What Is a California Confidential Marriage License?

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When you are planning to get married in California, you will first need to obtain a marriage license. The requirements, limitations and options vary by county, so it is important to make sure that you do your research, particularly if you are interested in obtaining a California confidential marriage license.


In the state of California, couples who meet certain requirements can obtain a confidential marriage license, which allows them to apply for a marriage license and be married immediately with no witnesses present. The couple can also receive a copy of their marriage certificate immediately instead of having to wait to receive one by mail.

Most significantly, while public marriage licenses are a matter of public record and are accessible to anyone, only the bride and groom can access a confidential marriage license, except by special court decree.


In order to qualify for a California confidential marriage license, the couple must be currently living together as a married couple and must make a statement to that affect to the notary or the county clerk’s office.

The couple must also submit all of the required information for a public marriage license, including identification, proof that they are not currently married to someone else and other documentation as needed.


While a public marriage license issued by the state of California allows a couple to marry anywhere in the state, a confidential marriage license requires the couple to marry in the county in which the license was issued.

It is also important to keep in mind that only a notary that has been specially commissioned can issue a confidential marriage license.


A California confidential marriage license costs about $70, although the cost varies by county.


If you are a celebrity or public figure, the anonymity associated with a California confidential marriage license may make it the best choice for you and your future spouse. Couples who wish to keep their marriage status a secret from the general public, for whatever reason, may also be good candidates for this type of marriage license.