Marriage Officiant Instructions

Please read these guidelines before performing a ceremony

You, the Marriage Officiant, must be presented with two forms prior to performing a ceremony: 

  1. A valid California License and Certificate of Marriage
  2. Marriage Officiant Instruction form

It is your responsibility to review the marriage license prior to the ceremony. California Penal Code section 360 states: 

"Every person authorized to solemnize any marriage, who solemnizes a marriage without first being presented with the marriage license, as required by Section 421 of the Family Code; or who solemnizes a marriage pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 500) of Division 3 of the Family Code without the authorization required by that part; or who willfully makes a false return of any marriage or pretended marriage to the recorder or clerk and every person who willfully makes a false record of any marriage return, is guilty of a misdemeanor." 

Your attention is required to ensure acceptance of the license. 

  • Type or print legibly. 
  • Use permanent DARK ink only. It is preferred that you use BLACK ink, however the ink used must be photographically and micrographically reproducible, or the license will be rejected. (Health and Safety Code Section 102130). 
  • DO NOT ALTER, ERASE, STRIKE OVER, OR USE WHITE OUT on the marriage license. Licenses received with alterations, erasures, strike overs, white out, etc., will be rejected. If the license is rejected, you, the person who performed the ceremony, will have to pay an additional fee of $27.00 for the purchase of a duplicate license. 

Items 25A-25B:  You are to confirm these items: 

  • 25A : You are performing the ceremony on or after the date shown. 
  • 25B : You are performing the ceremony on or before the date shown. 

Items 26A-27C: Please have witnesses complete this portion.

  • Ensure witness signatures and addresses are legible.
  • Only one witness is required; however two witnesses may sign. 
  • There are no age restriction for a witness (Evidence Code Section 700); however they must be old enough to sign their name and understand they are witnessing a marriage. 
  • Witnesses may use a street address, business address, or a U.S. P.O. Box when completing Items 26B or 27B 

Items 28A-29E: You are to complete these items:

  • 28A: Use the numerical method (MM/DD/CCYY) when entering the date of marriage. Reminder: Use all four digits for the year and not just the last two digits. 
  • 28B: If the ceremony did not take place in a city or town, e.g., a California State Park, a beach, a redwood grove, use the nearest city or town when completing the item.
  • 28C: Enter the County where the marriage ceremony took place.
  • 29A: Sign your usual and customary signature. 
  • 29B: 
    • If you are a member of the clergy, enter your religious denomination. • 
    • If you are Non-Denominational, enter “Non-Denom”. 
    • If you have been sworn in for one day, enter a dash: “-“. 
  • 29C: ONLY enter your legal name. 
  • 29D: Enter your official title.(Anything other or In Addition to the title will be rejected.) If you have been sworn in for one day, enter “Dep Comm of Marr”. 
  • 29E: Enter your Address, City, State and ZIP. You may use a street address, business address, or a U.S. P.O. Box. 

Once the ceremony has been performed, the wedding officiant must mail or deliver the license within 10 days to: 




EUREKA, CA 95501 

Please see page 2 of the Marriage Officiant Instruction form for additional information regarding who may solemnize a marriage.

Go to CDPH "Frequently Asked Questions" webpage

If you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact us at directly by phone at (707)445-7382 or toll free at (888)486-2732, or by email at