding without authorizing the license constitutes a third-degree felony. The officiator cannot perform the marriage if the license is expired, prior to the passing of the 72-hour waiting period or if there is any doubt that the marriage, once entered, would be illegal under Texas state law. Illegal marriages include people who are still married to someone else and minors with no parental consent.
Filing the License
Judges and religious leaders performing weddings must file the signed marriage license with the state within 30 days of the wedding ceremony. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $500.