Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Marriage Requirements in California

In my blog, I hope to share information that can assist in the planning of weddings and other ceremonies. To start I thought I'd come up with a list of required elements for a wedding. All other items are optional. As the big day approaches, your stress level may rise. My hope is that this list may help demonstrate that your wedding doesn't HAVE to be complicated to be legal.

Pictured above are Luke and Jessikah, a lovely, vibrant couple I married last year. Their approach was simply to have fun with the process. They didn't want a "perfect" wedding, but instead a celebration of their love that was a fun and happy time for everyone involved. And that is exactly what they created. Congratulations Jessikah and Luke!


1) One bride - hopefully happy with her decision and excited about taking this new step.

2) One groom - hopefully happy with his decision and excited about taking this new step.

3) Both the bride and the groom need valid picture ID and must bring it with them when applying for a marriage license.

4) Someone to officiate the ceremony - this individual can be any of the following, according to the California Family Code, Section 400.

a) A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil
marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States.
- A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act
of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
- A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
- A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
- A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a member of Congress who
represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.

5) Both the bride and groom must be unmarried at the time they apply for their license.

6) The bride, groom, marriage officiant and witness if applicable must be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed. Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California as per the Family Code, Section 420(a). Both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license in California. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state issued identification card, drivers license, passport, military identification, etc. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate.

7) If you have been married before, you must provide information regarding how it ended. You will need to know the exact date it ended, and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wedding Officiant Tells All...or at Least Some of the Good Stuff

Hello and thank you for visiting and reading my wedding blog! My name is Sindi Somers and I have been performing weddings since 1990. Beginning in Seattle and then relocating to the San Diego area last May, I have brought my business with me. The photos left and above are of Svenna and Francisco on their wedding day. They were the first couple that I married in San Diego and have been lovely to get to know. It was a wonderful experience to start the San Diego leg of my career with such a warm, kind and genuine couple. Congratulations Svenna and Francisco!
As I mentioned, I began officiating in the Seattle area, four years after being ordained by the Church of Divine Man in Everett, Washington. Since that time, I have learned a lot, not only about officiating, but weddings in general. The purpose of my blog is to not only share my experiences, but to also provide planning tips and other information that may be helpful as couples plan their wedding, domestic partnership, commitment and vow renewal ceremonies.

Following the ceremony of a lovely couple in Seattle several years ago, one of the guests approached me with ideas of how I could expand my business. He said, "you should write a blog". At the time I had heard about blogs, but had actually never seen one. They were new and not anywhere near as widespread of a communication tool as they are now. Although I was drawn to the idea, it is just now that I am embarking on this venture.

Not only do I enjoy assisting others and passing along ideas and helpful hints, but I love to write. So here I am writing the first entry of my blog, Getting Married in San Diego! Although I live in San Diego County, I am able to perform weddings in other counties and states. I have even had the fun opportunity to perform a vow renewal ceremony in Mexico!

If you have questions or there are topics that you would like me to write about feel free to email me at I can also be reached by phone at 619-797-0705. You can find out more about me by Googling me (Sindi Somers) or by visiting some of the sites I am listed on directly. (under services/events), and are just some of the sites where information about my officiant services can be found.

If you are reading this in the process of planning your special event I wish you the best of luck and congratulate you both! It's your day. Create it the way you want it!