Posts Tagged ‘San Diego County Clerk marriage license’

Did you say, “Yes!”?

Though things are still a little tricky for planning your 2021 wedding, what with uncertainties around vaccinations, variants, etc. you can still have a beautiful wedding celebration.


*“Just Us Two”: enjoy an intimate ceremony now, just the two of you, and your big celebration at the end of 2021, or next year.

These two said “I Do” at Sunset Cliffs!⁠ Photo by @matolikeelyphoto

*Virtual “I Do“: Hold a Virtual Wedding Ceremony!
With the right elements in place, your ceremony can still feel intimate and sacred. And with the virtual option, everyone will be able to attend. Learn more in my guidelines.

*Small & Intimate
If you want your immediate family and besties at hand, a small intimate social-distance ceremony is a great option. And you can still plan for a big bash later.
Be sure your venue has clear protocol and procedures in place. Even better, hire a professional wedding planner to make sure it all runs smoothly. Photo by True Photography. Professional coordination by Holly Kalkin Weddings.

Remember to get your marriage license!

This is the LEAST ROMANTIC but MOST IMPORTANT part of your wedding ceremony!

  • Find your County Clerk where you will marry.
  • Make your appointment!
  • Your marriage license is generally valid for 90 days
  • These days due to Covid protocol, find out if the San Diego Marriage Hut is still in place with social distance to acquire your license.

I tell my clients when they pick up their marriage license, make a day of it! Walk along the San Diego boardwalk, visit the tall ships, or have lunch in the park.

Wedding planner extraordinaire Tahnie @ivy_weddingsandevents and I talked wedding ceremony tips! Including navigating some Covid-related challenges that may still apply.⁠ Check out the full interview here!


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There are essentially three aspects of a wedding ceremony:

Love & Commitment: in front of and supported by your community

Spiritual: invoking the Divine’s support and guidance in your marriage

Legal: the stepping stone to acquiring certain legal rights, depending on your state and country. This blog post navigates this paperwork and process for the Legal bit, essentially: obtaining a marriage license for your San Diego wedding.

All the information for acquiring and filing your marriage license can be found on the Web site for the San Diego County Clerk’s office.

I just wanted to break down some of the nuances for you, since it can be confusing and brand-new territory:

WHERE: County Clerk’s Office – there are 4 locations throughout San Diego County. Phone numbers & addresses on the site:

HOW: You must call to make an appointment to apply for your license. (Except during the summer when they hold “walk-in Wednesdays.”)

TIMING: Once you acquire the license at your appointment, it is valid for 90 days. So count backward 90 days from your wedding and that is the first date you can obtain the license.

You can get your license the day before your wedding, but I don’t recommend it.
Leave plenty of time, just in case there is an issue of any kind. And also, because the week before your wedding you want to have everything completed so you can play host to your friends and family!

~you must both be present at the appointment with valid ID (driver license, passport, etc.)
~cost is $70 (if you file for a ‘confidential’* license it is $89)
~take your checkbook because they charge a fee for debit/credit card
~if you have been married before, you will need to bring proof that you are divorced

You will walk away from that appointment with a big packet of information.
Your officiant needs the following items (it is great to bring this to rehearsal to give to your officiant so it is not forgotten on the wedding day):
~the actual license (which you already signed at the County Clerk’s Office)
~the giant yellow return envelope
~in the packet will also be a handy form called “Wedding Officiant Instructions”. Thank you for that, but if your officiant has performed enough weddings, we won’t need it.

After the wedding ceremony, your officiant will sign the license, verifying that the ceremony has been performed. Your witnesses will also sign right after the ceremony. You need at least one witness, but there are spaces for two (eg. your Best Man and Maid of Honor).

You must have at least one witness for your ceremony. Elopement couples want it to be “just us two” but unless you have acquired a ‘confidential’* license, you still need a witness (your officiant doesn’t count). If you are having a photographer for the ceremony, you can ask them if they will serve as witness.

The signed license must be returned to the County Clerk’s office within 10 days of your wedding date. It’s a nice service if your wedding officiant mails it in for you (I do that the first business day after your ceremony) so you don’t have to worry about it when getting ready for your honeymoon.

~Once the County Clerk receives your license signed by the officiant and witnesses, it takes about 2 weeks to process.
~If your are local, you simply go back in to pick it up
~If you are not local, there is a form in the big packet they give you that you can mail in, requesting that the CC mails your marriage certificate to you. That request form MUST be notarized. The CC can provide a list of notaries.
~A great resource for changing your name: http://www.missnowmrs.com/

*What is a Confidential License?: This simply means that nobody but you two can have access to the license and certificate information (eg. it’s probably a good idea if you’re a tv personality or rockstar)

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