Oakland, CA Online Ordination Guide

Officiate Weddings in Oakland, CA

Wedding Couple OaklandFor years now Oakland has been accepting the tech refugees that have been priced out of San Francisco. In other words, all the cool kids have moved to Oakland, unless you think that working for “X” or whatever is cool.

Not only is Oakland relatively affordable to live in, but it has become the new cultural center of the bay area. Whether you are into performance art, dance, music, or affordable wedding venues, Oakland is the place to be.

That’s also why Oakland is the perfect city for your wedding. Whether you are looking for a “Traditional” wedding ceremony or something with more of a unique spin, it’s all possible in Oakland.

So if you’re looking at getting married or officiating a wedding in Oakland, let’s quickly walk you through everything you need to know.

STEP 1: Get Ordained with American Marriage Ministries

California State marriage laws apply in Alameda County California, where Oakland is situated. The law states that the following people may solemnize marriage:

  • A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination who is 18 years of age or older,
  • 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,
  • A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office,
  • A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court,
  • 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,
  • A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court,
  • A United States magistrate or retired magistrate,
  • 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,
  • A person that holds or formerly held an elected office of a city, county, or city and county, or a city clerk of a charter city

Once you get ordained with American Marriage Ministries, you have satisfied your legal requirement to officiate weddings and will immediately have the ability to conduct wedding ceremonies and sign marriage licenses.

Once you have completed the ordination process, we recommend purchasing hard copies of your ordination documents. These official documents are not legally required but they are handy if requested by government officials or couples. They can be shown to couple, other wedding professionals, the venue, or even the San Francisco City and County Clerk may ask for proof of your status as an ordained minister.

Begin Ordination

STEP 2: Prepare For Officiating the Wedding

Getting ordained is the easy part. The real work begins with preparing for the actual wedding ceremony. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is a great honor, and doing a good job takes research and planning. The official American Marriage Ministries website has comprehensive wedding training resources covering every aspect of officiating weddings,

For now, we will break up your responsibility into two categories.

  1. Non-Legal Duty – Officiating the Wedding Ceremony
  2. Legal Duty – Signing the Marriage License

Non-Legal Duties – You non-legal duties encompass all of the performative aspects of the wedding ceremony. How do I write a wedding ceremony? How do I get ready to perform marriage? What do I say at a wedding?

To learn the answers to all these questions and more, we recommend that you read through the officiant training pages on the American Marriage Ministries website. These resources cover all important aspects of performing marriage and is geared towards first-time officiants.

Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. The sooner you get started and the more time you allocate to practice, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to officiate the wedding.

Legal Duties – Your legal duties have everything to do with the marriage license. Your one legal job as the wedding officiant is to sign the marriage license for the couple. This is as simple as it sounds, kust complete and sign a piece of paper. That’s it!

We understand how important it is to make sure the marriage license is properly completed. If you do find yourself confused by some of the fields on the marriage license, check out our page on How to Fill Out a Marriage License.

STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding

Taking care of the marriage license is one of the most important parts of the wedding process, because it’s what makes the wedding legal and officially recongized by the state. It is the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license from the Almeda County Clerk’s office, but just be sure to double check that they have done so before performing the ceremony.

Once the ceremony is over and the marriage license is properly signed, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. In Oakland, the signed marriage license must be returned to the county clerk, or county recorder’s office in-person or by mail within ten (10) days after the ceremony.

Oakland Wedding Planning Logistics

Oakland has more personality than your average city, and that means you’ve got options when it comes to planning your wedding. In practical terms, that means you can choose from glitzy wedding halls, or pay a taco truck to pull up for your back yard wedding and you’re going to have an awesome time either way.

September and October are the most popular months for Bay Area couples to tie the knot, and that means there might be increased competition for public venues and higher prices. Check if there are any larger public events (festivals, parades, sporting events, etc.) that might disrupt your plans or drive up prices if you’ve got a lot of friends visiting from out of town. That’s because hotel availability, traffic, and flights into town could be affected, so be sure to plan accordingly.


Oakland has great connectivity and airlines like Alaskan, Southwest, and most other US carriers offer cheap flights into the city if you plan ahead – which is why we’re doing this well in advance, right?

The BART transit system connects Oakland to San Francisco, where a lot of your guests might be staying. Beyond that, there are the usual rentals, rideshares, and taxis but traffic can get pretty dismal so take that into consideration.


Oakland has brilliant weather most of the year, which expands your options. Even winter months average in the 50s and 60s, but there’s still going to be a damp chill in the air on some days, so be careful what sort of outdoor weddings you plan for February. That said, with so many awesome parks, Oakland is a great outdoor wedding sort of a place.

That said, you aren’t going to get that “California Weather” that you’d expect in places like Los Angeles. For much of the year, you can expect sunny, gentle warmth.

Oakland Marriage License Info

Marriage License


When Are The Best Months To Plan A Wedding Oakland?

Since Oakland’s weather is great year-round, it really depends on what months work for you. Keep in mind that September and October are the most popular months for Bay Area couples to wed, and prices are lower for off months.

What Do I Need To Do To Make Sure I Am Legally Allowed To Solemnize Marriage In Oakland California?

If you are unsure what your status is, American Marriage Ministries offers free ordination that grants you full rights as a minister. Get ordained now and eliminate the guesswork. Otherwise, check with the county clerk to see if your status is accepted.