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    F.A.Q

  • What’s the process of Getting Married in Los Angeles?
  • Anyone can get married in Los Angeles. There are two parts to this process: Obtaining a license & have an officiant solemnize the marriage.

    You can find more information on obtaining a marriage license here, so I’ll go into the brief explanation. You can purchase a marriage license from any county in California (you cannot bring one in from another state or country), so if you live in another county within California, then it may be easier to pick one up from an office close to you.

    In Los Angeles, there are five different county clerk offices that you can visit to purchase a license (County Clerk Locations). You will need to fill out their online application first (County Clerk Marriage License Application), and then go and pay the fee and pick it up. You’ll both need to be there with an ID and if either of you have been divorced within the last 2 years then you will need to bring the certificate of dissolution.

    The Los Angeles County Clerk also has a program where they train Notary Publics to issue marriage licenses on their behalf. This is great for couples who don’t have time to travel to the county clerk office or prefer for someone to come to them.

    I have received their training and am able to issue you a marriage license, so I can bring it with me whenever you decide to marry. I have my own application (LINK) and will need to see your driver’s license or passport. Just like the county clerk, if you’ve been divorced within the last 2 years then I’ll need to see your dissolution of divorce.

    Now, it should be noted that there are two types of marriage licenses: Public License & Confidential License. Here are the differences and similarities
    • 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 receive a court order.
    • Confidential Licenses cost $85, while Public Licenses cost $91
    • Requesting a certified copy of either license requires the same fee of $15
    • Anybody couple can obtain a copy of the Public Marriage License; however, there is a California Law that only allows couples who are “currently living together” to purchase a Cublic 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.

    I am only able to issue confidential marriage licenses, but you can get either one from the county clerk’s office.

    Once you have your marriage license, you I would need to legally marry you by performing a ceremony. You can have a normal wedding ceremony or something more simple. Most wedding ceremonies last 15-25 minutes, while elopement ceremonies carry a length of 3-4 minutes. The simplest form an elopement ceremony can take is just answering one simple question: “do you take this man/woman to be your husband/wife?” This is the most basic form of an elopement and can happen anywhere.

    When the ceremony is over, I will sign your marriage license and then at that point, you will be legally married. Afterwards, I will return the license to the county clerk and they will process the application and file it away.
  • What’s the difference between a public license and a confidential license?
  • Here are the differences and similarities
    • Both can be used to legally marry and both are accepted by our government.
    • The public license has two spots for a 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 anyone
    • 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 receive a court order.
    • Confidential Licenses cost $85, while Public Licenses cost $91
    • Requesting a certified copy of either license requires the same fee of $15
    • 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.
  • What is an Elopement?
  • An elopement is just a term I use to describe when two people want to marry without all the big and traditional wedding stuff. An elopement can take on a few different forms, but usually it’s just the couple (maybe a handful of close friends and family) who want to get married in a very simple manner. We meet in a scenic location (beach, overlook, garden, or even a coffee shop) and either have a short little 4 minute ceremony or just sign the papers. Take a look at my ELOPEMENT PAGE for more information.
  • What are your prices?
  • My fees range from $99-$550. Take a look at my PRICE PAGE
  • Is this your main job or just a side gig?
  • I’ve been marrying people for over 10 years and it has never been what I would consider my “main job”. Probably because I don’t really consider it work. Weddings have always been something that I enjoy, and I’m scared that I would grow to resent it if officiating ever became my sole source of income.

    Now, there have been years where weddings took up more of my time, but currently, I’m in a season where I just don’t have the time to perform as many as I used to. I did a total career shift a few years back and became a real estate agent. The good thing is that there is a lot of flexibility in real estate, so generally I’m able to make space for some weddings, but currently it’s keeping me really busy and I haven’t been able to make as much space for weddings as I would like.
  • Do you come to rehearsals?
  • For my first 6 years of officiating, I attended every rehearsal. Yes, sometimes the drives were long and I had to turn down other wedding opportunities because a rehearsal was scheduled that same time, but I saw the benefit of being there.

    Coordinators run the rehearsal, so my part only takes about 2-3 minutes. I would give a general overview of the ceremony and assure the couple that when they had to repeat something after me I would only give it to them in short phrases. I promised them that they wouldn’t have to worry about anything, and that I would guide them through the entire ceremony. That quick moment was a way for me to calm any nerves that they might have.

    One summer evening I attended a rehearsal in Malibu on a Friday. The drive didn’t bother me, for I genuinely enjoyed going to the rehearsal and spending a little extra time with the couple.

    When the rehearsal started, the coordinator ran the entire thing. She had us practice walking in and walking out. She showed us where to stand. Again, all these things are great and super helpful for the wedding party. Then after 45 minutes of this (yes, it takes that long to practice walking in and out), she said, “Thanks everyone! I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

    This caught me by surprise. the coordinator totally forgot to give me any time with the couple to do my thing. I went there for the couple, but in that moment it became clear that I was only there to learn when to walk and where to stand.

    I thought that being there provided a little more sense of security and assurance. I thought that it would help calm their nerves before standing in front of all their family and friends. But after the coordinator said those words, everybody started walking away. The Bride and Groom seemed fine and didn’t appear as shocked as me that I hadn’t done anything.

    This moment taught me that others don’t view my role the same. Literally, everyone besides me understood my role that night was to learn when to walk down the aisle and where to stand. Nothing else.

    I spoke up and asked the coordinator if I could quickly go over the ceremony with the couple. We did that, which took about 3 minutes and then I drove home.

    On the drive, I began to think about spending 4 hours (a lot of driving) of my evening just to spend 3 minutes going over a ceremony at a rehearsal. It just didn’t make much sense. Coordinators take really good care of the bride and groom. They are there to make sure that couples feel comfortable before the ceremony. They listen and explain. They answer questions and solve problems. It is redundant for me to be there. Knowing where to stand is pretty much always the same, and when to walk isn’t very hard to figure out when I arrive early on the day of the wedding.

    I always knew that officiants don’t traditionally attend rehearsals, but I thought I was different...that couples needed me there. This moment helped check my hubris by telling me, “Jacob, they don’t need you….

    ...at least not at the rehearsal” :)

    So I made a decision to stop attending rehearsals.

    And guess what happened?

    Nothing.

    Ceremonies still ran smoothly. Couples still created wonderful memories. Families still celebrated.

    Everything turns out fine.

    I guess I could have answered that question with a simple, “No, I do not attend rehearsals,” but I wanted to give you a wider explanation as to why.
  • Do other couples elope first and then have a big ceremony later?
  • Oh yes! This happens all the time for many different reasons. There are practical reasons where couples just don’t have the money at the moment for something big or they need to get on each other’s health insurance. There are romantic reasons in that some couples just want to have a special moment with only themselves before they do the big thing later. There are legal reasons, because sometimes they’re planning a destination wedding, and getting married in another country can be difficult. The list goes on.
  • What is a confidential license?
  • A confidential license is a government document that allows two people to marry. It is very similar to a public license, but there are a few differences.
    • Both can be used to legally marry and both are accepted by our government.
    • The public license has two spots for a 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 anyone
    • 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 receive a court order.
    • Confidential Licenses cost $85, while Public Licenses cost $91
    • Requesting a certified copy of either license requires the same fee of $15
    • Anybody couple can obtain a copy of the Public Marriage License; however, there is a California Law that only allows couples who are “currently living together” to purchase a Cublic 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.
  • Can I get married if I don't live in California? What if I am from another country?
  • Yes, anybody from anywhere can get married here in California. All you need is a passport (or United States ID).
  • Do you do prison weddings?
  • Yes, but there is a multi-step process.
    • You’ll need to send my ID and ordination card to the prison so that they can approve my visitation and verify my ability to solemnize your marriage.
    • You will then need to go to the county clerk and pick up an “Inability to Appear form from them. Usually, the bride and groom have to go together to the county clerk in order to pick up their marriage license, but since one person is in prison and can’t appear, this form is needed.
    • Next you will need to take that form to the jail/prison, along with a notary public, and have your fiance sign the inability to appear document. There are plenty of notaries that will do this and often you can find a few located outside of the prison entrance; however, I would find one online and schedule them before you head down there.
    • Next, you’ll have to go to the county clerk’s office again, but this time with myself, and then hand them the signed and notarized “Inability to Appear” form, your government issued ID, your fiance's ID, a filled out marriage license application, and the fee for the marriage license. As the wedding officiant, I will have to present my ID as well.
    • Lastly, we will have to go back to the jail/prison, where I will solemnize your marriage. This is done during normal visiting hours, with your fiance on one side of the glass and everyone else on the other side, communicating through the phone.
  • Do you do destination weddings
  • Honestly, not many people ask me to travel for their wedding, because they can usually find someone at that city or country a lot less expensive than flying me out there and putting me up in a hotel; however, I have been asked and love destination weddings. There are a few things to consider. I do not have the legal authority to solemnize a marriage outside of the United States and there are a few states inside the US where that is true as well. For those scenarios the ceremony isn’t legally binding, so the couple has to do the legal paperwork beforehand (or after).
  • Do you meet couples before their wedding?
  • Yes, we usually meet early on in the process so that I can ask you tons of questions to get to know you better. I love to personalize ceremonies, so this meeting is super important to me.

    These meetings are my favorite part of the wedding process. I love getting to know you and finding out about your relationship. These meetings usually last between 45mins to 75mins. I’ll ask you questions about how you met, what you love to do together, important moments in your relationship, ect..

    I’ll also go over a basic ceremony, so that we can get on the same page of how one usually goes. We don’t have to keep it basic, but it’s a good place to start. It helps us enter this process at the same place.

    Lastly, we’ll talk about your expectations and things you’re hoping the ceremony can accomplish. Some people don’t have any expectations, which is fine and completely acceptable. Other couples have elements that they want in the ceremony and a tone that they want for the event.

    All these things help me put together a ceremony that is personal, thoughtful, and matches who you are as a couple.

  • Does anybody actually read these questions??
  • sadly, probably not!
  • I want you to issue me a Confidential Marriage License, so what's the next step?
  • You'll need to fill out this form, so I know what information to use when I fill out your marriage license. I will then fill out a customer copy of your marriage license and e-mail it to you in order to make sure I spelt everything correctly. After that, I will prepare your actual Marriage License and then bring it to you on the day of your wedding, elopement or rehearsal. Lastly, you will sign the marriage licenes along with 3 other forms and that's it!
  • Do you attend the rehearsal dinner?
  • No, I do not.
  • Do you stay for the reception?
  • No, I do not. After the wedding, I stick around for a little during cocktail hour, but then I leave. I’ll try to find you before I take off, just to say “goodbye” and “thank you”
  • I want to get married, but also want to keep my cost down. What can I do?
  • Unfortunately, I do not offer discounts, but I hate to turn away couples because of money, so I try to find creative ways to fit in their budget. For example, I charge $550 for weddings, which includes a lot of services, such as meeting the couple beforehand to get to know each other so that I can create a personalized wedding ceremony. If that price is too high then I’ll suggest that I send them a basic unpersonalized ceremony and let them edit it however they want, lowering my fee. I’m able to lower my fee because I’m not spending all those hours meeting and creating a ceremony.

    For my elopements, I already have an option for getting married for $99. For this option, you just bring your license to me and I sign it. There’s no ceremony and I’m not in a suit. It isn’t super romantic, but it does get your married. I also offer discounted rates for elopements in Los Feliz, because I live in Los Feliz and it’s super easy to go up the street to Barnsdale Art Park or Griffith Park for a short elopement ceremony.

    The cheapest way to get married is through the county clerk. You can pick up a license there for $85 or $91 and then schedule a ceremony with them for $25.