Plan Your Marriage Ceremony

Who Can Perform a Marriage Ceremony?

Family Code Section §400

Marriage may be solemnized by any priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, a judge or retired judge, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record, a judge or magistrate who has resigned from office, or by a person authorized to do so under Family Code Section §401.

Effective January 1, 2017

Expands who may solemnize marriages in California to include: a former member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a former member of Congress from this state or a person that holds or formerly held a city or county elected office.

Family Code Section §401

For each county, the county clerk is designated as a commissioner of civil marriages. The commissioner of civil marriages may appoint deputy commissioners of civil marriages who may solemnize marriages under the direction of the commissioner.

Civil Marriage Ceremonies

  • Civil marriage ceremonies are conducted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
  • The ceremony can be performed immediately following the issuance of the license.
  • All fees are non-refundable. For current civil marriage ceremony fees, click here.
  • 8-10 guests are allowed.
  • You must bring at least one witness for a public marriage ceremony. No witnesses are required for a confidential marriage ceremony.

Proof of Marriage

A marriage certificate verifies that you are legally married and may be required when you apply for spousal benefits for healthcare or social security.

How a Marriage License Becomes a Marriage Certificate

After the marriage ceremony, the completed marriage license must be returned to the Clerk-Recorder’s Office within 10 business days. The Office records the license and it then becomes a marriage certificate


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