for wedding planners


An Introduction

I'm Elizabeth Oakes, a nondenominational ULC minister and notary authorized to issue confidential marriage licenses for ceremonies taking place in Los Angeles County. I've been creating and performing civil, nondenom, "spiritual but not religious," interfaith, intercultural, and non-religious ceremonies for over 13 years, and I've served as a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage for the Norwalk County Clerk's office since 2002. I am happily ensconced in an interfaith marriage of my own, and my husband/silent partner and I are both staunch marriage equality supporters. I am based in Mar Vista/Santa Monica area and perform wedding ceremonies throughout Southern California and the western U.S.


About My Work

My goals are to make legal marriage documentation sweet and easy, and to provide your clients with a ceremony that reflects their values and style in a thoughtful, articulate way. My most popular service is my "Wedding Bundle," which includes both on-site marriage licensing and ceremony officiation to legally complete the marriage.

Licensing: Confidential marriage licensing is unique to California. It's quick, convenient, and grants the exact same legal status as a regular marriage license (plus it saves your couple a trip to the County Clerk's office). The necessary data can usually be exchanged with just one or two emails. Only cohabiting couples qualify for confidential marriage licensing.

Ceremony creation: I maintain a large archive of ceremony materials, many of them original works, in an array of styles and sentiments. I provide simple, easy-to-use ceremony frameworks and offer feedback as we edit. I help brainstorm bespoke texts and rituals for couples who seek one-of-a-kind ceremonies, and greatly enjoy working together with clients to create a memorable wedding. I can also easily provide a simple, classic wedding without any effort on the couple's part.

When appropriate, I encourage couples to more deeply explore the import of the marriage moment through the wedding process. I do not, however, require or provide premarital counseling (though I can offer referrals to MFTs who are qualified to do so).

Officiation: One cannot stand next to a loving couple at the moment of their vows and not be changed by it--that is, if one is conscientious and sincere about wedding work. It is always a great privilege to witness this impactful exchange, and I endeavor to never take that for granted. My officiation style is joyful, yet respectful of love, marriage, and community.

Teamwork: I endeavor to build confidence and rapport with both couples and vendors, with the understanding that we must work together as a team to best serve our clients.

Consultation: I make myself available to you and the couple for unlimited consulation before the wedding day, and I follow up afterwards to address any lingering questions or worries. I also make a concerted effort to respond to email and phone messages as quickly as possible--if not immediately, then no later than 24 hours--to keep anxiety at a minimum.


If you are looking for an experienced officiant who can issue confidential marriage licenses for L.A. area ceremonies, I'd be happy to provide a rate quote for your clients' consideration. Please email me the date, time, and location of the wedding and I'll get back to you ASAP with my availability and pricing.

Things You Should Know

1. An authorized notary can only issue confidential marriage licenses for ceremonies taking place in his or her home county. I only issue licenses for L.A. County, but am able officiate ceremonies anywhere in the State of California. I am also available for out-of-state and overseas weddings (usually issuing the marriage license and performing a civil ceremony locally before departure).

2. Confidential licenses are only issued to couples who are currently cohabiting. If your clients don't live together at present, they don't qualify. They'll need to obtain a public marriage license from any County Clerk's office in California before the wedding day; both parties must appear in person at the Clerk's office with a valid ID (additional support documents may be required). Public licenses cannot be privately issued by notaries.

3. I'm happy to provide contact information for other planners familiar with my work so you can speak candidly with them about my MO and skill level. If you'd like to chat and do a "vibe check" before recommending me to your clients, please don't hesitate to call me with your inquiry at 310.288.6658. I look forward to speaking with you.

Thanks for your kind attention. Hope to be of service to you soon!