5 Step Guide

Quick + easy 5 step guide on how to get married at the San Diego Courthouse.

San Diego Courthouse Wedding

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Step 1:

Choose Your

Date + Time + Location

San Diego Courthouse Wedding | Kelli + Stephen


- You can schedule your courthouse marriage license + ceremony 49 days, or 7 weeks, out from date you desire.

**Set an alarm for midnight, 7 weeks ahead of date so you can go online to book**

CAUTION: EVENTS HAPPEN, and they can impede your outdoor ceremony at the San Diego location. Click HERE to see if yours could be impacted.

-Ceremonies run every 30 minutes from 8:00am to 4:00/4:30pm. I recommend reserving your ceremony time between 8-9:00AM for morning light.

- For afternoon light, check to see what time sunset is at on your desired date (google) and book the ceremony two hours before that.

**For example, if sunset is at 5:15pm, I would book either 3pm or 3:30pm. **

- I also recommend choosing the outdoor ceremony location for the scenery and for space. If you are not able to get outdoor, don't worry, we can do a mock ceremony later in the session.

Photography Timeline Suggestion: 2 Hrs*

30 min - Check in + Ceremony

30 min - Portraits of Friends + Family

1 Hr - Formal Couple Portraits

*Couples add another hour or two if they want to add another location like the beach or Balboa Park, or wherever reflects you two as a couple.


Step 2:

San Diego Courthouse Wedding | Taylor + Richard

Complete Online Marriage License


- You do not have to be a California resident to obtain a California marriage license, so feel free to come visit and have your own destination wedding!

**Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance and may only be used for ceremonies performed within the State of California.  If you do not have a ceremony within 90 days, then the marriage license will no longer be valid.  If your marriage license expires before there is a ceremony, then you must purchase a new marriage license; there are no refunds issued for unused marriage licenses**

- You must have at least one witness to sign the license, with no more than two. (I can be your witness if there will be no guests attending.)

** FUN FACT**: No age requirement for witnesses, but must be old enough to understand that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony AND must be able to sign their own name without assistance

Santee Courthouse Wedding + Balboa Park Desert Garden Elopement | Sherry + Elias

Step 3:

Choose Your Outfits


- This is your day and you can wear whatever you heart desires.

- You don't have to follow traditions and wear white or a full suit. You can wear any color and any style dress or suit you like.

-I would suggest giving yourself some time in case you need to take the dress or suit in to get tailored.

**For those planning on wearing heels, BREAK THEM IN! If not, bring a spare pair of easy slip ons so you don't get tired or blisters from walking around.**

San Diego Courthouse Wedding Photographer
San Diego Courthouse Wedding | Marie + Cameron


San Diego Courthouse Wedding | Kelli + Stephen

Step 4:

Choose Your Vendors



- It's your big day and you deserve all the things!

- Hair and Makeup, Bouquet, Boutonniere, a Barber and more! Treat yourself to be feeling your best on your special day!

**Friendly reminder to get your nails done and to moisturize your hands (that goes to the both of you), as there will be close up shots of the rings! **




Step 5:


Have FUN!!

-YEWW!! You are getting married to the love of your life!

- The people at all the courthouse locations are super nice and are very helpful during the process!

- If there are some traditional wedding activities you would like to carry over into your courthouse wedding, don't hesitate to as/mention to your photographer:

* First Look

* Parent Walk Down The Aisle

* Vow Exchange (would be done after ceremony)

** At the San Diego location, there are tons of restaurants nearby to go to and celebrate with yourselves and/or loved ones! **

Scripps Beach Wedding Portraits


Wedding couple portrait sessions can continue on to another location! Whether it's the beach, park, city, meadow or more!

Think of a place that resonates with you as a couple.

You can always add time to your portrait session to have a variety of backdrops.


Balboa Park

San Diego Courthouse Wedding | Pam + Steve


Cuvier Park