Making it Official | Marriage License FAQ's

The run down on applying for a marriage license .. tips and frequently asked questions

The marriage license is what seals the deal folks! All of this time spent thinking about your timeline, photos, flowers and the buffet.. don't forget to schedule a time to go to your county clerk's office together and sign on the dotted line! 

A snapshot of an application for a marriage license, courtesy of Butte County Clerk Recorders Office

A snapshot of an application for a marriage license, courtesy of Butte County Clerk Recorders Office

Here are some questions that we get often: 

  • We are getting married in another county, do we apply in the county we live in or the county we are getting married in?  You will apply for the license in the county you live in, and the ceremony can be performed anywhere in California. 
  • Can we apply online? No, both of you will need to be present
  • What forms of ID are required?
    Typically, you will just need a photo ID such as your drivers license, passport or military ID
  • Is there a waiting period? No waiting period; the license may be used upon issuance
  • What happens if we forget our license on our wedding day? Hopefully we can send a runner to go get it, but if it is truly not available for the ceremony than you can choose to proceed as a "commitment ceremony" and the officiant will not be able to state that you are husband and wife.  Then most likely you would need to make an appointment with your officiant to sign the license..Unfortunately that document cannot be backdated. It has to be signed on the date is presented. (But hey, that's why you hired a wedding coordinator and you will have us to nag you about bringing that license with you!)
  • What if we make a mistake when we are signing our license after the ceremony? Speaking from experience (our officiant signed on the wrong times) You will have to have an addendum issued by the clerks office.  This just means instead of a one page marriage license yours will be two pages.  

Have more questions? Make sure to visit your local county clerk recorder's website for specific instructions and feel free to leave us a comment or shoot an email to 

~ Happy Planning! ~