Ultimate Guide to Obtaining Sacramento Marriage Licenses

Congratulations on the engagement! Now comes the hard part – planning the wedding. Among the first things you need to do is obtain a marriage license.

So, where do you go to get Sacramento marriage licenses? As the leading Sacramento wedding photographers, we know a thing or two about this topic. Here is everything you need to know about obtaining Sacramento marriage licenses, including how to get your license for free when you book our wedding photography services.

Who Issues Sacramento Marriage Licenses?

Sacramento marriage licenses are issued by the County Clerk/Recorder (CCR) in Sacramento County. The office of the CCR has three offices:

  • Downtown Sacramento: 600 8th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
  • County Service Center (East): 5229 Hazel Avenue, Suite B, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
  • County Service Center (South): 8239 E. Stockton Boulevard, Suite A, Sacramento, CA 95828

All three offices are open Monday through Friday. The downtown office is open from 8 am to 5 pm while the other two offices are open from 9 am to 4 pm. The offices remain open for three hours for limited services on specific Thursdays of each month.

You do not need to be a resident of Sacramento county to apply for a marriage license from the local CCR. In fact, you do not need to be a California resident or even a US citizen. Almost anyone can apply for Sacramento marriage licenses. The state of California requires that both parties are at least 18 years of age, unmarried, and can present valid legal identification.

Acceptable forms of identification for Sacramento marriage licenses include:

  • Driver’s license
  • State ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Resident alien card

The County Clerk/Recorder needs identification to verify that you are who you say you are. The identification also allows the CCR to verify the age of both parties. If your current name is not the same as the name that appears on your ID, you may need a legal document. Common legal documents for name changes include a final decree of divorce or a name change judgment from the court.

The CCR may also refuse expired forms of identification. Renewing expired IDs before applying for Sacramento marriage licenses is recommended. This will help you avoid any potential hassles.

How Do You Apply for Sacramento Marriage Licenses?

To get Sacramento marriage licenses, both parties must appear in person at one of the three Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder offices. You need to complete an application form and present your IDs.

The CCR recommends that couples make appointments when applying for Sacramento marriage licenses. If you show up without an appointment, you may need to wait an indefinite amount of time.

The CCR estimates that walk-ins may wait up to two hours. There is even a chance that you may be asked to make an appointment and return on a different day.

To avoid the hassle of visiting the CCR office twice, make an appointment. You can make an appointment by calling (916) 874-6131 or by using the application form on the CCR website. The appointment slots for regular hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 4:20 pm at the main office in Downtown Sacramento. If you apply for Sacramento marriage licenses at the other offices, you must visit between 9 am and 3:40 pm.

The appointments typically take 30 minutes, depending on whether you have completed the application form beforehand.

If you need to visit the office during extended hours, make an appointment. A different office is open later each Thursday. On the first and third Thursdays of the month, the downtown office is open later for Sacramento marriage licenses.

On the second Thursday of the month, the South Service Center location is open later. The East Service Center location is open for extended hours on the fourth Thursday of the month. If the month has five Thursdays, the downtown Sacramento office stays open late.

Can You Obtain Sacramento Marriage Licenses Online?

You can apply for Sacramento marriage licenses online. However, you still need to appear in person at the County Clerk/Recorder office. The CCR office recommends that you apply online to save time during your in-person appointment. The applications require you to provide basic information, such as your names, addresses, date of marriage, city of marriage, county of marriage, and type of marriage license.

After submitting the application, you must schedule an appointment within 30 days. If you fail to visit the CCR office to obtain Sacramento marriage licenses within 30 days, you will need to submit a new application.

The day before your appointment, the CCR office will send you a text message confirming your appointment. One hour before your appointment, you will get another text message. The text will also include instructions for the check-in procedure. The CCR office prefers that you do not arrive any earlier than 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. The office has limited occupancy.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Sacramento Marriage Licenses?

Unlike some states, blood tests are not required for marriage licenses in the state of California. The main eligibility requirement for Sacramento marriage licenses is proof of identification. You must provide photo identification as proof of name, date of birth, and age.

You must also be unmarried when applying for Sacramento marriage licenses. You cannot be married to each other or other individuals. If you or your partner were previously married, you must provide the date that the previous marriage ended. You also need to list the reason why the previous marriage ended, such as:

  • Death
  • Dissolution
  • Divorce
  • Nullity

The same requirements also apply to those who were in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP). However, if you and your partner were in an SRDP that ended, have reconciled, and are now applying for a new marriage license, you do not need to wait for the dissolution of the relationship.

In the state of California, an SRDP is a domestic partnership between two adults who are at least 18 years of age, living together, and not related by blood. The couple must also not be married to anyone else or in another domestic partnership. The couple may then register the partnership to enjoy the same legal benefits and protections provided to married couples by the state.

If the previous marriage ended within the last 90 days, you need to provide a copy of the final judgment issued by the court when obtaining your Sacramento marriage licenses. This applies to marriages that ended by dissolution, divorce, or nullity.

Are There Different Types of Sacramento Marriage Licenses?

When applying for Sacramento marriage licenses, couples must choose from three types of licenses. The state of California offers public marriage licenses, confidential marriage licenses, and non-denominational marriage licenses.

Public marriage licenses are the standard Sacramento marriage licenses that most couples obtain. It allows you to hold a ceremony presided over by a priest, rabbi, minister, or other ordained person. You may also choose to use a public marriage license for a civil ceremony held at the County Clerk/Recorder office.

Public marriage licenses are entered into public records. Anyone can perform a search and view public Sacramento marriage licenses. Some individuals prefer confidential marriage licenses. The public cannot search for confidential Sacramento marriage licenses, keeping details of your marriage private. Your names, the names of your parents, and your addresses are listed on the license.

The state of California began offering confidential marriage licenses in 1878. If a couple were to apply for a public marriage license, neighbors could find out that they had been living together while unmarried. Confidential marriage licenses allowed couples to maintain appearances.

In the 1970s, confidential Sacramento marriage licenses were often used to bypass the need to take a blood test, which was a requirement for public marriage licenses. You no longer need to take a blood test for any Sacramento marriage licenses. Confidential Sacramento marriage licenses are primarily obtained by couples who do not have a witness and do not want to pay the fee for the County Clerk/Recorder office to provide a witness.

A third option is a non-denominational marriage license. Non-denominational Sacramento marriage licenses are used exclusively for religious groups that do not have ordained individuals who perform religious services, such as a priest or rabbi.

How Much Do Sacramento Marriage Licenses Cost?

The standard cost of Sacramento marriage licenses is $84 when issued during regular hours. If you visit the Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder office after regular hours, the cost is $90. A duplicate marriage license is available for $33.

Confidential Sacramento marriage licenses are also available. Confidential licenses are not open to the public for inspection. This also means that certified copies can only be issued to one of the parties.

To qualify for confidential Sacramento marriage licenses, both parties must be at least 18 years of age. They also need to be currently living together. No witnesses are required for confidential Sacramento marriage licenses. The cost of a confidential license issued during regular office hours is $95. The fee for confidential licenses issued outside of regular hours is $100.

Along with obtaining Sacramento marriage licenses, couples may request a civil marriage ceremony at one of the three CCR offices. The fee for performing a civil marriage ceremony is $36. You need to bring a witness to a civil marriage ceremony. If you need the County Clerk/Recorder to provide a witness, they will charge an additional $29.

You may also choose to have a friend or family member perform the ceremony. For a $44 fee, the Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder will deputize an individual for a one-time civil marriage ceremony.

Can You Bring Wedding Photographers to Civil Ceremonies?

You cannot bring a photographer when applying for Sacramento marriage licenses. However, you may be able to bring one Sacramento wedding photographer for the civil ceremony. The Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder office’s website does not include rules for photography. The rules tend to vary from county to county.

However, most county clerk offices allow one photographer per couple for civil ceremony appointments. The standard rules include:

  • No use of flash photography
  • All lighting equipment must be battery operated
  • No wiring or props allowed
  • No sitting or posing on stairwells, doors, or hallways
  • No use of large photography equipment

If you have any questions about the rules for civil ceremonies at one of the three Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder offices, you can contact them via phone or email.

When Do You Get Sacramento Marriage Licenses?

Sacramento marriage licenses are issued on the same day that you visit the office for your appointment. Appointments typically last 20 to 30 minutes. After being issued, Sacramento marriage licenses remain valid for 90 days. If the license is not used within 90 days, you must purchase a new license.

You do not need to get married in Sacramento county. However, you must have your wedding ceremony in the state of California. After the ceremony, the person performing the wedding ceremony fills out the license and returns it to the Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder office within 10 days. The CCR office then verifies that the information is correct and registers the license. You may then purchase a copy of the license.

The fee is $15 per copy. You can order copies of the license in person, by mail, by fax, or online. An additional charge is applied for online orders. If you want overnight delivery of the marriage record, you will pay a $19 fee.

Changing Your Name When Applying for a Marriage License

Due to the Name Equality Act of 2007, couples have the right to change their names when applying for Sacramento marriage licenses. You also have the right to not change your names. Either party may choose to change their middle names, last names, middle and last names, or create a new name. For example, you may:

  • Use the current last name of your spouse as your last name or middle name
  • Use the last name given to your spouse at birth as your last name or middle name
  • Use a hyphenated combination of middle names and last names

The most common option is for one spouse to take the current last name of the other spouse. Choosing names now can save you from a lengthy process.

When you decide to apply for a name change after getting Sacramento marriage licenses, you need to purchase a new license. You also need a court order, which can take weeks and costs additional money. If you or your partner plan on changing names, it is best to include the name change on the marriage license.

Who Can Officiate My Wedding Ceremony?

Only qualified officials can officiate wedding ceremonies. However, the details vary depending on the type of Sacramento marriage licenses. If you get public Sacramento marriage licenses or confidential marriage licenses for a ceremony held later, the official must be:

  • A priest, rabbi, minister, or authorized individual of any denomination
  • A judge or retired judge
  • A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office
  • A member of the legislature
  • A member of Congress
  • An elected city, county, or city and county official
  • A retired city, county, or city and county official
  • A city clerk of a charter city

If you plan on having a civil ceremony, you will need to pay an additional $36 fee when obtaining your Sacramento marriage licenses. The ceremony will be conducted by a sworn officer of the city clerk’s office.

Instead of having the County Clerk/Recorder conduct your civil ceremony, you can have a friend or family member preside over the ceremony. The Sacramento CCR office has a one-time deputy commissioner program.

The program costs $44 at the time of the appointment. The person to be deputized must be at least 18 years of age and a US citizen. The application form is available online and can be printed and turned during your appointment for Sacramento marriage licenses.

How to Get a Free Marriage License in Sacramento

Now that you know how to obtain Sacramento marriage licenses, you can start planning the rest of your wedding. One of the most important tasks is finding the right photographer. At our photography studio, we employ the top Sacramento wedding photographers. We offer years of experience, beautiful photos, and friendly service.

We can also help you save money. We are the only wedding photography studio in the area to offer free Sacramento marriage licenses. When you book us for your wedding photography, we will pay the fee for your Sacramento marriage licenses. Along with paying the fee, we ensure that you receive remarkable photos of your big day.

We also provide special courthouse wedding photography services. If you choose to have a civil service at the courthouse, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have gorgeous photos to commemorate the special day. Contact us to learn more, as there are special rules for bringing photographers when obtaining Sacramento marriage licenses.

Planning a wedding is a major process, but at least you now have two fewer details to worry about. You can hire the best Sacramento photographers and get your Sacramento marriage licenses paid for. Book our photographers today for FREE Sacramento marriage licenses!

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