What If I'm Coming in from Out of State to Get Married?
Given the size of California combined with its endless list of incredible places to get married, many couples come in from out of state for destination weddings here.
The majority of out of state couples obtain a California marriage license. Our state does not require that marriage license applicants live here in the state or even in our country. As long as couples meet the basic requirements for obtaining a marriage license, anyone can apply and obtain a license (note that you would not obtain a California marriage license if you were planning on having that license signed in another state or country).
For example, a couple who lives in New York or Canada can obtain a California marriage license for a wedding performed anywhere in California. Their marriage is legal and recognized in most other places, whether or not they physically reside in California. However, a couple who lives in California but wants to get married in Las Vegas would need to obtain a marriage license from the state of Nevada since that is where the license would be signed.
While you can fill out the online application for a marriage license from anywhere, you will have to physically visit a California County Clerk's office to pick up your license in person. Since you can get the license up to 90 days before your wedding, you can coordinate your visit to the County Clerk's office while you're visiting California anytime within that 90 day window.
There are also a handful of states that allow their state-issued marriage license to be signed by an officiant in another state. For example, a couple from Texas who wants to obtain and file a Texas marriage license can have their wedding in California, get the license signed by their California officiant, and then return the license to the office in Texas upon their return. Most states do not allow this, so please check first with your local state's requirements before having their marriage license signed out of state.