California Marriage License Info

California Marriage License Information

There are two types of marriage licenses available in the state of California--a Public Marriage License and Confidential Marriage License.

marriage-license-california

Don’t forget to bring your license on your wedding day.

1. Regular (Public) Marriage License

  • You may obtain your license at any County Clerk’s office (does not have to be in the county in which you live or the one in which you will be married). It is recommended that you call the County Clerk's office to see if they suggest setting an appointment. You could find yourselves in a long line without an appointment in some locations.
  • Licenses are only valid for 90 days, so you must go sometime within the 90 days prior to your wedding.
  • No blood test is required.
  • No waiting period is needed. The clerk will give you your license immediately.
  • The two of you must go to the County Clerk’s office together and bring photo identification. Picture id such as Drivers License or other valid identification. Some counties recommend bringing certified copies of your birth certificates. Know your parents names, mothers' maiden names and places of their birth.

  • One witness is required to be present at the ceremony. This can be your photographer. It cannot be your wedding officiant.
  • If you have been married before, you must show proof of divorce, death or annulment.
  • The cost varies by county. Some counties will only accept cash

2. California Confidential Marriage License 

Another type of marriage license that can be obtained in the state of California is the Confidential Marriage License.

  • Parties to the marriage must be living together prior to the marriage
  • No witnesses are required
  • Marriage record is only available to the named parties on the document
  • Fees vary for the Confidential License.
  • In some counties, the price is the same as that of a regular (public) license. In others, it is more expensive.
  • License valid for 90 days after date of issue.
  • No waiting period is needed. The clerk will give you your license immediately.
  • If you have been married before, you must show proof of divorce, death or annulment.

Additional California Marriage License Information (applies to both public and confidential marriage licenses)

Note the Name Equality Act of 2007 allows one or both applicants for a California marriage license to elect to change the middle and/or last names by which each party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage.

You MUST decide if you are taking your spouse's last name, or hyphenating your name AT THE TIME OF YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE APPLICATION.

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the middle and/or last names by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage. Each party applying for a marriage license may choose to include on their marriage license the new name in the spaces provided on the marriage license application without intent to defraud. Changing one’s name through this process can only be done at the time the marriage license is issued by the County Clerk or authorized Notary Public, as applicable.Marriage licenses must be filed by the officiant within 10 days of the ceremony (although it is a Blue Sky Elopement policy to mail the license within 24 hours of the ceremony).

Couples may obtain a certified copy of their marriage license by submitting application to the County Clerk approximately one week after the ceremony. Instructions and fees for this will be included in the information packet given to the couple from the County Clerk's office.

This information is accurate and current to the best of our knowledge. For more California Marriage License Information, please consult the local County Clerk's office.