If you are considering eloping in DC, you probably have a lot of questions – luckily, we have plenty of answers! As experts in the local Washington, DC wedding community, we are very familiar with the different rules and regulations for getting married in DC. Here are answers to some of the most common questions:
Do you marry both straight and gay couples?
YES! We support marriage equality for all and every one of our officiants performs same-sex marriages in DC. Like our slogan says, “All Couples, All Love.”
How much do you charge?
We offer very competitive rates, and our fees vary depending on the service and the type of ceremony you are looking for. A full schedule of fees is located on our Marriage Services page.
How do we book one of your officiants for our ceremony or other service?
We know your time is valuable, and we make it easy and convenient for you to hire us – simply fill out our contact form or call us at 800-721-VOWS (8697) and we will get back to you very quickly. We will answer any questions you may have and will send you a digital contract and any required forms via email. Once you return the contract and payment, we will schedule your ceremony and you’ll be all set – most couples are able to complete the entire booking process the same day they contact us.
What are the requirements for getting a marriage license in Washington, DC?
The requirements for applying for a license and getting married in DC are reasonably straightforward, but can be a bit confusing because they are different than a lot of other states. Comprehensive information on the process for submitting a marriage license application can be found on our Applying in DC page.
Can we apply for a marriage license online or by mail?
No, DC marriage license applications must be submitted at the courthouse in person, either by you or by someone on your behalf. We offer a Marriage Application by Proxy Service to assist you if you are planning from outside the DC area.
How much time does it take from the time we apply for our license until the time we can go pick it up?
DC law used to require a three business day waiting period before you could pick up your license after applying, but that is no longer the case. In December 2014 this waiting period was lifted and now you can apply for and pick up a DC marriage license the same day.
Many people who live in the District end up choosing our Marriage Application by Proxy Service simply because of the high potential of a long wait at the courthouse to apply and pick up your license. It’s not uncommon to end up waiting over an hour just to get through the security line on each of your trips to the courthouse, and sometimes several more hours once you get inside to the DC Marriage Bureau. To learn more about this service, click here.
When does a DC marriage license expire?
Once you have the license, there is no rush to perform the ceremony. DC marriage licenses never expire, so once you have it you can get legally married whenever you wish.
Can we get married the same day we arrive in Washington, DC?
Yes, but only after you have obtained your marriage license. We also offer a service where we can apply for and pick up your license for you, and have it ready when you arrive to be married. To learn about this service, click here.
Can we get a marriage license in Washington DC if we aren’t DC residents?
Yes! DC has very favorable regulations for couples who are traveling from other areas to get married, although the marriage license application must be submitted in person at the courthouse. Someone can do this for you if you are from out-of-state, and we are happy to offer our Marriage Application by Proxy Service to help submit your application and pick up your license.
Can I have a friend perform my wedding ceremony in Washington, DC?
Wedding ceremonies can only be legally performed in DC by authorized, registered wedding officiants who have been approved by the city and whose names are on file at the DC Marriage Bureau office. If you would like to have a friend or family member perform your ceremony, they will need to complete that process and pay a licensing fee, which takes at least a few days because it must be approved by a judge.
DC Elopements offers the services of several wedding officiants who are already approved and on the list, and we are pleased to offer three options for wedding ceremonies in DC – an Express Marriage License Signing Service, Elopement Ceremony Officiant Service, Elopement Packages, and Full-Scale Wedding Officiant Services. For more information and pricing, please visit our DC Marriage Services page.
Do we need to have any witnesses for the ceremony?
No, witnesses are not required in Washington, DC. All that is needed for the marriage to be legal is the signature of the authorized, registered wedding officiant whose name is printed on your marriage license.
Where can I get married?
If you apply for a DC marriage license, your ceremony must take place inside city limits of the District of Columbia. You may NOT use a D.C. marriage license to get married outside of the city. We do perform weddings in Maryland and Virginia, but you need to have the appropriate marriage license issued by the jurisdiction where your ceremony will take place.
If I want to get married outside of DC, what do I do?
In most cases, if you are getting married outside of DC, in Maryland for example, you will need to obtain a marriage license from the county in which you are being married. If you would like to get married in one of the other states that we serve, simply use our contact form and we will happily give you more information.
Do you have a place you recommend that we stay?
There are many wonderful hotels, inns, and Bed and Breakfasts where you can stay in DC. Many out-of-town couples chose a location that also allows them to get married in their room or in a part of the property. We offer recommendations for accommodations on our Recommended Professionals page.
For LGBT couples, the Dupont Circle neighborhood is really the epicenter of the gay community in Washington, D.C. It offers some of the city’s best restaurants and nightlife, and many of our gay couples choose to stay in this area.
We are coming to DC from out-of-state to get married, what do I need to know?
The first thing to know is that you can’t just show up and get married like you do in Vegas. As mentioned earlier, there is now no wait time from the time you apply for your license until you can actually obtain it and get married. However, you still need to go to the courthouse (or hire us to do it for you) on a weekday, and get a license before you can be legally married. Make sure that you have hired an authorized, registered officiant before you come to DC. You will need to provide the name of your officiant on the marriage application itself when you submit it or the staff at the Marriage Bureau will not print your license, so this is critical. We offer several services to help with this process, including a Marriage Application by Proxy service, and our ceremony officiant rates are available on our Marriage Services page.
Can we choose which officiant will perform my ceremony?
We do allow you to select your specific officiant for full-scale wedding ceremonies, which are handled through our sister company. Our Express Marriage Service and elopement ceremonies are performed by the officiant that we have scheduled on your particular day. You will definitely know who your specific officiant will be before you apply for your license, we will give you the name for your application once you’ve scheduled your ceremony or license signing.
Can you recommend any other professionals?
YES! We have worked in the wedding business in this area for over a decade and we know a ton of fabulous vendors – we are happy to recommend someone for any service. Take a look at our Recommended Professionals page, or contact us and we will be happy to help!