GETTING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE, YOUR CERTIFICATE AND CHANGING YOUR NAME
The weddings I perform in California are legally recognized by all 50 states, but there are certain things you must know and do.
BEFORE THE WEDDING—OBTAINING A LICENSE: For a wedding to be legally performed in California, you are required to obtain a marriage license from a County Recorder’s office in California. If you live in California, you can obtain the license in your home county and use it in any other county in California within 90 days. If you are visiting from out of state, plan to arrive early enough to have time to obtain the license in the county in which you plan to marry. You MUST obtain the license in advance and bring it to the ceremony (or rehearsal). To get the license, you must both be physically present in person with valid picture government identification and pay a fee. No one else can do this on your behalf. Some counties require that you make an appointment; others allow walk-up service—best to check your county’s policy on its website (see below). Visit the appropriate link below to learn how to obtain a marriage license in five SoCal counties. For other California counties, Google the name of your county and the words, “marriage license” -- e.g., “Kern County Marriage License”—the website you need will appear. If you want the County Recorder to mail you your official certificate after the wedding, they will do so, but you must indicate so and pay a fee when you procure your license! This is especially important for out-of-town couples, and for locals, will save you a trip back to the office.
AFTER THE WEDDING—OBTAINING YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE: After the ceremony, for a Public License (which is what most people get), you are required to have at least one witness sign the license (although you can have two witnesses, which is what most couples do, typically the Best Man and Maid of Honor), then I will complete my portion. (If you have a Confidential License, no witnesses are required to sign, only me.) State law requires the wedding officiant (that's me) submit the document to the County Recorder, so I will mail it for you the next business day. (Please affix two First-class stamps to the large official envelope the Recorder provides you.) The County Recorder does not automatically send you your marriage certificate after the wedding unless you requested that when you obtained your license. Check your county’s policy, and ask when you obtain the license. Depending on the county, wait about 10-15 business days to give time for the mail and the office clerks to work. If you go in person, only one of you needs to be present to obtain the license. Copy and paste the appropriate link below into your browser to learn how to obtain your marriage certificate from the county where you obtained your license.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY LEGALLY MARRIED: If you are already legally married and are requesting a vow renewal--maybe you were legally but privately married at the County Recorder’s office, and now want a public/religious ceremony, or you were married years ago and want to say “I still do,”--I’m happy to serve you. If the ceremony is clearly a vow renewal, I don’t need to see your marriage certificate. If your ceremony is a blessing of a recent civil marriage, then I do ask to see your official marriage certificate.
LINKS TO COUNTY RECORDER'S OFFICES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
San Diego County
Obtaining a License: https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/pages/marriage-licenses.aspx
Requesting your Marriage Certificate: https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/marriage-certificates.aspx
Obtaining a License: http://www.asrclkrec.com/Clerk/MarriageLicensesCeremonies/PublicMarriageLicense.aspx
Requesting your Marriage Certificate: http://www.asrclkrec.com/Recorder/Birth,Death,MarriageCertificates.aspx
Obtaining a License: http://ocrecorder.com/services/marriage
Requesting your Marriage Certificate: http://ocrecorder.com/services/records/marriage
Los Angeles County
Obtaining a License: https://www.lavote.net/home/county-clerk/marriage-licenses-ceremonies/general-info
Requesting your Marriage Certificate: https://www.lavote.net/home/records/marriage-records/marriage-records-request
San Bernardino County
Obtaining a License: http://www.sbcounty.gov/arc/MarriageLicense.aspx
Requesting your Marriage Certificate: http://www.sbcounty.gov/arc/Vitals.aspx
Changing Your Name?
For resources on updating your new name with the Social Security Administration, the California DMV and more, click the button below for links to visit and a printable list of things to do.