Video and In‑Person Marriage Ceremonies – Frequently Asked Questions

Effective immediately, in-person marriage ceremonies may be scheduled and facilitated at adult institutions in Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Reopening.

Please check the Facility Status page regularly for the Roadmap to Reopening phase status of each institution.

CDCR recognizes the importance of family and community connections, and the role they play in preparing individuals for their successful release and rehabilitation.

Governor’s Executive Order #N-58-20 states that adult applicants to be married may, in the discretion of the county clerk, be permitted to appear before a county clerk to obtain a marriage license via videoconference, rather than in person. This order specifically identifies that counties within the State of California may use their own discretion in deciding whether to allow marriage ceremonies to occur using videoconferencing technology. While CDCR is in compliance with the order, the Department has no authority over the County Clerk/Recorder’s offices.  The authority to issue marriage licenses and to validate marriage ceremonies continues to rest with the individual counties.

In those counties that have authorized marriage ceremonies to occur via videoconference, CDCR will continue to provide marriages in a safe manner, in keeping with state mandates, and in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The process for requesting and completing a marriage packet has not changed. The only difference is that, instead of scheduling in-person marriage ceremonies in the visiting room, ceremonies will be conducted in the visiting room using two-way video conferencing equipment.

In-person ceremonies will be limited to three approved visitors:

  1. The visitor to be married
  2. The ceremony officiant (if not provided by the institution)
  3. One civilian witness

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, incarcerated guests will not be permitted at this time.

In keeping with the Governor’s Executive Order N-58-20, participants shall be limited to the two people getting married, the person solemnizing the marriage, and at least one necessary witness (but not more than two). All participants except for the incarcerated person must be identified by the Marriage Coordinator at the beginning of the ceremony. Additionally, all individuals to be married must be physically present within the State of California at the time of the ceremony. Each person will be asked to affirm they are currently in the state of California, and will be required to show their valid form of identification to the Marriage Coordinator during the video session.

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, incarcerated guests will not be permitted at this time.

A wedding ceremony may be cancelled at any time due to health and safety concerns. A request may be submitted to the Marriage Coordinator to reschedule when it is safe to do so.

Yes. All individuals appearing in-person or via video conference must be an approved visitor in advance.

No. CDCR will not charge incarcerated people for remote marriage ceremonies.