California Covid Wedding Regulations
If you are planning to officiate a wedding in California, check out our page Get Ordained in California.
While online weddings were temporarily allowed during the beginning of the pandemic, most counties will no longer allow them. Both the minister and the couple must appear together in person for the ceremony. Certain counties (such as LA County) will allow virtual civil ceremonies between the couple and the court, but will not allow traditional ceremonies to be performed virtually. These policy changes may still be in flux as the Covid-19 pandemic changes circumstances, so research is essential before participating in an online or in-person wedding.
From the ceremony to the paperwork, Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on weddings - getting married is just different right now. Many places require proof of vaccination and masks to be worn indoors. There are several county clerk's offices that will not allow in-person visits. These regulations are changing quickly, so make sure to check your local laws and the website of the county clerk's office before your wedding date.
At the moment, many California County Clerk-Recorder's Offices are only open by appointment. Please plan accordingly. Some offices will not accept in-person visitors and require all applications to be done virtually.
Couples can apply for a marriage license online or in-person in California. However, licensing requirements have not changed, and online applicants must show physical copies of ID over videoconference, for visual verification. Couples should contact a County Clerk-Recorder's Office to schedule an appointment, whether they plan to apply online or in-person.
These policy changes are temporary and tied to the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the moment we can not predict how long they will remain in effect.
For more information, contact your County Clerk-Recorder's Office. You can review California's policy orders here:
COVID-19, social distancing, travel bans, lockdowns… Many couples are being forced to downsize their wedding plans and for many guests, the only way to attend is with their computers and mobile phones.
If your guest list is shrinking to just the couple and officiant, or maybe just the couple, California marriage laws regulate who must be in attendance, and how the ceremony is conducted. Here are some options to help adapt your wedding plans in California to celebrate a COVID safe wedding.
For the sake of clarity, we differentiate virtual wedding ceremonies (or Zoom/Skype ceremonies) from livestream ceremonies by who is in attendance. If the officiant is officiating the vows from another place via video, then we call that a virtual or Zoom ceremony, since the people involved in the ceremony are interacting over whatever video platform is chosen.
However, if the couple and the officiant are present, but guests are watching remotely, we call that a livestream wedding since the ceremony itself is happening in one physical place. You can read more about what distinguishes each option here.
You can livestream any activity or event, and it doesn't matter where you are in California, what you're doing or how many people are physically present with you. Some of the most popular platforms include Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.
As long as you have a tripod and a phone with a good camera on it, your guests will be able to participate remotely. Many of these platforms even allow guests to comment, chat, and interact in other ways.
We realize that this is not always ideal, but ultimately, if couples choose to move forward with scaled down weddings and smaller guests lists, these communications platforms let friends and family around the world know that they are still being thought of.
For folks planning on livestreaming their nuptials, Here's How to Livestream Your Wedding.
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