DC Elopements has helped over 1,000 couples get married in DC, and we have put together this guide to help answer some of the most common questions about gay marriage in DC. Washington, DC was once one of the only places in the country where gay marriage was legal, and DC’s marriage laws make it an ideal location for LGBT couples from around the world to “make it legal”.
Many of our couples have been together for decades and are simply looking to make it official with our Marriage License Signing Service. Others are interested in our Washington DC Elopement Packages, and hire us to perform a ceremony for them and a small group of guests. We also do quite a few full-scale wedding ceremonies for gay couples who are having the “big wedding” they’ve dreamed of. No matter what kind of wedding you are planning, DC Elopements can assist you by helping to secure your marriage license and one of our wedding officiants will work with you to make it official.
Gay Marriage in Washington DC
Gay marriage was legalized in Washington, DC on December 9, 2009 and the first gay weddings were performed on March 9, 2010. DC has an active, vibrant gay community and instantly became a top destination for LGBT couples who wanted to get married legally. The DC wedding industry is extremely gay-friendly, it is actually pretty rare to find DC-area wedding vendors who don’t work with gay couples on a regular basis. The one exception to this is typically wedding officiants, who may or may not perform gay marriages based on their religious beliefs. DC Elopements is a collective of gay-friendly wedding officiants who actively serve the gay community in DC, and work to assist couples traveling to the District of Columbia from other areas of the country where gay marriage is not yet legal. We perform hundreds of weddings each year for both LGBT and straight couples who come here to tie the knot.
Gay Marriage Requirements in DC
The requirements for gay couples getting married in Washington, DC are the same for both straight and LGBT couples. DC’s Marriage License requirements state that Applicants must be 18 years old, or 16 years old with parental consent. Each applicant needs to provide a government-issued photo ID or passport at the time of application – the ID must contain a birth date for proof of age, and a current address. The court will accept copies of photo IDs without objection, but for passports an original color copy that has been notarized with a raised seal is required. The DC Marriage Application must be filled out in its entirety, and the applicant (who does not need to be one of the people getting married) must affirm under oath that the information is correct. Neither party needs to be a resident of DC in order to get married in DC.
The Process of Gay Marriage in DC
The gay marriage process in DC is exactly the same as it is for straight couples. First, you must obtain a DC Marriage License by submitting a marriage license application in person at the Marriage Bureau in the DC Superior Court in Northwest DC, marriage licenses are not issued by mail. The next step is to have an officiant, minister, or judge sign your license. DC law requires all marriages to be performed by an authorized, registered wedding officiant whose name is on file in the Marriage Bureau’s computer system. In DC, the officiant’s name is listed on the marriage license itself, and there are a limited number of wedding officiants who have been authorized by the court to perform weddings.
DC Marriage Licenses don’t expire, so your license is valid until you have performed the ceremony and your officiant has mailed back the court’s copy to the Marriage Bureau. Once the court has received this copy in the mail, the marriage is official and you may request an official certified copy in person or by mail.
If you are not living in DC, it can be difficult to obtain the license yourself. Most of our couples hire us to perform a DC Marriage License Application by Proxy, where we will go to the court on your behalf and submit the application, pay for it, and then pick it up when it is ready.
DC Gay Marriage Officiants
The DC Marriage Bureau maintains a list of active officiants who have been authorized to perform weddings in Washington, DC but the list does not specify which officiants perform gay weddings.
While many DC-area wedding officiants are gay-friendly, it isn’t always obvious whether an officiant will help LGBT couples or not. All of the officiants with DC Elopements fully support gay marriage and perform weddings for gay couples on a regular basis, we are familiar with the issues that many gay couples have when traveling to DC to get married and are happy to help in any way we can. Since we serve so many LGBT couples, we can often assist in recommending hotels, venues, and vendors who are also gay-friendly – click here to see our list of recommended vendors. No matter which of our officiants you work with, you will have a positive, welcoming experience.
Planning a Gay Wedding in DC
Traveling to DC to get married is very easy. We highly recommend flying into Reagan National Airport (DCA), which is located in Arlington, VA, because it has a DC Metro stop on the Yellow Line and you can jump right onto the Metro at the airport and ride right into DC. Dulles Airport (IAD) is about 25 miles west of DC and requires a long cab or bus ride. Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) is also about 25 miles to the Northeast of DC, closer to Baltimore, with limited public transportation options to DC. Traffic in and around DC is among the worst in the US, so we recommend using the DC Metro whenever possible. For our Express Marriage License Signing service, our standard location near the DC Court is directly across the street from the Archives / Navy Memorial / Penn Quarter Metro station on the Yellow Line, so you can take the Metro from Reagan National right to us without changing trains.
DC has some of the best hotels in the world, and many of our gay couples choose to stay in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, which is the epicenter of the LGBT community in DC. There are several hotels in the area, and we specifically recommend Kimpton Hotels and the Carlyle Suites because of their strong commitment to serving gay couples.
DC Elopements Can Help You Today
If you are interested in getting married in Washington, DC we would be honored to help you get legally married in a way that suits you and your partner. Our Marriage Services cover everything from obtaining your marriage license to full-scale wedding ceremonies. For more information, or to check our availability, please contact us today!