Civil Ceremony

No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and at least one witness, that they take each other as spouses.

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriage

Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 or older:

  • A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
  • (1) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
  • (2) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
  • (3) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
  • (A) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
  • (B) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of the United States Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
  • (C) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
  • (D) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
  • (c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a marriage may also be solemnized by any of the following persons who are 18 years of age or older:
  • (1) A Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress of the United States who represents a district within this state, or a former Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a former Member of Congress of the United States who represented a district within this state.
  • (2) A person that holds or formerly held an elected office of a city, county, or city and county.
  • (3) A city clerk of a charter city or serving in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 36501 of the Government Code, while that person holds office.
  • (d) (1) A person listed in subdivision (c) shall not accept compensation for solemnizing a marriage while holding office.
  • (2) A person listed in subdivision (c) shall not solemnize a marriage pursuant to this section if they have been removed from office due to committing an offense or have been convicted of an offense that involves moral turpitude, dishonesty, or fraud.

It is the responsibility of the parties to verify that the officiant is authorized in the State of California to solemnize the marriage ceremony.

Commissioner of Civil Marriages; Deputies

For each County, the County Clerk is designated as a Commissioner of Civil Marriages.

The Commissioner of Civil Marriages may appoint Deputy Commissioners of Civil Marriages who may solemnize marriages under the direction of the Commissioner of Civil Marriages and shall perform other duties as directed by the Commissioner.

Deputy Commissioners of Civil Marriages in Santa Cruz County

The persons listed below are authorized to perform civil marriage ceremonies for a fee on weekends or holidays only. To schedule an appointment for a Deputy Commissioner to perform a marriage ceremony please call one of the commissioners listed below after 6 p.m. or on the weekend.

  1. Margarita Hernandez Williams 831-227-3187 (English/Español)
  2. Daisy Williams 408-510-0531 (English/普通話)
  3. Lorena Bibriesca-Camacho 831-331-7528 (English/Español)

County Clerk’s Office Performs Marriages Daily

The County Clerk will perform civil marriage ceremonies in the office each weekday, except holidays. Weddings are by appointment only. Couples may schedule their wedding online, or by calling 831-454-2060, or in person at 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.

The cost is $120. Couples must have already obtained a marriage license, and have at least one witness present. The County Clerk's Office can provide a witness for a $25 fee if you are unable to bring a witness with you. Please let us know at the time you schedule your appointment if you will need a witness. You are welcome to bring wedding rings if you would like to have a ring exchange be part of your marriage ceremony.

Deputy for a Day

The County Clerk's Office can also swear in a "Deputy Commissioner of Marriage for a Day." The commissioner must be 18 years of age. There is no residency requirement, and the marriage ceremony can be performed anywhere in the State of California.

The commission is valid for one specific day, for one specific marriage. The cost is $125 and applicant must either appear in person at the County Clerk's Office or at a notary public, show appropriate identification, complete a form indicating the name of each party as it will appear on the marriage license, and the exact date of the marriage ceremony. The applicant will then be sworn in to serve for that day.

Information on Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages for a Day Program

Other Persons Authorized to Perform Marriage Ceremonies

Other persons qualified to perform marriage ceremonies can be found in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory.

Sample Ceremony

Click here for the sample ceremony

Haga clic aquí para obtener una copia de la ceremonia de muestra