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How to get married during Covid outbreak?


Yes, it is still possible for couples to get legally married in California. However, every county is approaching the situation differently— making it difficult depending on where you live and what your health, transportation access and various deadlines dictate.

Los Angeles County, has not issued licenses since closing its officesMarch 16and likely will not do so for several more weeks.


If you have a marriage licensebut want a ceremony beyond what a particular county offers, you have options. Just as in pre-pandemic times, those who can officiate a wedding in California includepriests, rabbis, imams, medicine men or other types of religious leaders, as well as nondenominational ordained ministers. Other types of people who have the power to tie the knot include judges and justices of the peace.

What’s changed is that many churches, synagogues and mosques have stopped hosting ceremonies on-site. Many courthouses are similarly closed or offering limited access to the public. Those determined to be married according to the rites of a specific religion — or anywhere outside the clerk’s office — need to find a priest, rabbi or nondenominational officiant willing to make a house call, meet in an open public place or otherwise accommodate the necessary social distancing. Many professional wedding officiants are still offering their services, with modifications such as curbside license signing.


You have a license but you want to postpone - Those who have a license but are no longer itching to get hitched within the 90-day time frame can simply let it expire.

The expiration date can’t be extended — it’s written into state law. That means couples who want to wait more than 90 days to have their marriage made official will need to get a new license. L.A. County clerk’s office officials are in talks with the state about whether fees for new licenses will be waived or refunds for expired licenses will be issued. “But nothing has been set in stone,” Sanchez said.

According to Rabbi Jonathan Aaron of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, the majority of couples who were scheduled to marry at the synagogue in coming weeks have postponed for a year or more.

“No one wants to have a marriage ceremony that no one can attend,” said Chris Robinson, a wedding services professional in Los Angeles.

Alyce Barrick, a wedding planner with Laurel & Fey, said she has encouraged couples to downsize if they aren’t postponing. She expects extravagant affairs to make a comeback though: “2021 is going to be insane.”


From licenses to virtual ceremonies, read Los Angeles Times guide on how to get married during Covid outbreak.

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