What are my responsibilities after officiating a wedding in California?
By this point you should have Officiated the Wedding Ceremony in California and made sure that the marriage license was returned to the County Clerk or Recorder. After you officiate a wedding in California there are a few extra steps you can take in your capacity as the wedding officiant.
Now that you have successfully officiated a wedding in California and returned the completed marriage license to the County Clerk or Recorder that issued it, you are a seasoned wedding officiant. Take a few minutes to ensure that this momentous occasion is properly recorded, and shared with the couple and other wedding officiants if you want.
Keep a Record of All Weddings You Officiate in California
There are plenty of reasons to keep a record of weddings that you have officiated. Wedding ceremonies are binding legal contracts, and you want an accurate record of your involvement. We've provided a number of ways that you can do this here on the website. You should feel free to take advantage of as many of these options as you want.
STEP 1RECORD YOUR WEDDING USING THE AMM WEDDING HELPER
If you already used our Wedding Helper to prepare for your wedding, you know what we're talking about. Now that the wedding is over, this tool is also a great way to record the wedding and even share it with others. Here's how it works:
a. ADD A PICTURE OF YOU OFFICIATING THE WEDDING
A picture is worth a thousand words, and one of you officiating the ceremony is proof that you were there joining the couple in marriage. After the ceremony, ask the photographer, or couple for ceremony pictures that include you (there should be lots of them). Then, upload it to your saved wedding. After the ceremony, get a copy of that picture so that you can upload it to your registered wedding.
b. ADD MORE PICTURES OF THE WEDDING
Why stop at one? The wedding post, uploaded to our wedding wall, is a snapshot of the wedding that you officiated. Upload pictures that show what made the wedding special. Candid photos of the couple, the couple and the officiant, traditions like handfasting and glass breaking, and the reception all tell a story.
- The Couple
- You with the Couple
- Pre-Ceremony Festivities
- Post-Ceremony Festivities
- You Signing the Marriage License
c. WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT THE WEDDING
This is not something you do every day, even if you are a professional officiant. We would love to hear about what it felt like for you as the marriage officiant.
How did the couple tell their story, what were the vibes like, did family and friends participate? Share the inspiration with other ministers and couples browsing AMM's Wedding Wall (where you're going to publish the wedding in just a moment).
d. PUBLISH THE WEDDING
There's only one platform on the internet dedicated to sharing wedding ceremonies - that we know of, and we're really proud of all the stories shared there. We'd love to see your wedding there too! Learn More About Publishing Your Weddings!
STEP 2KEEP PERSONAL RECORDS OF THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
After the wedding, make arrangements to get a certified copy of the marriage certificate, for your own records. Another option is to save a picture of the marriage license in your own records. Whichever option you choose, its a good place to have a record of how names and dates were recorded on the original document.
a. TAKE A PICTURE OF THE COMPLETED MARRIAGE LICENSE
Though we don't recommend that you upload this to our website, it is a good idea to take a good picture of the marriage license for your own records. This is a good idea because...
b. KEEP A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
After the wedding, make arrangements to get a copy of the official marriage certificate to keep for your own records. We are referring to the marriage certificate the couple should receive after the marriage license is returned. You can go about this in the following ways:
- Get a copy of the marriage certificate from the couple. Contact them a few weeks after the wedding. Arrange for them to email you a picture or PDF of the certificate.
Get a copy from the Department of Public Health. You can request a copy from the California Department of Public Health Website.
STEP 3FOLLOW-UP WITH THE NEWLYWEDS
Give the couple at least a few weeks to settle into married life. After about a month, check back in and see how they are doing. As the officiant, you helped them begin a new chapter of their lives, and they will appreciate hearing from you. Its also a great time to consider memorializing the moment by…
a. GIFT MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
Getting them a gift! Such as a Personalized Marriage Certificate. This is an easy way to get them something nice and meaningful.
Marriage certificates that are issued by the State are often not that cool looking. Our Commemorative Marriage Certificates on the other hand, are super cool!. At least, that's how we feel.
b. ASK THE COUPLE TO SHARE THEIR STORY WITH US
Not only do we love hearing from you but we would love to hear from as many couples as possible. Tell them to get in touch with us to share their experience and feedback in having their friend or family member officiate their wedding. We would love to hear:
- How did they go about choosing you to officiate their wedding ceremony?
- Why did they specifically choose you?
- What did it mean to them to have you be their wedding officiant?
- What was it like to have you be their wedding officiant?
- Any interesting wedding stories? Something unexpected usually happens before, during, or after the ceremony.
Have the couple contact us to share their perspective on their wedding!