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California is unique in that it offers so many different backdrops for a luxury elopement. Whether you elope
to the mountains, the desert, wine country, or one of the  iconic cities in the Golden State, you'll need to meet the requirements to legally marry in California. Fortunately, you needn't be a California resident to obtain a marriage license, and a license obtained in any California county is valid statewide. Prepare for your California elopement by reviewing the requirements, and get information for some of the top California elopement sites via the links below.

Basic Marriage Requirements for California

  • You must be at least 18 years old. Persons under 18 with written consent from at least one parent (or legal guardian) AND permission from a California Superior Court Judge may marry. Emancipated minors are NOT exempt from this process.

  • Parties may not be already married to each other or other individuals.

  • You must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. The license contains a place for two witnesses to sign if you prefer. You may NOT, however, have more than two witnesses sign the official marriage license. Licenses received with the signatures of more than two witnesses will be returned to the officiant and a duplicate marriage license will need to be purchased.

  • Witnesses must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony. They must also be able to sign their name on the official marriage license. There is no official age requirement for witnesses in California


Many County Clerks in California perform civil marriage ceremonies in their offices. For further information regarding civil marriage ceremonies, contact the County Clerk’s Office directly to see if they provide this service.


Getting a Marriage License in California
The first steps toward obtaining a California marriage license varies by county (see the box at right for popular links). While some counties offer online applications you can fill out and submit electronically, regardless of how you complete or submit your application, both parties must appear in person for the application to be processed with the necessary documents and proof of identification in hand. Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within 90 days, you must purchase a new license.

Required U.S. Documents

  • Valid picture identification.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. 

  • A copy of the final judgment if you have been married before and your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity. If your last marriage ended by death or divorce, you will need to provide the specific date it ended.

  •  A copy of your birth certificate may be required in some counties.

Registering Your California Marriage License

Within 10 days of the date of the ceremony, the person who solemnized the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Recorder's Office in the county where the license was purchased. You will NOT receive a copy of your marriage license unless you request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable.

Discover more about California elopement hot spots, or browse more luxury elopement destinations around the world.

Source: California Department of Public Health

California Honeymoon Spots

*Published information is provided as a convenience to users and is for informational purposes only. You should verify all information before relying on it. See our complete Terms of Service for more details.

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