El Dorado County Marriage License Requirements

El Dorado County
Marriage License Requirements

Marriage is a beautiful journey that starts with a significant step: obtaining a marriage license. In the state of California, there are two main types of marriage licenses available: the Public Marriage License and the Confidential Marriage License. Each type comes with its own set of features and requirements. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of these licenses, the associated fees, and the essential steps to acquire one. So, whether you’re planning a grand wedding or an intimate ceremony, let’s uncover all you need to know about California’s marriage license system.


Marriage is a union of hearts, and the first step in this wonderful journey is acquiring a marriage license. In California, this process is straightforward, with options tailored to suit your preferences and needs. Understanding the nuances of different marriage licenses will empower you to make the right choice for your special day.

Types of Marriage Licenses

Public Marriage License

A Public Marriage License is open to public viewing and is the preferred option for many couples. This license provides a record of the marriage that can be accessed by anyone interested. It’s a great choice if you want to celebrate your love openly and share your joy with friends and family.

Confidential Marriage License

On the other hand, a Confidential Marriage License offers a more private option. All personal information on this license remains protected from public access. Only the parties involved or those with a court order can access the information. If you value privacy and intimacy, a Confidential Marriage License might be the ideal choice.

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Application Process

Required Identification

To apply for a marriage license, both parties (referred to as First Person and Second Person) need to bring valid photo identification. This could include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If these are unavailable, a certified copy of the birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture ID can be used.

Confidential Marriage License Eligibility

For a Confidential Marriage License, the couple must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply to this type of license.

Important Requirements

Marriage Waiting Period

Unlike some states, California has no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. You’ll receive the license immediately after submitting the application.

Marriage Residency

You don’t need to be a resident of California to marry within the state. This makes it an attractive option for couples from various locations.

Previous Marriages

If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to know the specific date and circumstances of the marriage’s end. Some counties might require documentation, such as the final judgment if the previous marriage ended through dissolution or nullity.

Marriage License Fees

The cost of a marriage license varies depending on the type. A public license requires a fee of $61, while a confidential license costs $53. Cash is the preferred payment method, but it’s advisable to check for other options in advance.

Marriage Officiants

Authorized Persons

In California, authorized persons can solemnize marriage ceremonies. These include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and even legislators. The couple’s preferences and beliefs play a role in selecting the officiant.

Solemnization Process

The person officiating the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within ten days of the ceremony. This ensures the legal aspects of the marriage are properly documented.

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Witnesses and Expiration

Marriage Witnesses

For a public marriage license, one witness’s signature is required, and there’s space for an additional witness. The confidential marriage license, however, doesn’t require any witnesses’ signatures.

Expiration Date of Marriage License

Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage doesn’t occur within this timeframe, a new license must be obtained.


As you embark on the journey of marriage, understanding the details of California’s marriage license system is crucial. Choosing between a Public Marriage License and a Confidential Marriage License allows you to express your love and commitment in the way that feels right for you. From identification requirements to officiants and witnesses, this guide provides you with the necessary information to make your marriage process smooth and memorable. Remember, whether you opt for a grand celebration or a private affair, the heart of your marriage lies in the love you share.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I marry my cousin in California? Yes, first and second cousins are allowed to legally marry in California.
  2. Is a blood test required for a marriage license in California? No, a blood test is not necessary to obtain a marriage license in California.
  3. Can I change my name on the marriage license? Getting a new name on the marriage license doesn’t automatically change your name. To change your last name, a marriage name change kit can be used.
  4. Is there an age requirement for marriage in California? If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. Proper evidence must be provided in specific circumstances.
  5. Who can solemnize marriage ceremonies in California? Authorized persons include religious figures, judges, and legislators, among others.

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