Note: The different County Clerk’s offices are open and closed at odd times, so check their office hours before you go. There is an office in San Diego that’s open on Saturday mornings, and I know the downtown Riverside office is now closed on Fridays. Also, the counties have a weird new rule where you must either go to their office in person, or have the request form (for a certified copy of your marriage license) notarized – so if they offer it, pre-order your certified copy at the time you pick up your marriage license.
Click for marriage license information in Orange County and to fill out the application on-line. The two of you must go in person to the County Clerk’s office and take your drivers licenses. You can apply for your license at the Old County Courthouse on the corner of Broadway and Civic Center Drive in Santa Ana (it’s the big old red building pictured at right), or you can go to the Laguna Hills Civic Center on El Toro Road in Laguna Hills. If you go to the Old County Courthouse, be sure to take an extra 15 minutes to go upstairs and see the historical courtroom, jury room, recorders room, and judges chambers that are on display and don’t forget to feed the meter – I got a $47 parking ticket there. If you want to talk to a human at the County Clerk’s Marriage License Office, call 714-834-2500 between 8am 4:30pm, press 6 for an operator, and ask to talk to a live person in Marriage Licenses. Click HERE to see locations and hours (they are open one Saturday a month at the Santa Ana location).
Note: They’re having furlough days in some of these counties. Check to make sure the office is open before you drive there.
Click for marriage licenses in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Clerk’s department is really slow. They need 6-8 weeks to “record” your marriage license and send you a certified copy, so if you need a Certified Copy of your marriage license quickly, you should drive down to Santa Ana in Orange County and get your license there – Orange County takes just two weeks to send your copy. Also, Los Angeles charges about $25 more for a license than the other counties, and (frosting on your cake) they’re extremely rude to you at the Norwalk office with long wait times.
Click for marriage license in San Diego County
In Riverside county, call their clerk’s office at 951-486-7000. Their web-page for marriage licenses is broken.
If you pick up a “confidential marriage license”, you MUST get married in the county where you obtained the license.