How to Perform Marriage in California
Minister Licensing Summary
1. Become an Ordained MinisterAmerican Marriage Ministries ordains all people, regardless of belief, who have an honest intent to administer marriage rites and other religious ceremonies according to the values of their congregation and community.
There is no cost to ordination, expiration, or licensing fees. All that we ask is that you take your duties seriously and help support us through donation or a purchase from our store.
Minister Licensing Requirements in CaliforniaIn California there is no government licensing required for a minister to perform marriage.
The minister does not need to be a California resident, though he or she must be at least 18 years old.
We recommend that the minister speak with the registrar at the office where the couple files for their marriage license. Most counties do not have additional requirements, however the minister may be asked to show their credentials before performing marriage.
2. Prepare for the WeddingMany of our ministers are performing marriage for the first time and we are here to guide them through the process. We encourage our ministers to register their weddings with us. Once registered, we provide detailed instructions and goals to prepare them for performing marriage.
For a detailed explanation of how a wedding ceremony is conducted, its parts, and samples, visit our Wedding Ceremony Training page.
We recommend that our ministers practice their ceremony aloud prior to the wedding. By the time the big day arrives they should be fully prepared to conduct the ceremony.
3. Perform Marriage!On the wedding day, either preceding or following the ceremony, the couple must present their marriage license to the minister, who must make sure that the license is valid, and that the couple’s information is accurate.
The minister then signs the license, ensuring that it bears any necesarry witness signatures. Once completed, the minister or the couple must return the license to the County Clerk’s office within applicable deadlines.
For further instructions on how to complete individual forms that may appear on the marriage license, please read how to complete the marriage license.