Buying and Signing Your Wedding License

Kierra and Walt are so happy to be married!
Kierra and Walter Barath watch as their best man signs the marriage certificate. What great smiles!

Most couples preparing for marriage don’t know a lot about getting a marriage license. So here are a few words of advice. In California, the marriage license is issued by the County Clerk’s Office. You can buy your license in any county and use it in any other county. So if you are planning a destination wedding Wine Country Temecula, you can buy your license close to your home and be assured that you can use it in Temecula.

The license is valid for 90 days.  So don’t buy it too early. But don’t wait till too late either. With government budget cuts, the office where you are planning to buy your wedding license might be closed on the day you had planned to go.

In order to buy your wedding license, both of you must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state issued identification card, drivers license, passport, military identification, etc. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate. As part of filling out the forms for you marriage certificate, you will sign it in the presence of the clerk. Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.

If you have been married before, you will need to know the specific date your last marriage ended, and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity. You can get more details at <http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/MarriageLicenseceremonygeneralinfo.aspx>

Then be sure to bring you marriage certificate to your wedding rehearsal or to the ceremony. With all you have to remember, you may want to ask your maid/matron of honor or your best man to be responsible for bringing the certificate and giving it to your officiant. After the ceremony, the one or two witnesses you chose and the officiant will sign your license. It is the officiant’s responsibility to return the signed license to the County Clerk’s Office where you bought it within in ten days of the ceremony. So no worries! Your officiant will take care of your wedding license. Then in 4-6 weeks contact you can get a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the County Clerk by sending in the order form that came with you license and the required fee. These simple, easy to follow steps will help you have your very own marriage certificate in no time at all!

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