The “License and Certificate of Marriage” (VS 117) is the standard public marriage license (FC Section 359). A public marriage in California requires a minimum of four people: Two unmarried persons, a person solemnizing the marriage, and at least one witness (FC Section 359 and H&SC Section 103175). Under no circumstances can more than two witnesses sign the marriage license.
An application to obtain a certified copy of the public marriage certificate may be provided to authorized individuals as allowed in Health and Safety Code Section 103526.
The “Confidential License and Certificate of Marriage” (VS 123) may be used by those persons 18 years of age or older who have been living together as spouses (FC Section 500). Documentary evidence regarding whether or not parties have been living together as spouses is not required and may not be demanded. However, you must understand that you are stating under penalty of perjury that you have been living together as spouses. A confidential marriage in California requires two unmarried persons and a person solemnizing the marriage. No witness is required nor are they authorized to sign the confidential marriage license.
Only the parties to the marriage may be provided with an application to obtain a certified copy of the confidential marriage certificate (FC Section 508).