California Virtual Wedding Officiant Regulations

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Last updated: 3 December 2020
The information on this page is current as of the above date, but these regulations will change. We urge you to check with your County Clerk-Recorder's Office for the most up-to-date information.

Online Wedding Ceremonies

To reduce in-person contact during the pandemic, online weddings are temporarily allowed in California. This means that the couple, minister, and witnesses can connect using an application like Zoom, Skype, or Facetime, and the entire ceremony can take place online. These policy changes are new and temporary, so research is essential before participating in an online wedding.

Online weddings are authorized by California Executive Order N-58-20, which states that everyone participating in the wedding must be physically present in California and connected with both audio and video, and the couple must have a marriage license. Contact your County Clerk-Recorder's Office for the latest information.

COVID Restrictions for Couples & Ministers

From the ceremony to the paperwork, Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on weddings - getting married is just different right now. Large gatherings are prohibited, for obvious public health reasons.

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Marriage Licenses & the County Clerk-Recorder's Office

At the moment, all California County Clerk-Recorder's Offices are only open by appointment, please plan accordingly. California Executive Order N-58-20 has authorized County Clerk-Recorders to accept online marriage license applications over videoconference, using applications like Zoom, Skype, or Facetime.

Couples can temporarily 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.

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Additional Information

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. California Executive Order N-58-20 established the policy changes discussed on this page, while N-71-20 has extended these provisions until California lifts its state of Emergency.

For more information, contact your County Clerk-Recorder's Office. You can review California's policy orders here:

California Executive Order N-58-20:
https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/4.30.20-EO-N-58-20-text.pdf

California Executive Order N-71-20:
https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/6.30.20-EO-N-71-20-text.pdf




For a limited time, California will allow couples to obtain their marriage license online and get married via video conference - but only for a few months. The information provided on this page was current at the time of publication, but since this is an evolving situation, we urge you to check with your local clerk for the most up-to-date information.

On April 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will, through the month of June, allow couples to apply for their marriage license via video conference "at the discretion of county clerks."

Couples can also solemnize their marriage via video conference "as long as both parties are present, and have at least one witness who can join the live video conference.""

Below, we have included the original copy of Governor Newsom's order, since we think it's important that officiants read and understand the policies exactly as they are published.

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This order is only temporary, and will cease at the end of June 2020.




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.

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Virtual Weddings vs. Livestream Ceremonies in California

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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.

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How can we celebrate a legally valid live streamed ceremony in California

Directing a Zoom Wedding

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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Officiate a Wedding in California as an AMM Officiant!