Lauren Seals, a non-denominational minister for the last 18 years, conducts about 100 weddings a year. A wedding ceremony with the exchange of vows between a couple and the presence of a designated witness, conducted by a wedding officiant, such as Seals, who signs the marriage license after the ceremony is completed, and returns the document to the County in which it was issued, is the minimum requirement to register your marriage in the State of California.

All weddings ceremonies have to result in registered civil unions in order to be considered legal. Throwing the rice and raising a toast are nice traditions but these things don’t make you married.  Church weddings without a valid signed marriage license are not legal. Nor are shipboard nuptials valid unless the ship’s captain meets the legal requirements of California Family Code Section 400, which Seals does.

Raised in a military family, Seals helps local Marines reduce the expense of an elaborate wedding ceremony by marrying them at her home in Fallbrook. Free of charge. “I saw the need for something a bit more personal and romantic than a courthouse wedding ceremony for military [personnel] with no funds,” says Seals.

Previous marriage ceremonies have included up to six guests, including the designated witness, and up to three vehicles parked in front. Because Seals doesn’t host the reception, wedding parties usually convene elsewhere afterward.

If you are active military and are thinking of having Seals sign that marriage license for a June wedding, better start the paperwork soon. Seals and her husband have recently decided to move from Fallbrook, from a house to a condo, closer to the coast.
Moving from a private house to a condo complex will have an impact on her business and her ability to offer a simple wedding ceremony free of charge, a service she values at $350.00.

“I can see that the process of downsizing will affect the look and feel of our home in the next six months, but I do not have an exact moving date,” says Seals.

Pre-marital counseling is not a service that Seals offers. She says most of her clients tend to be mature. “I have never married anyone who needed their parents’ permission or that of the Juvenile Court, so everyone had to have been at least 18 years or older.”

Prospective brides and grooms, the spouses-to-be, with proper military identification, and a marriage license recently issued by the County of San Diego, may contact Mrs. Seals, through her business: Two Rings and a Kiss, by phone, 760-723-1111, or via email:

Be sure to bring your designated witness with you.



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About the Author'

Heather Siegel

Heather Siegel is a well-known disability rights advocate. Each story brings Siegel’s unique insights into the complex lives of disabled veterans struggling to survive in the peacetime world. If you know someone who would be a good candidate for a profile, please contact Heather Siegel — The Siegel Sidebar at or (760) 432-8383.