When it comes to planning a wedding event in Washington DC, there are two main legal documents that couples need to consider: the marriage license and the marriage certificate. The National Mall memorial parks can provide stunning settings for wedding ceremonies, but it is important to review the rules before applying for permission to hold a wedding at one of the three approved locations. This is to ensure that the safety of the people, assets and natural and cultural resources of the park are taken into account. Additionally, if you are taking wedding-related photos in a park or in areas other than those specified in the wedding ceremony permit, you may need to apply for a filming and photography permit. In Washington DC, couples must apply for their marriage license in the same city where they plan to get married.
It is also important to note that only court-authorized officiants can perform the ceremony without authorization from the Marriage Bureau of the District of Columbia Court. The Superior Court of the Marriage Bureau of the District of Columbia offers several options for applying for a marriage license, so it is essential to understand all of the requirements. It is possible to get married in court for free, but couples must request an appointment for a civil wedding ceremony; currently, the District of Columbia Marriage Bureau requests that it be at least 10 days after the license is issued. Once the license has been issued, there is no expiration date for when couples must get married. The Marriage Bureau issues marriage licenses and certified copies, and authorizes civil and religious celebrants to celebrate weddings in the District of Columbia. Weddings for up to 200 people are allowed at the Washington Memorial on Independence Avenue, near Martin Luther King, Jr.
Couples can request a civil wedding with a judicial official; see the Civil Wedding Ceremonies section for more information.