How to Get Married in California:
Call for Appointment:
ID and California Residency Requirements:
You do not have to be a resident of California to apply for a marriage license there.
Information you need to know before you start filling out the marriage license application:
- Where each of your parents were born (city and state)
- The names of your parents including your mother’s maiden name
Confidential License in California:
A Confidential marriage ceremony must be performed in the County where you applied for your marriage license. If you received your marriage license in California, a Public marriage ceremony may be performed anywhere in the State of California.
California Waiting Period:
More information on California proxy marriages
Common Law Marriages:No.
Same Sex Marriages:Yes. Updated Info From State of California
- 6/26/2013: The Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 allows gay couples to marry in California.
- Although the court decided on February 7, 2012 that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, the decision is stayed pending further proceedings.
- On August 4, 2010 U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California's Proposition 8. An appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was filed by supporters of the gay marriage ban. That trial will begin on December 6, 2010. Gay weddings are still not allowed in California.
- As of June 16, 2008, due to the May 2008 ruling of the California Supreme Court, same-sex marriage was legal in California. That was changed with the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008.
- Gay couples can still apply for a Domestic Partnership Certificate. More info
"By a 5-4 vote, the justices held in Hollingsworth v. Perry that the traditional marriage activists who put Proposition 8 on California ballots in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority, or standing, to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial."
Source: Mike Sacks, Ryan J. Reilly. "Supreme Court Rules on Prop 8, Lets Gay Marriage Resume in California." HuffingtonPost.com. 6/26/2013.
California will now "provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state. In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states."
Source: Dan Smith. "Schwarzenegger signs gay rights bills." Sacbee.com. 10/12/2009.
Officiants in California:Clergy, Justices, Judges, Magistrates, Marriage Commissioners (current or retired).
Frequently Asked Questions by Marriage Officiants
A few California counties allow a member of your family or a friend to officiate at your civil marriage ceremony.
Deputy for a Day Program
Miscellaneous:A California marriage license is valid for ninety (90) days. What this means is you two have 90 days to get married and have your marriage license officially recorded. If you wait past that time frame, you can't get married without applying for and paying for another marriage license.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage:You have to contact the County Recorder's Office in the county in which the marriage occurred to get a certified copy of a marriage license.
Still Confused About Getting Married in California?If you are still confused about the different terms used in the marriage license application process, check out these articles:
PLEASE NOTE:State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.
It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.
Please notify us of any oversights or errors.