Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Get Married

At some point during the planning process I tell my clients "it only costs $70 to get married in Los Angeles county, anything above actually getting married is a wedding and that's what costs $$$".

In order to be legally married, you not only have to obtain a marriage license, but it has to be signed by an officiant and two witnesses and filed with the county within 90 days of issuance. Whenever you have your own Rabbi or Minister perform your ceremony, or hire a professional officiant, that person assumes responsibility of filing your license with the state. If a friend or family member is performing the ceremony, I recommend you sending it in for filing to make sure it is done correctly. I've heard of couples who find out years down the road that they are actually not legally married as the license was forgotten or lost!
Also note that unless you send in a $14.00 check with your license when it is sent in for filing, you will not receive a copy of your Marriage Certificate. The Marriage Certificate is crucial for changing your name or showing proof that you are, indeed, married.

To obtain a marriage license in Los Angeles County, you must go to your local Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office (locations listed HERE). An online application can be found HERE.


  • Both the Bride and Groom are required to appear with either a valid driver's license or a passport.
  • The counties in California do NOT require blood tests to obtain a License.
  • Payments can be made in cash or by check or money order made payable to theRegistrar-Recorder/County Clerk or RRCC
  • Processing time is approximately 20 to 40 minutes.  Afternoons and Fridays are the busiest times and the processing time is likely to be longer.
  • There are two kinds of marriage licenses, Public and  Confidential. The Public marriage license can be purchased at any county clerk/registrar recorder's office in California and the couple can get married anywhere in California. The Confidential license must be purchased in the same county where the ceremony takes place


Elizabeth Oakes said...

And a couple other things to know:

Confidential marriage licenses are only issued to couples who are already living together.

Couples are encouraged to apply online at (the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website) ahead of going to pick up their marriage license to reduce processing time.

Don't leave obtaining your marriage license until just before the wedding--you be left out in the cold if you forget or something unexpected happens (like an L.A. County computer system failure, which we had a couple years ago and it shut down licensing County-wide for a few days.) Also, BE SURE YOUR ID IS UNEXPIRED! or you will be a very unhappy camper.

Amber Events said...

Thank you for this great info, Elizabeth! You are always a wealth of knowledge....and awesomeness!

angel said...

also -- confidential licenses do not require any witnesses and regular licenses only require one, although there are two spaces. :)

Amber Events said...

Wow, Angel, thank you for that info!