How to get married in California? 5 Easy Steps you can follow!

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How to Get married in California

Getting married in California is not hard as what you think of. My husband is a US Citizen and I’m a Filipino Citizen when we decided to get married in Orange County. Let me share with you this short and easy guide on how to get married in California:

1. Get a Marriage License

You can get a marriage license to any County Clerk’s office or you can apply online in some counties, but you will still have to go to the office to pick up your license or you can pick up your license on the day of your wedding ceremony.

County Clerk’s offices are open weekdays only. Some locations take online appointments so be sure to check their websites. (online applicants are given priority)

A marriage license is immediately valid and remains valid for 90 days anywhere in the state and you must get married within the State of California to use it. (no citizenship or residency requirements)

If you’re a foreigner like me, be sure to bring your passport with you.

Both partners must appear together when filing the marriage license application and when getting the license (Carry valid ID such as passport and driver’s license both for the bride and groom) 

The license fee varies by county. You can check online how much it is. You can pay in cash or check.

Tip: For Orange Courthouse it costs us $61 (01/21/2017) public record.

  • You can choose to have a public or confidential marriage license:

Public: anyone can request a copy or information in the record.

Confidential: couple must be living together prior to the marriage and only couple can obtain information about it.

2. Schedule your wedding ceremony

 You can schedule the wedding ceremony on the day you applied for the license whether in person or online. Some County Clerk’s office offer same-day application of license and wedding ceremony.

   You can also book an appointment for your wedding ceremony online and choose the date and place you want your ceremony to take place. Some Courthouses are open one Saturday in a month so if you want to marry during Saturday be sure to ask the county clerk’s office to give you schedules of dates when the courthouse is open on Saturday. click here for Online bookings

3. Book your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony fee varies by county too so check the nearest County Clerk’s office fees

Tip: We paid $28 for our ceremony, if you want to rent the big courtroom you will need to pay $100 but still depends on its availability. Be sure to check it in your online bookings and appointment.


  • Couple should both understand and speak English. If not, a couple should bring a translator to have the ceremony performed.
  • Appointments made online is only for your convenience and not required. You can get your license and have your wedding ceremony done through Walk-ins too! It is very fast and easy just come in their early wearing your wedding gown/suit, register on their computer, pay the fees, signed some papers and you will be called if there’s a courtroom available already and the ceremony will start and finish for only 10 min. (You can bring one person as a witness and even invite some friends or family of yours)

 4. Get your Marriage Certificate in Person

When your marriage license has been issued in orange County then the copies are available as early as 5 to 10 business days.  I got mine as early as 5 days! Be sure to drop by to an OC recorder’s office and pay a fee of $15 for one copy.

5.Get your Marriage Certificate by Mail

 A copy can be obtained by mail if he license is issued in Orange County for 5-10 working days as well.

  1. Check if you are authorized to get it
  2. Fill out the form
  3. Mail requests to: Orange County Clerk-Recorder Attn: Vital Records P.O. Box 238 Santa Ana, CA 92702 
  4. Please make your checks payable to: Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department 

Check FEES

Hope this helps!

Comment your questions below!