Getting Married = Shockingly Easy

Note I say, “getting married”, not “having a wedding”. The fiance and I took Friday off so we could run errands related to the upcoming nuptials. Specifically, we wanted to get the marriage license done. I’d heard tales of Sitting For Hours In County Clerk Offices, so I was prepared to make sacrifices.

Turns out, that wasn’t necessary. I filled out the application online, and then we drove out to East L.A. to the nearest County Clerk office. After waiting in line for 15 minutes, in a queue of mothers with babies getting birth certificates, the clerk pulled up our application, printed it, had us sign it, and sent us on our way with an envelope full of paperwork. All we need to do now is get the form signed by an officiant and witnesses, and we’re married. Total time? Ten minutes at home, twenty minutes at the clerk’s office. The whole thing was done with time to spare for lunch at Oomasa in Little Tokyo. (No raw fish in my condition, unfortunately – I just really wanted a shrimp tempura roll.)

The moral of the story is: I have no idea how long it takes to get a marriage license without the online app process, but thanks to the power of the Internets, we didn’t have to find out. Thanks, L.A. County, for making it a little easier to get hitched. If only they could juggle my wedding vendors for me too.

12 thoughts on “Getting Married = Shockingly Easy”

  1. In September 2004 at the Beverly Hills Court House, we waited in line for about 45 minutes (it was lunch time), filled out the paperwork while we waited, and were done at the window in about three minutes.

    At our wedding the officiant signed the license before the ceremony, which I thought was totally cheating.

  2. Wow I was thinking of just going to Vegas and then doing something unofficial in LA, because LA seems to make everything such a pain, but maybe not. This is good information to have, because a trip to Vegas; that could go horribly wrong, especially now since it’s all sinful again.


  3. It’s a cinch to get married in LA. My husband and I didn’t even have to go to the court house. e hired an officiant who did ALL the paper work. We showed up at her place (she has a VERY nice garden), signed the papers, paid the fees, had the service and then went home. :)

  4. Hi, my new husband and I had a very easy time at the Beverly Hills courthouse. We went in right before lunchtime, took 10 minutes to fill out the paperwork, and paid for the license. There was no line. They told us to come back after lunch (I think they close the window from 12-1), so we went to lunch, came back and the license was ready!

  5. It’s basically that easy in every county – all have pretty much the same requirements and procedures.

    As for signing it in advance, aren’t most Jewish marriages technically complete before the ceremony- I believe they sign their contract (the religious one, and probably the civil one too for all I know) before the ceremony in front of the fam and friends.

    But yeah, it’s crazy easy to get married. I think it takes longer to get a dog license.

  6. Darn, I’ve got to look into this because our wedding is in Santa Barbara and I have no idea where we’re supposed to get our license. If we can get it here and apply online, I’ll by psyched!

  7. Getting Married = Shockingly Easy. . . if you’re straight.

    Don’t mean to rain on parades, just feeling bitter and second-class.

  8. You’re not raining on anyone’s parade Al, that’s a true fact and should be brought up. Nothing wrong with reality.

    Everyone’s reality is valid.


  9. This essay proves the point: “Getting married” is essentially a civil contract. If you don’t pay for a license, it doesn’t matter if the Pope, Mike Huckabee, a judge, your Uncle Al, or a local Wiccan High Priestess performs the ceremony–you are not legally joined. Which sort of begs the issue of why civil unions for same sex couples are banned. All “marriages” must be civil unions, yet there is no requirement that civil unions be blessed by any religious organization. The licensing of a couple’s union no bearing on the religious (or lack thereof) ceremony. It is a obvious semantic reality that every mixed-gender couple who claims to be married is actually in a civil union, and calling it a “marriage” is simply a societal conceit. Drop the verbiage of “marriage” from the debate for legalized unions levels the playing fields.

  10. Hi, I would like to know that if I want to get married in Los Angeles, do I need to have other than the person performing to my wedding as getting married in Las Vegas? Actually, I prefer to get married with my boy friend and just go there without any person. If no another person to perform my wedding, is it ok in Los Angeles for getting married and get the marriage license? Also, I am not living in LA; however, the marriage system in SF is taking so much time….Therefore, I am thinking about to get married in LA.

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