California marriage licenses are issued by a county clerk or recorder.

You can apply for your license at the office of any county clerk or recorder in California, and may get married in any county in the state, regardless of where you obtained your marriage license, as long as you obtained it within California. You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California. 

Fees, hours of issuance, and identification requirements for a marriage license may vary by county. It is important that you contact the office of the county clerk in the county in which you plan to obtain your license, so you can verify what you will need to bring. You can find information on contacting county clerks for any county in California here.

To obtain a marriage license:  Both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the county clerk’s office. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state issued identification card, drivers license, passport, or military identification. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate.

If you have been married before, you will need to know the specific date your last marriage ended, and how it ended (death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity.

Same-sex weddings: Same-sex weddings are legal in California, and there is no difference in procedures regarding licenses and records between a marriage between individuals of the opposite sex or the same sex.

Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.

California marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid, and you must purchase a new license.

All information on the marriage license must be legible, unambiguous, and reproducible. Do not change any information on the license, cross out information, or use white out, as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license. Contact the county clerk’s office if you have questions about completing the marriage license and/or incorrect information contained on the marriage license.

When I serve you as your officiant, it is your and your partner’s responsibility to:

    • Obtain a marriage license

    • Carefully proofread it for errors and if necessary correct them with the clerk’s office before your wedding day

    • Bring your license with you on the day of the ceremony in the envelope in which it came

On the day of your ceremony:  Two witnesses you have selected will sign the license immediately preceding or following the ceremony. I will then take the license with me to finalize the paperwork and mail the completed license to the county clerk’s office for processing.  

You will NOT automatically receive a copy of your marriage license after you have been married. The easiest way to obtain a copy of your marriage license after you are married is to request and pay for a copy from the office of the county clerk or recorder that issued your license. You can find more information on obtaining copies of marriage records here.

Learn more about obtaining a California Marriage License.