Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
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Web Sites for Marriage Ceremonies
Dear Brother Ron
I will be performing a marriage in California in May. Do you know any good
websites with marriage ceremonies?
Also, do you know the legal specifics of performing a marriage in
California? I've checked with the county clerk, and it appears that I am
legal to perform the ceremony. I just need to return the license within four
days by mail. However, is there anything I am required to do during the
You can find good suggestions for marriage ceremonies at
You can also buy books with many different ceremonies at
As you can see, a wedding ceremony can take many forms. There is no legally
required verbiage or order of service. Many ministers encourage the bride
and groom to write their own vows. They feel this makes it a more personal
commitment and encourages the bride and groom to honor these vows.
The legal requirements for performing marriages in California are spelled
out in the following California codes:
308.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in
400. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of
18 years or older:
(a) A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
(a) No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for
solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the
physical presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary
witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a member of the Armed Forces of
the United States who is stationed overseas and serving in a conflict or a
war and is unable to appear for the licensure and solemnization of the
marriage may enter into that marriage by the appearance of an attorney in
fact, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power
of attorney. The attorney in fact must personally appear at the county
clerk's office with the party who is not stationed overseas, and present the
original power of attorney duly signed by the party stationed overseas and
acknowledged by a notary or witnessed by two officers of the United States
Armed Forces. Copies in any form, including by facsimile, are not
acceptable. The power of attorney shall state the full given names at birth,
or by court order, of the parties to be married, and that the power of
attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing the attorney in fact to
obtain a marriage license on the person's behalf and participate in the
solemnization of the marriage. The original power of attorney shall be a
part of the marriage certificate upon registration.
(c) No contract of marriage, if otherwise duly made, shall be
invalidated for want of conformity to the requirements of any religious
421. Before solemnizing a marriage, the person solemnizing the marriage
shall require the presentation of the marriage license. If the person
solemnizing the marriage has reason to doubt the correctness of the
statement of facts in the marriage license, the person must be satisfied as
to the correctness of the statement of facts before solemnizing the
marriage. For this purpose, the person may administer oaths and examine the
parties and witnesses in the same manner as the county clerk does before
issuing the license.
422. The person solemnizing a marriage shall make, sign, and endorse upon or
attach to the marriage license a statement, in the form prescribed by the
State Department of Health Services, showing all of the following:
(a) The fact, date (month, day, year), and place (city and county) of
(b) The names and places of residence of one or more witnesses to the
(c) The official position of the person solemnizing the marriage, or of
the denomination of which that person is a priest, minister, rabbi, or
member of the clergy.
(d) The person solemnizing the marriage shall also type or print the
person's name and address.
423. The person solemnizing the marriage shall return the marriage license,
endorsed as required in Section 422, to the county recorder of the county in
which the license was issued within 10 days after the ceremony.
You appear to meet the requirements of these codes so get the happy couple
together and start planning the big day. My best wishes for all of you.