If you're looking for a hassle-free way to get married in California, an online marriage might be the best choice for you. Weddings can be stressful and time-consuming to organize, from looking for a venue to budgeting for the whole event. It’s too overwhelming to even think about it. Meanwhile, getting an online marriage in California can be done with just a few clicks. All you need is one simple form filled out online. So, if you’re living in the Golden State and itching to get hitched, check out everything you need on how to get married online in California.

Are online marriages legal in California?

Before the global pandemic, laws controlling the legality of weddings and celebrants were fairly strict. The officiant and the couple had to be present for the union to be considered legal. They also had to go visit the county clerk's office to obtain a marriage license. However, this caused a serious issue as the virus spread, social isolation set in, and several county clerk offices were closed.

Then, In 2019, the Utah County marriage license office and Utah County information technology departments started a year-long effort to create a fully digital end-to-end marriage license issuance and recording process, as part of a campaign promise to "bring the Clerk/office Auditor's into the 21st century." Couples now have the option to apply for a marriage license, do the ceremony, and have the officiant submit the necessary paperwork for the marriage certificate all online as of January 2020. This Utah online marriage procedure did away with the requirement that a couple must physically visit the office to get and return their marriage license.

The best part? Anyone can get legally married online through Utah's process, since you don't have to be a resident! You will receive a legal US Marriage Certificate since marriages performed legally in one state are recognized across the country, as long as they do not violate federal or state laws.

What if I want to have an in-person wedding in California? What documents are required?

Both parties will usually need to appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license in California. 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.

  • 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.
  • Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid. You must purchase a new license.
  • Many County Clerks in California perform civil marriage ceremonies in their offices. For further information regarding civil marriage ceremonies, please contact the County Clerk’s Office directly to see if they provide this service.

To apply for a marriage license, you'll need to know:

  • Your legal name and your place and date of birth.
  • The name you’ll take when you marry (if you plan to change your name).
  • Your parents’ legal names and their places of birth (state or country).
  • The type of license you want: Standard or Confidential. California can issue a confidential marriage license for an additional fee.

The fees and hours of issuance for a marriage license may vary by county. For example, the fee in Santa Clara County is $80. However, be mindful that this cost does not accommodate the fuel spent on commuting, the ceremony, and the officiation.

Can I obtain a marriage license from California without visiting in person?

In California, the ability to obtain a marriage license online varies county by county. Santa Clara County has made it possible to get a marriage license remotely, but there are several steps and requirements involved. Here are the steps for Santa Clara County:

  1. Fill up your Marriage License Application online.
  2. Select either "Confidential" or "Standard" marriage license to begin process
  3. Once the application is filled out, please click the "COMPLETE" button, and write down your order number (starts with SST).
  4. Click the link at the end of the application to be redirected to the “Next Steps” page.
  5. Email the “Next Steps” information and attached the items requested on that page to marriages@rec.sccgov.org.
  6. One of their clerks will assist you to schedule a marriage service virtual appointment.

Other Counties in California may still require that you go in person to fill up an application and speak to a representative.

Keep in mind that this does not include the process for finding an officiant, organizing, and having a wedding ceremony, which still has to be completed to be legally married. For your wedding ceremony, you will also be required to be within California–meaning you, your officiant, and your witnesses will all be required to be located within California. Your other guests may still join online.

If you want to skip all the hassle and steps, Courtly has optimized the whole procedure for you, providing you with a convenient way out. Using Courtly, couples may carry out the entire procedure remotely from any place. A legitimate US marriage certificate may be acquired quickly, easily, and with minimal documentation.

Are online marriages legal outside the United States?

You may need to obtain an Apostille certification if you want your marriage to be registered and/or recognized in a country other than the United States. An apostille ensures that your marriage certificate is considered legal, verifiably authentic, and acceptable in any of the countries that agreed to be part of The Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. While remote appearance ceremonies hosted by a Courtly officiant are legal under US law, acceptance by foreign governments or immigration officials will not always be valid. Especially, if your partner is from another country.

What are the processes involved in getting married online in California?

With Courtly, couples can finish the full process from anywhere. Without any paperwork, a valid US marriage certificate can be obtained quickly, easily, and usually in under 48 hours. Using our safe ID verification process, our concierge will assist you in getting your licence. To make sure everything is prepared for your big day, we'll make sure all detail are accurate and coordinate with the authorities.

1.Complete the sign-up procedure by creating an account.

It's as simple as ABC to register with Courtly to be married online! To join up, simply click the "Get Married" icon in the top right corner and follow the on-screen instructions. As soon as you create your account, you should be able to access it.

2. Upload your pictures and private data.

A government-issued I.D. with the applicant's name and birthday clearly displayed is required. In order to help you obtain your marriage license, our concierge will use our secure I.D. verification procedure. Our system accepts several types of I.D.s from more than 200 nations!

We will check for any ambiguities and work with the authorities to make sure everything is ready for your big day.

3. Decide on the ceremony's format, setting, and officiant.

It's time to act! Choose a venue and ceremony style that suits you. Depending on the time and day you select, we'll match you with one of Courtly's legally qualified US officiants.

4. After paying for your wedding package, you will get an email confirmation.

Make the payment and watch for Courtly's email of confirmation. When this is finished, the wedding bells should start to sound!

5. Join your family and friends online to celebrate your marriage!

Finally, get hitched online while lounging in your house (or any other place with a strong internet connection!). It should take roughly 15 minutes to complete the ceremony. A digital copy of your U.S. marriage certificate will be sent to you immediately after your online wedding, and a printed copy will be sent to you within a few business days.

So, getting married online in California is a fast and uncomplicated process. With just a few steps, you'll be able to complete the process with ease. All you need is a valid email address, identification, and your payment method. For more information about Courtly's effort in making California online marriage possible, please visit our website.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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