How to Get Married in Los Angeles: A Complete Guide

If you plan to get married in Los Angeles, make time for preparations. Learn about costs, wedding venues, COVID-19 updates, and more in our complete guide.

Couple getting married in Los Angeles on the beach
Photo by Zola

Wouldn’t it be amazing to get married in LA? From its bustling nightlife to the iconic Hollywood sign, Los Angeles is a popular wedding and honeymoon destination all-in-one.

With glistening beaches, infamous museums, and renowned shopping plazas, there’s so much for you and your guests to do and see in the “City of Angels.” As home to one of the world’s first pride parades in 1970, Los Angeles is a strong supporter of inclusivity and provides a welcoming community for same-sex couples.

As a newly engaged couple, planning a wedding in Los Angeles can be an exciting, yet time-consuming process. For that reason, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to navigate you through all the necessities. From COVID-19 updates to finding Los Angeles vendors, you’ll have everything you need for your dream LA wedding!

Use our jump-to links below to navigate this guide:

Where to Get Married in Los Angeles

where to get married in los angeles photo Whether you prefer a fabulous beach ceremony or the backdrop of a luxurious mansion, there are plenty of Los Angeles wedding venues to choose from for your special day.

To start, our list of pre-screened wedding venues in Los Angeles will help you find the perfect options that fit your wedding size, setting, and budget. Choose from dozens of beautiful locations throughout the city. Here are a few popular venue options in Los Angeles to consider:

  • Gardens and country clubs: For a picturesque, botanical view, Los Angeles is home to immaculate gardens and spaces with gorgeous natural scenery. Say “I do” with the beautiful backdrop of green hills and plants in bloom.
  • Ocean and waterfront venues: If you envision a sun-filled ceremony with an amazing coastline view, you’re in the right place. LA boasts over a dozen beaches and lakes, where venue options range from yachts to beach resorts.
  • Mansions and estates: Host your California dream wedding at one of LA’s enchanting castles or historic mansions. From stunning architecture to vintage charm, these private venues can provide exclusive use of the property to entertain your guests on a grand scale.
  • Hotels and resorts: For destination weddings, hotel and resort venues are a great option. These generally have ballrooms, courtyards, and other spaces for hosting events. Some hotels offer a discount group rate when booking for large parties, and may also have caterers or event planners on staff.
  • Vineyards and wineries: As the largest producer of American wine, California is a popular getaway for wine lovers. You and your soon-to-be can plan a relaxed, yet elegant winery wedding and romantic wedding photoshoots in the vineyards. Guests can enjoy the gorgeous settings and, of course, great wine-tasting!

How to Obtain a Los Angeles Marriage License

When planning your LA wedding, an important step is to apply for your marriage license. You will need this to get legally married in Los Angeles county.

COVID-19 Update: All offices of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (L.A. County RR/CC) are closed to the public due to the pandemic. Marriage License requests and other services, however, are still available online, by mail, or by appointment.

At your convenience, you and your partner can complete the application for a marriage license online. The process is simple and should only take a few minutes to complete. Here’s what you will need:

  • Proof of identity: Valid photo and age verification documents (Driver’s License, Passport, or Permanent Resident Card) of both parties are mandatory and must be in English. If the documents are in another language, a certified translator must submit them with an English translation and notarization. If under the age of 18, your parent or legal guardian needs to notarize the marriage license.
  • Proof of unmarried status: If you were previously married, you will need to bring documentation of your divorce or termination of State Register Domestic Partnership (if applicable).
  • Pay the fee: A marriage license in Los Angeles costs $91. For confidential marriages, meaning not on public record, the fee is $85 (only available to couples already living together as spouses).
  • Both parties present: During the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your partner must be present together during your virtual appointment with the clerk’s office to review the application.
  • Get married within the timeframe: After issuance of your LA marriage license, you must have your wedding ceremony within the next 90 days before it expires.
  • Return signed marriage license: After your wedding ceremony, you must return the marriage license to the main office location of L.A. County RR/CC in Norwalk city.

After completing the application, you can book an appointment through the same portal.

Do I Need a California Marriage License?

Yes. To legally marry in Los Angeles county or any city in the State of California, you will need a California marriage license.

Where Do I Get My L.A. Marriage License?

The L.A County RR/CC distributes marriage licenses. Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for your marriage license online through the county’s website. Once reopened to the public, you and your partner can apply for a marriage license at one of its seven branch office locations.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Marriage License in L.A.?

It takes an hour to complete and process the marriage license in person. Currently, during COVID-19, the virtual appointment to process the license is 30 minutes.

Can I Get Married the Same Day in Los Angeles?

Yes. Since California has no waiting period after issuing a marriage license, couples can get married the same day in Los Angeles. To do so, you must have at least one witness during your wedding ceremony (not including the wedding officiant).

Anyone who is ordained in the State of California can officiate your wedding. Acceptable Los Angeles wedding officiants include, but are not limited to, ministers or priests of any religion, commissioners of civil marriages, a California congressperson, or a judge. The most convenient place to find a same-day wedding officiant is City Hall. There are also many same-day wedding officiant services available throughout Los Angeles, such as through wedding planners.

Can Someone I Know Get Ordained to Officiate My Wedding in LA?

Yes. There are universal ministries that provide online ordination services, even some within the same-day, to people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and sexual orientations. This allows couples to choose whom they desire to officiate their weddings. Out-of-state and out-of-country marriage officiants can perform marriages in the State of California as long as they are ordained or invested by a denomination.

Los Angeles City Hall Wedding

City Hall weddings are increasingly popular for affordable, same-day ceremonies. The City Hall is easy to book, LGBTQIA supportive, and can serve as a neutral ground for couples with different religious backgrounds. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the L.A. County RR/CC offers to conduct civil weddings virtually via online appointments. Virtual civil weddings cost $35 in addition to license fees.

Los Angeles Wedding Trends

los angeles wedding trends photo From tech and television industries to world-famous theme parks, Los Angeles is known as the entertainment capital of the world. Hosting a wedding in this stylish and chic city gives you instant access to luxurious metropolitan, amazing cuisine, and celebrity ambiance.

Planning during a pandemic may require patience and flexibility, but can also breed creativity. Beaches, vineyards, and castles are a few of many diverse places to recite your wedding vows. Check out our wedding colors and trends for 2021 to learn more unique ways to personalize your LA wedding.

Average Cost of a Wedding in Los Angeles

Wedding costs can vary greatly depending on the location. Large metropolitan areas tend to have steeper prices, especially for venues. The average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles is $34,492, which is a bit higher than the 2020 national average of $33,900. Keep in mind that the average costs include elopements and ceremony-only weddings, which skip venues and have much smaller guest numbers.

Other factors, such as the time of year, catering, and the number of guests also contribute to the total cost. Before planning any wedding details, it’s best for you and your fiancé to set a budget. To help save money, some budget-friendly Los Angeles venues include public beaches and parks, which may only require a special event permit, and the City Hall.

average wedding costs in los angeles chart

Best Times of Year for Weddings in Los Angeles

best times of the year for LA weddings photo With warm weather almost year-round, you can’t go wrong with an LA wedding. Instead, it’s best to consider your venue options and guest preferences.

Spring: March, April, May

With temperatures in the low to mid-70s and fewer crowds, spring is a comfortable season for walking and visiting outdoor attractions. There’s rarely any precipitation in LA during the springtime, making it ideal for outdoor weddings. Also, hotel rates are likely to have discounts during this time, which is great for traveling guests.

Summer: June, July, August

Summertime in LA is peak tourism season, and also when the city experiences the hottest temperatures of the year. While you can expect higher hotel rates during this season, it is also a time when several popular summer festivals take place, including LA Pride.

Fall: September, October, November

Fall has cooler temperatures in the high-70s and is a great time to find flight and hotel deals when planned. If you prefer to avoid the peak tourist season, a fall wedding might be your best option.

Winter: December, January, February

Instead of snow, Los Angeles receives a lot of rain during the winter. Don’t let precipitation rule out a winter wedding just yet. This is also a season when you can find good flight and hotel deals, which can especially come in handy to catch famous award shows in LA at this time, such as the Grammys.

Seasonal guide to LA weddings chart

Busiest Weeks in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has several popular events and weeks throughout the year for your guests to enjoy. When planning your destination wedding, keep in mind that these may impact hotel and vendor availability and rates, as well as traffic and parking. Here are a few annual events to consider:

  • Chinese New Year and Golden Dragon Parade (February)
  • Los Angeles Marathon (March)
  • Coachella (April)
  • Jazz Reggae Festival (May)
  • LA Pride (June)
  • 4th of July Community Festival (July)
  • LA County Fair (September)
  • DTLA Film Festival (October)
  • Hollywood Christmas Parade (December)

Los Angeles Weddings and COVID-19

Bear in mind that activity restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic are constantly evolving and may differ by the area. From weeks up to the official day of your wedding, make sure to follow news and updates from the County of Los Angeles Public Health.

Currently, Los Angeles County can only have small private gatherings with a maximum of 15 individuals. Private gatherings must be outdoors with all guests wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot-distance. If you, your partner, and all other wedding guests are fully vaccinated by your wedding date, you’re free to have an indoor wedding without restrictions. Be aware that certain venues may have stricter guidelines than Los Angeles County.

Real Los Angeles Weddings

Looking for some inspiration to plan your California Dreamin’ wedding? Check out our inspiration page where you can browse hundreds of wedding photo submissions by season, location, and trending wedding styles. Here are a few romantic ideas from our real Los Angeles weddings:

real wedding locations in los angeles photo Romantic Outdoor Wedding at Descanso Beach Club. Consider lush green bouquets for a cheerful spring garden wedding.

oviatt penthouse wedding photo Magical Oviatt Penthouse Wedding. Sophisticated yet simplistic, matching black bow tie tuxedos can add a classic touch.

disneyland wedding photo Fairytale Destination Wedding in Disneyland. Tap into your inner childhood with a beautiful backdrop of the Disney castle.

Best Spots for Wedding Photos in Los Angeles

walt disney concert hall photo Walt Disney Concert Hall

From gorgeous coastlines to wondrous architecture, Los Angeles is full of inspiration for wedding photography. Here are some famous locations around the city to liven your backdrops:

LGBTQIA+ Los Angeles Wedding Information

lgbtq+ los angeles wedding info Even before the state recognized same-sex marriage equality in 2013, justice for inclusivity was a part of Los Angeles’ history. Since having one of the world’s first pride parades in 1970, the city now hosts two of the largest LGBTQIA annual events in the nation, the Outfest in April and the LA Pride parade in June. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest LGBTQIA communities in the world, West Hollywood (WeHo), where couples can enjoy numerous same-sex nightclubs and find supportive wedding vendors.

How to Find Local Los Angeles Vendors

By now, your heart is set on a Los Angeles dream destination wedding and you’re ready to dive into the planning details. Once you’ve set a wedding date, it’s time to bring in the wedding professionals. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to book venues and other wedding planning vendors at least 12–18 months before your date.

To get you started, use our filter to sort vendor categories by price, venue style, wedding theme, and more:

Los Angeles Wedding Guest Guide

If this will be your first time visiting Los Angeles, you will soon receive a warm welcome from “LA traffic.” With such a large population, rush hour in the city gets congested quickly, which can strongly impact your plans for the day if not carefully planned. To help you prepare, here is an overview of the logistics and travel details so you get the best experience with your loved ones during your wedding.

How to Get to Los Angeles

how to get to los angeles photo

  1. Getting here by plane: There are five main airports in the LA area that you can fly into. Upon your arrival, you can take a taxi, public transportation, or utilize one of many ride-sharing services available in the city.
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)- 16 miles to downtown LA
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)- 18 miles to downtown LA
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB)- 25 miles to downtown LA
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA)- 44 miles to downtown LA
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT)- 42 miles to downtown LA
  1. Getting here by train: There are several Amtrak rail trains you can take to LA from nearly anywhere in the nation, including Amtrak Southwest Chief from Chicago and Amtrak Sunset Limited from New Orleans.

  2. Getting here by bus: LADOT Transit is another common form of public transportation in LA to get to main commuter areas through the city, including downtown LA, for $1.50 fare one-way.

  3. Getting here by car: This is the most convenient way for tourists to get around Los Angeles. If coming by car, major highways leading to Los Angeles include I-10 from Phoenix, I-15 from Las Vegas, Highway 101 from northern California, and I-5 from San Diego.

  4. Metro Rail: Once in Los Angeles, you can take the LA metro rail to get around town using a $7 1-Day pass.

Best Neighborhoods for Out-of-Town Guests

LA neighborhoods for out-of-town guests

Now that you and your wedding guests have an idea of how to get here, the next step is deciding where to stay. Since LA has great weather almost year-round, you and your guests may prefer sightseeing areas where you can walk to notable attractions. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods in LA to consider:

  • Beverly Hills: If you were hoping to bump into one of your favorite TV stars, this is the place to be. Beverly Hills is home to some of the most luxurious estates and mansions. Hop on an open-air bus tour to celebrity homes or a fun shopping spree on Rodeo Drive.

  • Downtown (DTLA): As one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas, DTLA is a diverse neighborhood full of museums, theaters, markets, boutiques, and more. You may be able to catch a concert or fashion show while you’re there!

  • Santa Monica: This beautiful, beachfront city sits west of LA and plenty of family-friendly attractions. Along the Santa Monica pier are plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops, an aquarium, and Pacific Park, a full-service amusement park.

  • West Hollywood (WeHo): Known for its vibrant nightlife, WeHo is known as LA’s largest LGBTQIA community. Take a stroll through Sunset Strip to check out comedy clubs and live music, or head over to the Design District for shopping and buzzworthy cuisine.

  • Koreatown: Another buzzing night scene, Koreatown or “K-town” is one of LA’s most diverse neighborhoods. Enjoy some delicious Korean dishes, coffee shops, and multilevel malls.

10 Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles

things to do in los angeles

As you can see, Los Angeles is such a lively city with so many hidden gems, you don’t know where to start! If you’re only in town for the wedding and are short on time, here are our top bucket list activities to do in LA before you leave:

  1. Visit The Broad Art Gallery: Do you have a love for the arts? Visit the Broad contemporary art museum! With over 2,000 works of art, this gallery offers free general admission. (Set to reopen May 26, 2021)
  2. Shop in Rodeo Drive: In the famous shopping district of Beverly Hills, you can enjoy three blocks of boutiques, shops, and food (and possibly spot a celebrity on the way!).
  3. Catch a Concert at Santa Monica Pier: Enjoy some live music at the Pier any time of the year, any day of the week. Many bands come to perform on this busy pedestrian strip during holidays and major events.
  4. Go Biking on the Marvin Braude Trail: This paved bicycle path is a 22-mile stretch that runs through the Santa Monica Pier and along the Los Angeles County coastline. It’s the perfect morning workout to catch some sun and a great oceanside view.
  5. Check out the Huntington Library: A library, art museum, and botanical garden all-in-one, the Huntington offers group tours and fun workshops, including flower arranging, for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets are $25 for adult admission and free for kids.
  6. Visit the LA Zoo: With over 2,000 animals of 270 different species, the LA Zoo has plenty of wildlife exhibits to explore and learn. The adult entry fee is $22 and $17 for children.
  7. Take a Stroll Through Lake Hollywood Park: Take this easy, 2-hour hike through the park and catch a photo in front of the historic “Hollywood” sign. The park is free, peaceful, and full of wildlife.
  8. Tour the Getty Villa: This Malibu home-turned museum is filled with ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art. You can take a tour of the property, check out scheduled performances, and grab a bite to eat at its Mediterranean-inspired cafe. Admission is free!
  9. Go Skating through Sunset Boulevard: Stretching from downtown LA to the Pacific coast beach, this strip is where you can hop on a bike, tour bus, or helicopter tour for sightseeing and musical performances.
  10. Take photos on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: The famous star-studded sidewalk is one of LA’s (and the world’s) most famous attractions. From legendary entertainers like Michael Jackson to your favorite fictional heroes (Bugs Bunny!), this sidewalk has almost every celebrity that comes to mind.

With this guide, you and your partner have everything you need to plan the perfect LA wedding. Be sure to check out more expert advice for additional tips and resources on all things wedding. From destination wedding checklists to invites, Zola has everything you need all in one place.

Sources: Los Angeles County Clerk | The Wedding Report | Discover Los Angeles