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Savvy September 2019

Public or Confidential Marriage License?!

Kristine, on June 21, 2019 at 7:56 PM Posted in Planning 0 10
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So I had NO idea (I live in California, FYI) that there are 2 types of marriage licenses: public and confidential? What did you choose? I am 78 days away from my wedding, and need to decide. What are the pros and cons of each?


  • Michelle
    VIP December 2019
    • Flag

    I don't see why anyone would want a confidential ML unless they were hiding from someone, living a double life or they were famous. Other than that what other reason would someone need to do that?

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  • Anna
    Rockstar June 2020
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    Yes. I agree. 馃槅 I always love reading who got a marriage license in the paper.
    No need for a private one, that I can think of.
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  • Lauren
    VIP September 2019
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    Public license is $91. Confidential is $85. Saving $6 makes sense to me.
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  • CDickman
    VIP September 2019
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    If private is cheaper and it is same in Ohio we may go that way. Yes it is only 6 bucks but as long as it says we can get married
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  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    • Flag
    There was another thread about this recently and it seems there are some cons to private with regards to jumping through hoops to obtain your own copies when you need them 鈥 I don鈥檛 recall the specifics but it might pop up with the search function. I didn鈥檛 get married in a state where this was an option (at least not standardly offered)鈥 and records are simply public (I suspect maybe CA caters to its large number of celebrity residents?), so didn鈥檛 have any personal experience but I recall paying attention to that thread鈥 I鈥檓 a private person so would鈥檝e been inclined to do that if there wasn鈥檛 much difference , but I remember there being some actual cons & hassle mentioned
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  • MrsJohansson
    Expert June 2019
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    I dunno, I come from a place where there are a lot of privacy laws so the idea of public records and licenses is a bit scary to me. For that reason, I would choose private but people with different experiences may opt for public or just go with whatever is cheaper.

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  • Jessica
    VIP September 2020
    • Flag
    From what I understand you need either a court order or notarized application from one of the two of you to get a copy of your confidential marriage license, which may or may not be a hassle for you. Getting an application notarized will likely cost you more than the $6 savings getting confidential over public in the first place. Also, $85 or $91 are expensive, geez! Ours only costs $30. It鈥檚 crazy how much variance there is state to state!
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  • Cl铆odhna
    WeddingWire Administrator January 2030
    • Flag

    Hi Kristine! Did you decide what type of marriage license to get?

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  • P
    Just Said Yes October 2020
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    See link above. A public wedding license in California means that you have no privacy. Anyone can access for marriage license and they will have access to information including: your full name, date of birth, place of birth, parents place of birth, address, place of marriage and previous marriages. Con artists, identity thieves, and telemarketers can, and do access marriage certificates. Once this information is submitted there's no way to remove it. I will be getting confidential marriage license to protect my personal information. It's not about living a double life or "hiding" my marriage. It's to protect my personal information. Hope this helps someone!
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  • Jana
    Rockstar June 2022
    Jana Online
    • Flag
    A confidential license really only makes sense if you are a celebrity avoiding fans looking up your personal info or if you have an issue with a stalker ex. A public license works fine for the rest and the general public doesn't normally dig that deep into the average Joe's information. It depends on what works best for you.
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