California thrives on being more than just a dependable tourist destination. In fact, many couples have made the San Diego courthouse a popular wedding elopement venue for its flexible, easy process. The courthouse is near San Diego’s charming downtown area and waterfront splendor. Whether you’re looking to tie the knot as soon as possible or simply want a small, intimate wedding ceremony, getting married at the courthouse in San Diego is simple as it is romantic.

This guide will not only take you through the process of having a classic courthouse wedding in San Diego, but will also share recommendations before and after the ceremony takes place.

Obtaining a Marriage License For Your San Diego Courthouse Wedding

Obtaining a marriage license may sound intimidating at first. However, you can rest easy! This is because San Diego has one of the easiest courthouse wedding processes out there. Here are some details to keep in mind when you apply for a California marriage license:

  1. You and your partner must have a valid ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.). It must contain a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date.
  2. To get married without parental consent, both you and your partner must be over 18 years old.
  3. You do not have to be a California resident to apply for a marriage license.
  4. A proxy marriage is not legal in the state of California. There is an exception for active duty military members in specific situations.
  5. 5) There is no blood test requirement.
  6. 6) A courthouse wedding requires one witness.

There is no age requirement for witnesses. However, they must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony. They also need to sign their own name on the official marriage license without assistance.

Setting Up Your Courthouse Appointment

Now that you know what to expect, the next step is to set up your appointment.

The San Diego County Clerk’s Office can be reached at (619) 237-0502 from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday – Friday.


  • The marriage license fee is $70
  • The fee for a Civil Marriage Ceremony is $88.00

While most ceremonies are held indoors, you also have the option to have the County Clerk perform it outside. In either case, there are gorgeous natural photo backdrops before, during, and after your wedding ceremony. For a comprehensive list of fees, refer to this Recorder/County Clerk Fee Schedule.

San Diego Courthouse Wedding Highlights

The San Diego County Clerk’s Office has a solid reputation as a wedding location, with much praise to back this up. Many couples who experienced a classic courthouse wedding contributed glowing reviews about the staff, scenery, and efficiency.

For example, a number of reviews highlighted the convenience of the parking, facilities, and processing, with tips and anecdotes. A few reviewers suggested parking at an underground lot on Ash Street, which is nearby. The onsite security is also praised for their helpfulness. However, reviewers suggest arriving early in case of delays. Among other accolades, the facilities are recognized as being well taken care of and clean. Couples also often comment on how quick and painless the entire marriage process is from start to finish.

In fact, the entire experience is so smooth, the process can be easily broken down into 5 simple steps:

  1. Park
  2. Go through security
  3. Complete your marriage license paperwork
  4. Hold your wedding ceremony (indoors or out) with your officiant and witness present (and any attending guests)
  5. Bring your professional wedding photographer (highly recommended)!

Overall, a classic courthouse wedding in the heart of San Diego is bound to be a beautiful, memorable experience. However, the wedding doesn’t have to stop at the courthouse. You can incorporate as many or as few traditional wedding practices as you’d like. There are endless ways to customize your courthouse wedding ceremony, many of which can be accomplished by onboarding a team of vendors.

Your Team for a One-of-a-Kind San Diego Wedding Ceremony

Having wedding experts like San Diego Elopements by your side leads to a streamlining of the entire planning process. This ease of mind is a crucial reason why some modern couples prefer elopement. We take pride in creating stylized and fun elopements. Along with this, our local team has deep love and knowledge of San Diego. Additionally, we have well-established connections  within the wedding and event community that will benefit your elopement.

Our purpose is to make the classic courthouse wedding experience personalized to you. Even if you officially marry at the courthouse, we can turn your wedding day into a larger experience. For example, we can photograph and commemorate your wedding at a beach, cliff, historic site, or even a hiking spot. There are so many locations throughout San Diego to choose from for your wedding day. Essentially, it comes down to your specific tastes and expectations as a couple.

Courthouse Wedding Elopement Package

Our wedding package includes a photographer, videographer, wedding officiant, flowers, and hair and makeup stylists. From start to finish, we make our 20+ years of expertise available to you online or by phone, 7 days a week. This includes wedding tips, location suggestions, and local recommendations. We can even customize your package to make your wedding unique and wonderfully yours.

Along those lines, your courthouse wedding can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. Of course, it helps to have support along the way. Whether you’re still considering where to elope in San Diego or need help pulling off a last-minute wedding elopement, our local wedding vendor team will ensure an enjoyable, stress-free experience.

Contact us to get started!