a black and white photo of Jacob sitting on a chair signing the license
I can issue you a confidential marriage license for an extra $170-$217. It’s a fairly simple process where you fill out an online form (view the online form or pdf) and then I use that information to prepare your marriage license.
All that’s left is for you to sign the license at your rehearsal or on the day of your wedding.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s an overview of how it works in California...
a black and white photo of jacob signing a marriage license while he is kneeling down on the grass
In order to marry in California you need to buy a marriage license from the County Clerk or from a specialized Notary Public authorized by the Secretary of State (like myself). This is the process of being “issued a license. Whether you buy one from the County Clerk or myself, you will need
1) To fill out a marriage license application (The county clerk has one and I have a different one)
2) ID (driver’s license or passport)
3) A copy of any divorce papers (only if you’ve been divorced within the last 2 years)
Having obtained a marriage license, you have 90 days to get married before it expires. So the two-steps process of getting married is being 'issued a marriage license' and then 'legalizing it'
a photo of jacob signing a marriage license under the arches of Griffith Observatory with the couple having a moment behind him.
I am only able to issue Confidential Marriage Licenses. If you buy a license from the County Clerk office then you have a few decisions to make. Not only do you have to determine which County Clerk office to visit, but you also have to choose which type of Marriage License you want to buy: Confidential Marriage License or Public Marriage License. Both licenses will get you married and your marriage will be recognized in just about every country in the world, but here are the differences:
Jacob is instructing a woman where to sign on the marriage license
- Both can be used to legally marry and both are accepted by our government.
- The Public License has 2 spots for 2 witnesses to sign, but the Confidential License does not, so you don’t need witnesses present when you get married if you purchase a Confidential License.
- The Public License, after it is recorded and filed away, becomes public record, so anybody can look it up and receive an informative copy. The Confidential License does not become public record, so the information on the license can not be accessed by random people.
- Obtaining a certified copy of either license is the same for couples that marry, but if your kids, parents, or relatives want to buy a copy, they can only obtain one if it’s a Public License. They would not be able to get a copy of a Confidential License unless they obtain a court order.
- Confidential Licenses cost $85, while Public Licenses cost $91
- Requesting a certified copy of either license requires the same fee of $17
- Any couple can obtain a Public Marriage License; however, there is a California Law that only allows couples who are “currently living together” to purchase a Confidential Marriage License. Basically, you need to be cohabitating in order to receive this Confidential License. Please note that the County Clerk does not verify any information, but just ask if you’re living together. You can have different addresses on your ID’s and they don’t stipulate how long you have had to be living together, so an hour, week, or year makes no difference.
jacob signing the marriage license at the table as the couple looks on
When you go to the Register Recorder / County Clerk office to purchase a license, they will also give you the option to pay the extra $17 right then so that they will mail you a certified copy 6-8 weeks after your wedding.
If you don’t pay the extra $17 then you will either have to walk in or mail in an application with $17 included when you eventually do need a certified copy.
If you pay the extra $17 when you buy the license then they will mail the certified license to anywhere in the world.
I include the $17 in my fee (if you use me as your officiant).