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FAQ

Are your wedding ceremonies legal?

Yes. Our Wedding Ceremonies are 100% legal and binding per CA state law. You will be legally married the day you have the ceremony performed if you meet the exact same requirements established by the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder/County Clerk.

What form of I.D. is required?

You have several options: A Current Driver’s License, State issued I.D., Any valid passport, Government issued Driver’s License or I.D. from another country or an Permanent  Resident Card or a Matricula Consular.

How old do I have to be to get married?

In the state of California, you must be over the age of 18 to be married.

Are same sex weddings legal in California?

Yes. They are 100% legal and the same laws and qualifications to marry are required as a non same sex couple.

How to get a marriage license in Los Angeles?

We can issue a “confidential marriage license” on the day of your wedding saving you the hassle of waiting in line at the county clerk. We strictly follow the exact same procedures as the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder/County Clerk. You must present valid form of ID., be over 18 and be living together as spouses and if divorced less than two years ago, must present valid proof of divorce.

The County Clerk issues 2 types of marriage licenses, “public” and “confidential”. Public marriage licenses require a minimum of 1 witness and a maximum of 2 witnesses to sign the license at the ceremony. Public licenses are open records and are filed in Sacramento. “Confidential” licenses are closed records meaning only you and your husband or wife have access to certified copies of your marriage license. Witnesses are not required. Confidential licenses are filed in Norwalk, California.

Only the County Clerk can issue a public license. Authorized Notary Publics can issue only confidential marriage licenses. We only issue Confidential marriage licenses at our chapel. If you would like a public marriage license, please obtain one prior to your scheduled wedding and the marriage officiant will sign the license after the ceremony, thus validating the license.

Visit the County Clerk website for full eligibility requirements:

https://www.lavote.net/home/county-clerk/marriage-licenses-ceremonies/general-info/eligibility

How do I obtain a certified copy of my marriage license?

Our Notary public will issue you copies of your license the same day for instant legal proof of marriage. Consider it a “temporary” proof of marriage.  However your “certified copy” also known as the “marriage certificate” like a “birth certificate”, comes from the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk , or the “R.R.C.C.”

You can Pre-order your certificate with us at our chapel on the day of your wedding.  The County Clerk charges $15 per “marriage certificate” – BRING A CHECK PAYABLE TO “R.R.C.C” on the day of your wedding.  The “marriage certificate” will arrive to your home from the county clerk approximately 6-8 weeks after the date of marriage. If you forget to bring a check, we can issue a $15 check to the R.R.C.C. on your behalf for $25 ($15 check + $10 our fee).

Must I be a resident of the U.S. to be legally married in the U.S?

No, you do need to be a resident to be legally married in California. The Registrar/Recorder County Clerk will marry anyone over 18, with a valid (non expired, bonafide ID).  Our Notary Publics are authorized by the Registrar/Recorder County Clerk to marry anyone with a valid as well (non expired, bonafide ID) as we follow the exact same procedures as they do. However we can save you the hassle of waiting in line as we are open on weekends.

If you want your marriage recognized in a foreign country, you must order an “apostille” which is higher grade of certification from the Secretary of State. The government fee for an apostille filing is $20 ( The Secretary  of State fee) plus $65 for notary public fees. There will also be shipping fees which vary from the post office ( Approx $65 in mailling fees – with tracking numbers). We can help you with obtaining your apostille.

Immigration Questions?

For immigration, you will need to order the optional “certified copy” of the marriage license also known as a marriage certificate for $15.

You will receive the “certified copy” or “marriage certificate” in approximately 6-8 weeks ( Registrar Recorder/ County Clerk processing time) after the ceremony. However, we do give you a photocopy of the marriage license instantly. That copy is used by immigration attorneys to begin your filing instantly.

If you have deeper questions about immigration, you should contact a proper immigration attorney. Most all of them give free consultations.

How do I change my last name once married?

From the official county clerk website:

https://www.lavote.net/home/county-clerk/marriage-licenses-ceremonies/apply-for-a-marriage-license

Changing your name

Please read the following important information about name changes BEFORE completing your marriage license application. Changes to your name CANNOT be made once your license is issued.

The Name Equality Act

The Name Equality Act of 2007 (AB 102, Chapter 567, Statutes of 2007) gives specific rights to parties, at the time they are applying for a California marriage license, to choose and list on the marriage license the name that each party will go by after marriage.

Parties are not required to have the same name, nor are they required to change their name.

How Does it Work?

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the middle and/or last names by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage. Each party applying for a marriage license may choose to include on their marriage license the new name in the spaces provided on the marriage license application without intent to defraud.

NOTEChanging one’s name through this process can only be done at the time the marriage license is issued by the County Clerk or authorized Notary Public, as applicable.

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following last names:

  • The current last name of the other spouse.
  • The last name of either spouse given at birth.
  • A name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth.
  • A hyphenated combination of last names.

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names:

  • The current last name of either spouse.
  • The last name of either spouse given at birth.
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse.
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the birth last name of the person or spouse.

What You Cannot Do

  • You may NOT change your first name using this process.
  • You may NOT amend the marriage license after it has been issued to add or change the name you wish to be known as after you are married. The name you indicate on the marriage license application will be your name on the marriage license/certificate and cannot be changed by the County Clerk.
    • If one or both parties do not wish to identify a new name on the marriage license (fields 30A through 31C, as applicable), the marriage license will be completed with two single dashes. You may not change the information on the marriage license after it has been issued by the County Clerk.

Use of Your Marriage License

The marriage certificate is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies, each of which have different rules and/or regulations regarding what documents are acceptable to change your name on their records following marriage. It is recommended that you contact these agencies to verify their requirements

It is unlawful for County employees to answer questions of a legal nature. County Clerk staff cannot advise you how to complete the marriage license application as it relates to your entry of a new name or retention of your former name on the marriage license application.

For your protection, if you have any questions regarding whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license application, and/or how the Name Equality Act of 2007 may affect you, please consult an attorney prior to applying for your marriage license.

WHEN TO BEGIN SIGNING YOUR NEW NAME?

 You do not sign your new name on the day the wedding on the license. You will need to wait until the certified copy comes to your home 6-8 weeks after the ceremony. After it arrives take it to social security office to update your status from single to married and get a new card.  Next go to the DMV and do the same. We also suggest doing the same at your bank.  After all of that is completed, you may use your new married name.

Wasn't your chapel on Wilshire Blvd ?

Yes for over 40 years. But Metro is constructing a purple line subway station at our old spot on Wilshire and La Brea. We are happy to say we designed and opened our Brand New, Gorgeous, Deluxe Albertson Wedding Chapel just 1 block away. We are on La Brea Ave 1 block south of Wilshire. It is the most stylish wedding chapel in the U.S.! Visit us today at 834 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, California 90036. Free Parking in front lot.

Is there a fee to bring my own photographer?

As long as they are pocket cameras or phone cameras, then there is no charge. However, if you bring professional equipment ( We consider DLSR cameras with detachable lenses are pro equipment) then we do charge an $80 fee. The fee will allow your pro photographer or camera operator access to all areas of the chapel to shoot your pictures during and after the ceremony. The fee includes access for videographers.
Please note: If you order ANY of our photo packages we WAIVE the $80 fee and your “pro” photographers will be allowed to shoot with our outstanding photographers. Our photography packages are highly recommended as we have a tremendous amount of experience shooting at our chapel and we see other outside photographer’s work and it is usually subpar.

What time should the guests arrive?

Here is the format:

Example: Your wedding is booked with us at 12pm.

11:30AM – Bride arrives with her hair and make-up already done, her dress in a garment bag ( to avoid wrinkles ). Please bring a travel bag to put your change of clothes and sneakers in once you change into the wedding dress.

11:45AM – Groom arrives already fully dressed. Guests arrive at this time as well. This is how.  You tell the guests that the wedding starts sharply at 11:45AM and if they are not here they cannot get in. It is not true, they can get in, but we need to motivate the guests to arrive basically on time.

12:00PM – Booked start time

12:15PM – Actual start time. We must start sharply at 12:15PM. We cannot start a later than that.

Please use this format to calculate when to arrive and when to invite your guests. If your wedding is at 5pm for example it would be the same format. You arrive at 4:30pm, your guests and groom at 4:45pm, you booked for 5pm but the actual wedding starts sharply at 5:15pm.

 

Is there easy parking?

We are actually the only wedding chapel in L.A. with free parking options:

The main lot in front of our location is free to guests on a first come first serve basis. However, parking is not unlimited. I suggest that invited guests practice “carpooling” as best as possible. That will also help when heading to the next location such as a restaurant or someone’s house. Or encourage the use of UBER & LYFT to keep the party going.

There is also free street parking available on La Brea Ave, 8th and 9th st. We are located on La Brea Ave between 8th and 9th. Sycamore Ave. also has free 2 hour parking.

The other nearby parking option is $2.50 an hour at the “Lassens” Market public lot on the corner 8th and La Brea, half a block from us.  (710 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.)  It is even free for 90 min with any purchase, like water or anything.

There are 2 disabled access parking spots right in front our venue as well.  Limos can drop you off at our front door but must wait on La Brea Ave.

If you invite your guests in the proper format (Please refer the the above FAQ question ” What time should the guests arrive?”) then your guests should usually fine parking rather simple and easy. if they get here to early, they will have a tougher time to find parking. They will find free parking, but maybe a half block or so away. Or they would need to pay at the market at Lassen’s.

Do you allow flower petals at your venue?

We do not. We are sorry but do to safety and insurance liability issues, we do not allow real or fake flower petals on the premises. The same goes for bubbles, confetti or rice. However, flower girls are welcomed to have a basket with flowers in them, or they can hold cute signs you can make or purchase online for the wedding march. Just nothing can be scattered on the floor.

Or we suggest streamers. They are much more fun, they add an excellent visual for your video or photos. The bridesmaids can hand them our before the ceremony or formally down the isle.  Here is an amazon link to view and buy them:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M4RT00O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Is there easy parking?

We are actually the only wedding chapel in L.A. with free parking options:

The main lot in front of our location is free to guests on a first come first serve basis. However, parking is not unlimited. I suggest that invited guests practice “carpooling” as best as possible. That will also help when heading to the next location such as a restaurant or someone’s house. Or encourage the use of UBER & LYFT to keep the party going.

There is also free street parking available on La Brea Ave, 8th and 9th st. We are located on La Brea Ave between 8th and 9th. Sycamore Ave. also has free 2 hour parking.

The other nearby parking option is $2.50 an hour at the “Lassens” Market public lot on the corner 8th and La Brea, half a block from us.  (710 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.)  It is even free for 90 min with any purchase, like water or anything.

There are 2 disabled access parking spots right in front our venue as well.  Limos can drop you off at our front door but must wait on La Brea Ave.

Is your chapel in a good neighborhood?

Yes, in fact we are the only wedding chapel in a safe, trendy neighborhood in Los Angeles. We are at La Brea ave and Wilshire Blvd. 5 minutes from the LACMA, The Grove, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We also have free parking for your guests. Your guests have easy access to us from the 10 and the 101.

We are near many 5 star restaurants and hotels in Los Angeles.

Can I get a refund? We need to change our wedding plans.

All payments are non-refundable. 

In order to marry at our chapel you must fulfill certain criteria.

1. You must be certain you want to be married. ( It is a legally binding act )
2. You must be certain you would like to marry at our chapel. ( You will need to commit with a non-refundable deposit )

If it is just matter of re-scheduling, no problem, you can push the wedding back up to 4 months from the wedding date you booked to use the full value of the money paid.
(IE if your wedding is booked for 1/1/20 you will have up until 4/1/20 to use the full value of the money paid with us for another date. You may also use the money paid as a “To Go” service credit towards our travel services: Traveling officiant, bouquets or photographer.

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Why no refunds?

Bonus Reading ( A blog on refunds from the owners in efforts of transparency and clarity )

Marriage is a deepest form of commitment and it is reflected in the marriage service industry. The couple is committing to each other (huge), we are committing to the couple that we will be there to perform their wedding in an excellent manner AND the couple is committing that they will show up on the day of. ( Sounds crazy – but yes it has happened many times and every wedding venue owner in the world knows that feeling. ) You will find that all reputable venues do not give refunds or even any service credit for that main reason. In other venues, they would most likely even hold the couple responsible for the entire amount still owed beyond the deposit. Or they would charge a minimum 20% rescheduling charge. There are even “event insurance” companies like State Farm that even sells policies for couples that might to cancel an event. At Albertson Wedding Chapel we feel we are the leaders in wedding venue date/time flexibility. We have been in business 45 years and we understand emergencies can come up. That is why we allow easy rescheduling. You can book up to 4 months past the date you booked or even move the date sooner. A problem will arise if you say “We decided to marry in Alaska, we want a refund.” Or “I know we booked 6 months in advance but I think we are not ready for marriage. we want a refund.” Or “I thought we wanted to have just 20 guests but now we need 50 guests. I want a refund.” There are obviously situations where it is beneficial to couple and to our chapel to NOT book a wedding just yet. For if you are not ready to commit to a date, our chapel or even to each other yet, then please don’t book/pay yet.  Only book when you are sure. The are no “next day annulments” in California and we do not give refunds. Only say “I Do” when you are sure. It is all about commitment…from you to us, from us to you and from you to each other.

Let’s explore further, the opposite approach is booking with no commitment – 100% refundable deposit on any whim. How would a businesses keep staff happy or keep staff at all? Or would it be fair that our chapel turn away business for days, weeks, months or years telling potential couples no, that time is already booked. For when you book a date & time with us, it is a bona fide commitment. Meaning it is a solid, confirmed date with our chapel come rain or shine ( We are indoors, but you get the idea. ) If there was no commitment required, why then wouldn’t a couple book 4-5 venues and decide which one they want to marry at on the day of? No commitment required right?  It wouldn’t be fair to any vendor right?  To expect an event then being told it is canceled.  That wouldn’t be cool. You also want to know that the venue is booked and expecting you when the date and time comes right? It works both ways.

Commitment is real thing. Tony Robbins has a quote I like:

“Remember, if you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real.”   Tony Robbins
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When you book with Albertson Wedding Chapel, it is solid commitment from us to you. We are proud to say that we have couples that have already booked into 2022, but also last minute couples book with us too. Photographers, florists, notary publics, caterers, wedding ministers, cleaners, decorators and owners base their schedules many months in advance. We commit to the schedule no matter what is happening in our lives that we will be there to make your day awesome! Our chapel is the best at this. Hence the non-refundable deposit policy.

We have more than 36 guests? Can we invite more?

Our max is 36 guests on saturdays excluding the both of you. Kids under 5 do not count towards the guests count. You can book up to 40 guests on Sundays. Wedding trend research shows that the actual ceremonial element of a wedding day is much more intimate than the reception part if the wedding day. Many of our brides have their ceremony in the earlier part of the day, then have a larger party in the late afternoon or evening when “everyone” is invited. The ceremony would be parents, immediate family, best friends.  Although the final number of guests invited to the reception are also decreasing in 2020.

Another trend is that millennials are skipping the reception altogether and to hop on a plane to Hawaii, Paris or Italy.

A perfect option for you might be to add a “VIP” rustic-glam reception/mixer up to 40 guests in our “True Love” space next to your chapel. Learn more here: https://albertsonchapel.com/diamond-receptions/

Also, you can request to have your wedding LIVE STREAMED online with an HD webcam. Share the link on Facebook or in your twitter post or text people the link.  Have a virtual audience of hundreds! This is the link to share the live stream:

https://albertsonchapel.com/live-video-feed/

What time should we get there?

The “bride” should plan to get here exactly 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. At that time the “bride” will have access to our bridal room. The “groom” should arrive already dressed. There is no changing room for the groom.  The groom is also the main contact for the guests to see. The guests want to see a familiar face when they arrive.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen must arrive already dressed. There is no changing room for the groom or entourage either.

Here is the format to follow:

Example: Your wedding is booked with us at 12pm.

11:30AM – Bride arrives with her hair and make-up already done, her dress in a garment bag ( to avoid wrinkles ). Please bring a travel bag to put your change of clothes and sneakers in once you change into the wedding dress.

11:45AM – Groom arrives already fully dressed. Guests arrive at this time as well. This is how.  You tell the guests that the wedding starts sharply at 11:45AM and if they are not here they cannot get in. It is not true, they can get in, but we need to motivate the guests to arrive basically on time.

12:00PM – Booked start time

12:15PM – Actual start time. We must start sharply at 12:15PM. We cannot start a later than that.

Please use this format to calculate when to arrive and when to invite your guests. If your wedding is at 5pm for example it would be the same format. You arrive at 4:30pm, your guests and groom at 4:45pm, you booked for 5pm but the actual wedding starts sharply at 5:15pm.

We are running late. What can we do?

Running late can be an issue as we will most likely have a wedding scheduled after yours. We recommend getting here 30 minutes prior to your wedding.

If you are running extremely late, your photo session might be shortened, or worst case scenario, your wedding start time will be held up until we have another opening in our schedule later that day.

 

How long will we be at the chapel?

The both of you will be at the chapel approximately 90 minutes if you have ordered a package with us that includes photography. The actual ceremony at the alter lasts about 25 minutes. However, with photography, mingling, signing the license, bridal room prep time, the wedding march etc, an hour and a half is realistic. (IE: If your wedding is scheduled to start at 4pm, book your dinner reservations at a restaurant, or your reception location start time to be 5:45pm or 6pm depending on the distance.

If you did not a photography package and are just doing a ceremony with us, plan to be here approximately an hour.

 

 

 

Do you provide music?

Yes we stream music for your guests to listen to before the ceremony starts. We also can play 1 specific song for you for your entrance. The song should be at least 3 minutes in length.  The song will play for the entrance of the entourage and for the bride. We find that 1 song works best for continuity. The song you can select must be able to be streamed from “apple music” or “spotify”. We do not have the ability to play a song from “youtube”.

You may also bring a personalized playlist of music on your phone or ipod to personalize your wedding. (Please bring your own “iphone DJ” to facilitate this… just a friend to hit play and fade the music and to play music for your guests pre-show and post-show during the photo session).  The phone or ipod will connect via bluetooth.

 

If you are having a VIP reception, bringing your own device with your own music to help tell your love story is highly recommended. Please provide 2 hours of music.

Is it customary to tip the Photographer and Minister? How much?

Yes and any tips should be in given in cash directly to the minister, coordinator and/or your photographer. That would be a wonderful way to show your appreciation to those that help you on the day of 🙂

We are traveling from another country. Will our U.S. marriage be valid in our country?

Yes it can be, but you should contact the US consulate in your country or the consulate of your country in Los Angeles. You may need an “Apostille” attached to your marriage certificate for your country to validate the marriage. This is a higher grade of certification that allows foreign government agencies need to recognize the validity of your marriage certificate. We can facilitate that for you for approximately $150 in fees. This price includes the government fee from the Secretary of State and shipping fees and our office fees and support.

To receive a certificate from the county clerk takes 6-8 weeks ( normal county clerk processing time). To have an apostille made usually adds another 6 weeks to the time needed before the completed apostille is in your hands, in your country. It’s a slow process but always arrives.

Must I download my video and photo gallery?

Yes.  Please do so as soon as you receive your link from us for safe keeping. We do not guarantee safe back ups of your files as the original files get uploaded to cloud services like smug mug.com, vimeo.com, and youtube.com.  Hard drives may crash, cloud services like the ones listed could be hacked. All digital media is subject to potential loss. Please download your images and videos upon receipt.

Can I bring my own officiant or pastor to marry us?

Yes you can. If you know someone dear to you that would love to officially marry you, by all means bring him or her in.  As long as the ceremony is 25min or less ( standard actual ceremony time at the “alter”) then having your friend, family member or your own pastor is a great idea to personalize your wedding. The person must be ordained in order to marry you.

Do you offer discounts?

We do offer package deals that are discounted further than if you bought the services a la carte. Here is our package deals page:

Packages

We do offer 5% off* our a la carte or package deals if you are an active military personal ( with military I.D.) an active L.A.P.D. officer or in the L.A.F.D. * We also offer a 10% off* for “Renewal of Vows” ceremonies if you are currently married and wish to re-commit to your spouse.  We also give 3% off a wedding booked 3 months in advance if paid in full at booking.*  or 5% off if the wedding is over 6 months away and paid in full at booking. Or 3% off any payments made in cash (cash discount)*

*These offers/discounts cannot be combined. For example you cannot get 9% off by being in the military and paying in cash.

Why are you so much better than anywhere else I have found? What's the catch?

Ha. There is no catch! We are the best because our owners are fashion designers and true romantics. We are the best because this has been a family owned establishment for 43 years and counting. We are the best because our venue is in an excellent trendy neighborhood. We obsessively maintain our chapel so it is always pristine for you and we try every day to improve the quality of our services.  We believe everyone deserves a dignified, respectful, sincere wedding without paying an arm and a leg. We are the best because we put all our prices online, unlike most every place else you find. We are also proud to show you real video and photo samples of couples that have been married here. We are the best because we have always fought for love in Los Angeles. We believe that no matter where you were born, your background, your orientation, your religion, if you believe in love… then Albertson Wedding Chapel is for you.

We believe we are the best wedding chapel in the U.S. However, the ultimate truth is we are only as great as the couples that get married here. Your love makes us great!

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