How to Get Married by A Friend or Family

Over the past few years, non-traditional weddings have been on the rise. Couples have been writing their own vows, including different genders in their wedding parties, wearing (gasp) colors instead of white and black, etc.

For this Wedding Wednesday, we’re going to talk about another way you can break with tradition by having a family member or even a friend officiate your wedding. We think this is a cool and interesting way to incorporate a loved one into your ceremony and make it all the more personal for you!

To go about getting officiated by a pal, one option is to have your friend or family member get ordained. Don’t panic if you’re not really religious, it’s just that under California state law any “authorized person of any religious denomination” can legally marry someone. Becoming ordained is relatively easy, inexpensive, and doesn’t require that you adhere to any single religion. Best of all, you can literally do it online. Shop around for the right ordinance services for you!

Another path is to have your friend or family member become a “Marriage Commissioner for A Day.” This process involves applying at least a month before with the San Diego Recorder/County Clerk :

 INFO:The San Diego County Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day program offers a unique way for couples to make their special day even more memorable. For a fee of $80, a couple may choose a friend or relative to be deputized to perform their wedding ceremony at their chosen venue.  Anyone who wishes to be deputized to perform a wedding ceremony must submit an application form for appointment to the County Clerk in person or by mail. 

We encourage applicants to apply in person at least 3 weeks before the ceremony date at the office of the County Clerk and take the Oath of Office before the wedding can take place.  The Oath of Office will be given in English.  If the applicant cannot appear in person, a notarized application should be submitted to the County Clerk by mail at least one (1) month before the ceremony date.  Upon completion of the application for a Deputy Marriage Commissioner and payment of the fee, the applicant will receive sample vows, instructions for the completion of the marriage license, and the commission.  Please call (619) 237-0502 during regular business hours for additional information.  

 Payment may be made with cash or by check/money order made payable to the “San Diego Recorder/Clerk”. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa Debit card payments are also accepted at any of our office locations with a $2.50 surcharge per transaction


Christine Ong