Jacob Marries

Marriage License

I can issue you a confidential marriage license for an extra $160. 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...

Purchase a License

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:

  • ID (driver’s license or passport)
  • 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”.

Public vs. Confidential License

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:

    • After the wedding is over and the marriage license is returned to the county clerk, the Public Marriage License becomes public record, so anybody can inquire and get a copy of it from vital records.

      The Marriage license contains your names, birth date, place of birth, parent's names and place of birth, as well the number of times you've been married before.

    • There is a place for two witnesses to sign the marriage license when you legalize your marriage

    • The County Clerk charges $91 for a Public Marriage License

    • There are no stipulations as to who can purchase this license

    • After the wedding is over and the marriage license is returned to the county clerk, the Confidential Marriage License remains confidential so only the married couple is able to request a copy. I believe this was created for police officers so that criminals can’t track them down; however, many couples like the extra security.

    • There is not a place on the license for a witness to sign

    • The County Clerk charges $85 for a Confidential Marriage License

    • This license is only for couples who are already living together. There is no time requirement for how long a couple needs to live together in order to qualify. The County Clerk doesn't fact check and you don’t even need to write the same home address on the marriage license form. They just take your word for it.

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 $15 right then so that they will mail you a certified copy 6-8 weeks after your wedding. If you don’t pay the extra $15 then you will either have to walk in or mail in an application with $15 included when you eventually do need a certified copy. If you pay the extra $15 when you buy the license then they will mail the certified license to anywhere in the world. I include the $15 in my fee.