San Diego, California - Getting married is a big decision, but once you’ve found "the one," why wait? Starting Wednesday, bridal couples can walk in to the County Administration Center downtown, pick up a marriage license and get married. No appointments necessary, no muss, no fuss.
For the second year in a row, the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk is offering walk-in Wednesday weddings during the summer months. The office came up with the concept after noting an uptick in marriage licenses and ceremonies during that time period in the last several years. The office decided to boost staff on Wednesdays to perform more ceremonies and allow walk-ins.
The idea took off. On the slowest walk-in Wednesday last summer, 85 marriage licenses were issued and 49 wedding ceremonies were performed. The busiest walk-in Wednesday saw 162 marriage licenses issued and 98 wedding ceremonies.
“Kind of funny to see why people come in, everyone has a different reason,” said Department Division Chief Jennifer Pechan. “San Diego may see more weddings because a lot of folks who are deploying like to get married as soon as possible but their schedules are not as flexible as other engaged couples.”
One other possible reason: California doesn’t have a residency requirement so lovebirds from other states and countries can get married right away rather than wait.
Walk-ins are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and couples who have appointments will have priority, but Pechan says the office does everything it can to make sure the process is a smooth one.
“We’ve practiced, we’re a well-oiled machine now,” said Pechan.
Pechan also recommends downloading the marriage license application and filling it out in advance. Once the process starts, a couple can be in and out of the office within an hour. Obtaining a marriage license can take about 15 minutes and the ceremony about 20 minutes depending on the number of guests and whether the wedding takes place inside the building at the Marriage Room or outside at the wedding arbor.
Walk-in wedding Wednesdays are only available at the main office at 1600 Pacific Highway downtown from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Aug. 27. Appointments will still be required for marriage services at satellite offices in Chula Vista, El Cajon and San Marcos. The number to call for appointments at any of the locations is (619) 237-0502.
Marriage licenses cost $70 and a wedding ceremony performed by staff costs $88. Mementos of the occasion and keepsakes range from $1 to $10. For more information, visit sdarcc.com.