California issues special permits to marry people for one day.

Receiving ordination in California means you’ve received the backing of a religious organization to perform marriages, funerals, baptisms and other religious ceremonies on the denomination’s behalf. If you’re seeking full religious ordination the fastest way to do this is to use an online church or ordination service. If you just want to officiate a legally binding marriage, California offers the unique opportunity to have the right to officiate a marriage for one day only, using a special permit that can be obtained at participating courthouses. The one-day permits offered by the state has no religious affiliation tied to it.


Examine and compare the various online churches and ordination companies that will provide you with ordination credentials. There are companies that will ordain you for free. The Universal Life Church headquarters is based in California.

Pick an online company that aligns with your religious or personal beliefs. Once you become ordained, you will be expected to remain true to the code of ethics or statements of beliefs provided by the ordination company, regardless of what religious ceremony you might be performing.

Fill out and submit any applications necessary to complete your ordination. Order a basic clergy package that will provide you with a wallet ID card, your ordination certificate and license granted by the ordination company. The cost can vary from $20 to $150 as of April 2010 depending on what you order. You can perform religious services including officiating at weddings once you receive your ordination credentials.


Visit the county courthouse in person during the specified hours the county issues one-day permits. These permits are for officiating weddings only.

Provide a copy of the couple’s marriage license and pay any fees applicable to the courthouse. You must be at least 18 years old to receive the permit.

Take an oath swearing to uphold the US Constitution and the constitution of California.

Receive your one-day permit to officiate the wedding.


  • If you’re wanting to include religious wording or verbiage during the marriage ceremony, you’ll need to receive your ordination credentials online since religious wording or references to anything spiritual are not allowed during marriage ceremonies performed by those who’ve obtained a one-day permit from the county. Check with the county clerk in the county you plan on officiating weddings in for any specific paperwork processes needed to legally perform weddings.


  • Not all religious denominations believe receiving your ordination credentials online to be biblicaly valid, despite its legal standing. The one-day permit to officiate at marriages in California is granted on a county-by-county basis. Counties are not required by the state of California to grant the one-day permits.