Everything you need to know about Marriage Licenses in Napa Valley

Marriage Licenses in Napa Valley

If the two of you are coming from out of state, unfortunately, you cannot purchase your marriage license in Napa County. Your wedding professional at Napa Valley Weddings will direct you to the most convenient location to purchase your license (based upon which airport you fly into and/or where you will be staying while you are here).

And, no, you cannot bring a license from your home state. To be legally married in California, you must purchase a California marriage license.

So you are coming to the Napa Valley to get married. What do we do about obtaining our marriage license?

If the two of you live in California, it is easiest just to purchase your license from the county in which you live. Just make sure that you bring your license with you, LOL!

Public vs. Confidential Marriage Licenses

The marriage license is a confidential record and is registered at the County Clerk's Office in the county where it was purchased. Only the couple may purchase copies of the marriage license and must present valid picture identification together with the required fee to the County Clerk in order to do so. Persons other than the married couple requesting copies of a confidential marriage license may only do so by presenting a court order to the County Clerk in the county where the license is registered.

With a confidential license, you do not need a ceremony witness.

Both types of licenses are valid for 90 days.

Which license should we purchase, public or confidential?

95% of the couples we work with purchase a public marriage license. Information contained within a public license is a matter of public record. With a public license, you need one ceremony witness. If you are eloping through one of our packages and have no guests, then your photographer would be your ceremony witness.

There are a couple of reasons to purchase a confidential license. The most important would be not wanting the marriage to be a matter of public record. Another reason is it cuts down on some types of junk mail.

Obtaining Certified Copies of your Marriage License

There is a charge for each copy. Here are some of the reasons you might need a certified copy:

- Change of last name

- Health Insurance

- Car insurance

- Home insurance

- Bank accounts

Think about how many copies the two of you may need.

A common misconception is that you are automatically provided with a certified copy of your public marriage. That is not the case.

Every county in California has its own rules for purchasing certified copies. Make sure that you check with that particular county about what their rules are. That information should be available on-line on the county website (search marriage licenses/certified copies).

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