Marriage License

California and Nevada Marriage License Information

You can obtain a California or Nevada marriage license directly from any county clerk’s office located within the state you wish to be married in. If you plan on getting married in the South Lake Tahoe area, keep in mind that it borders both California and Nevada. Therefore, dependent upon your wedding venue, the appropriate marriage license is required.

California Marriage License

For a California wedding, the couple has two options of obtaining a marriage license. One option is that they can have their minister provide a marriage license for them, which is typically issued on the day of the wedding and in the form of a confidential license. However, the minister must be a licensed notary public and authorized by the county clerk to issue the license.

The second option for obtaining a marriage license is that the couple may purchase the license themselves directly from any county clerk’s office within California prior to the ceremony. The county clerk will have two different types of licenses available. You will have the choice of purchasing either a confidential marriage license or a public marriage license. Irrespective of the county of issuance or the type of license purchased, both documents allow for the wedding to be performed and legally consummated in any county within the State of California.

Since there are two different types of marriage licenses from which you can choose, either a public license or a confidential license, it would be prudent to learn the differences between the two before making a decision. One reason for this, among others, is that if the minister is issuing the license, he is limited to issuing a confidential marriage license only. Therefore, if a public license is desired, it must be issued by the county clerk.

Marriage License Cost

The cost of the confidential or public marriage license when purchased from the county clerk is approximately $85. This cost will vary depending on which county you purchase the license from. Both confidential marriage licenses and public marriage licenses have a 90 day expiration. Both bride and groom must be present with proper photo identification at the time of license purchase.

Witnesses and Blood Tests

If you purchase a public license, you will need one witness at the time of the ceremony. The confidential license doesn’t require any. California does not require blood tests and there is no waiting period.

Additional Information Regarding a California Marriage License

When obtaining your marriage license, you will need to know specific information such as your parent’s names, places of their birth, and your mothers’ maiden name. If you’ve had a divorce within 90 days of your wedding date, you will need to bring a copy of your final divorce decree. After your ceremony and once your marriage license has been recorded, you may request a certified copy from the County Clerk Recorder’s Office from which it was issued.

Nevada Marriage License

For a Nevada wedding, the couple must obtain the marriage license directly from the county clerk’s office within the state. Ministers cannot issue a license for a Nevada wedding. The approximate cost is $85, but this will vary by county. Nevada marriage licenses have a one year expiration. Regardless of which county you obtain the license from, the ceremony can be performed anywhere in the State of Nevada. Only one witness is required.

Verify Individual County License Requirements

Be aware that marriage license requirements, in both California and Nevada, will vary from county to county and often change. The above information is for guidance only. It is important that you verify all information with the county clerk directly.

Below are the local county clerk office locations and business hours for El Dorado County and Douglas County, both of which are located in the South Lake Tahoe area.


El Dorado County Recorder-Clerk’s Office
3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd. / U.S. Hwy 50 Suite 108
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
(530) 573-3408

Monday – Friday
8am to 11:30am and 1pm to 4pm


County Administration Building
175 Highway 50
Stateline, NV 89449
(775) 586-7290

Monday – Friday
9am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm

10am to 1pm

Closed on Sundays