How To Perform Marriage in California

A Step-by-Step Guide to Officiating Weddings

Ministers in California : 90,520


Minister Registration Summary

Who Can Perform Marriage?
a priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination who is 18 years of age or older, A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state, A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office, A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court, A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of the United States Congress, A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court, A United States magistrate or retired magistrate, A Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress of the United States who represents a district within this state, A person that holds or formerly held an elected office of a city, county, or city and county, A city clerk of a charter city
Are AMM Ministry Credentials Recognized?
Yes | Order Your Ministry Credentials
Is government registration required?
No | California Law 400
With what office do I need to register?
None
Does my residency affect registration?
NA
What is the minimum age for an officiant?
18
BECOME AN AMM MINISTER

4 Steps to Performing Marriage in California




Step 1 GET ORDAINED WITH AMERICAN MARRIAGE MINISTRIES

Getting Ordained with American Marriage Ministries is your first step towards performing marriage in California. American Marriage Ministries is the only IRS Certified 501c3 Non-Profit that offers online ordinations. Getting ordained with AMM is free, quick, and easy!

Beyond ordination we provide all the information and resources you need to learn how to prepare for and officiate weddings. Whether it is your minister registration requirements, learning how to write a wedding ceremony script, or making sure you understand your legal responsibilities when completing the marriage license, we have you covered!

We welcome people of all walks of life. As long as you have a sincere desire to bring communities together through marriage, it is not important to us if you are religious or non-religious, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. Ordination as an AMM minister is about celebrating our commonalities.

As a Minister of American Marriage Ministries we encourage you to officiate weddings that reflect the values and beliefs of you and the couple. With over 636,716 Ordained Ministers and hundreds of thousands of successful weddings, what are you waiting for?

Apply For Ordination!


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Step 2 CALIFORNIA MINISTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

NO MINISTER REGISTRATION REQUIRED IN CALIFORNIA

Ministers are not required to register with any government office in California before officiating weddings. The California Government has no laws requiring minister registration and no office dedicated to filing ministry credentials.

Simply put, once you are an Ordained Minister of American Marriage Ministries you are immediately able to perform a marriage anywhere in California!

KEEP RECORDS OF YOUR MINISTRY CREDENTIALS

Local regulations in California stipulate that wedding officiants under the designation of “Minister” be ordained by a religious organization, such as American Marriage Ministries. While you are not required to register with any government office as a wedding minister, it is a good idea to keep personal copies of your official Ministry Credentials. Proof of your ordination is essential in the event that the couple, government officials, or the wedding venue request to see your ministry credentials.

Order your Minister Ordination Package and receive your official ministry credentials for your personal records. Your package includes your official Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing. Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by a church officer, dated, and notarized. Your Minister Ordination Package also includes your AMM Minister's Manual, a valuable resource for minister registration and wedding training information.


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Step 3 LEARN HOW TO OFFICIATE WEDDINGS

Chances are good this will be the first wedding you officiate. This undertaking may seem daunting and we are here to guide you through the process. The Wedding Training section of our site will teach you how to officiate weddings like a pro.

We break down the process of preparing for officiating a wedding into simple, easy-to-follow steps. We start with explaining the structure of a wedding ceremony and provide sample wedding ceremonies to help you get an idea of what other people have written.

Once you have the first draft of your wedding ceremony script written, you can follow our guide on officiant best practices for advice on how to polish and practice reading your ceremony script.

ASKED TO OFFICIATE | OFFICIANT TRAINING MANUAL

If you are interested in a thorough resource that covers everything you could ever possibly want to know about officiating a wedding ceremony, we recommend purchasing a copy of our book Asked To Officiate. Originally written by two career wedding officiants, Asked To Officiate draws on their decades of experience officiating hundreds of wedding ceremonies.

Asked To Officiate is also included in our Signature Wedding Officiant Package. This package covers all the bases, including your Ministry Credentials, a Wedding Stole, Asked To Officiate, and your Minister's Manual.


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Step 4 OFFICIATE THE WEDDING!

By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. Have a fun and memorable wedding ceremony! After you have conducted the wedding you have one last and very important job… to complete the marriage license for the couple.

COMPLETING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE

This is your one legal responsibility. Fortunately, it is also an easy task to fulfill. Completing the marriage license simply involves completing your portion of the license and signing it with the couple in the presence of any required witnesses. That's it!

We understand that you want to do everything correctly. That’s why you are the officiant! If you want to know more about what fields you may have to complete on the marriage license and what you should write, check out our Wedding Officiant Guidelines for Completing Marriage Licenses.

RETURNING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE

After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to its issuance office. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister. When the couple receives their marriage license it should also come with instructions as to who must return it and how.

Different states have different deadlines that dictate when the completed marriage license must be returned, so make sure that this duty be done as soon as possible. In most states this is as easy as mailing the marriage license back to the county clerk. Below is more information about California marriage licenses.




CALIFORNIA MARRIAGE LICENSE INFORMATION

Prior to the wedding ceremony it is the couple’s responsibility to file for their marriage license. The marriage license issuance office is usually located at the county courthouse. Your job as the wedding officiant is to sign and complete your section of the license. Once the marriage license is completed and returned to the office where it was issued, the marriage is recorded and made legal.

Marriage License Issuance Office

County Clerk or Recorder

Marriage License Fee

$35 - $100

Marriage License Waiting Period

None

Marriage License Expiration

90 Days

Marriage License Return

Within 10 Days from Wedding

What Does Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return Mean?


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Take the California Wedding Officiant Quiz!
BECOME AN AMM MINISTER