Marriage License

The marriage license is the most important item to remember for your wedding day, as it is the only legal document you need to actually be married. Marriage license regulations can vary from state to state, so it is important to know the requirements in the state you are getting married in. Additionally, many couples today have their friends/close family officiate their wedding and so the officiate comes with a lot of questions pertaining to the marriage license. To help clear up some frequently asked questions, here is a guide for California marriage license regulations. (If you are getting married in another state, double check their requirements!)

Where can I get it?

You can pick up a marriage license in any county of the state you are getting married in. However it is advised to get it in the same county that you are getting married if possible, but it is not required.

How far in advance do I need to get it?

A marriage license expires after 90 days of being granted. Therefore do not get your license more than two months before your wedding day to be on the safe side. 

How much does a marriage license cost? 

$35 - $100 depending on the county. 

What do I need to bring to the court?

You will need your birth certificate or passport in addition to your driver's license.

Who signs it?

The couple signs the license upon receiving it at the court. The officiant and witness(es) will sign on the wedding day. You can choose to have one to two witnesses. 

How does my officiant fill out the license if (s)he is a friend?

This question is the one we get most often. Most of the officiant's section is self explanatory - name, address, etc. - but there are a couple boxes that need clarification. In the box labeled "title," write "Minister." In the box asking for religious denomination, write "non-denominational" or "Universal Life Church." Some counties don't accept the answer "non-denominational," so write the latter option to be safe. 

How many days do I have to return the signed license?

After everyone signs the license on the wedding day, you will have ten days to return the marriage license.