How to get married in Washington DC

How to get married in Washington DC

Getting married in Washington DC is popular and it's easy to see why. The whole area is FULL of gorgeous venues, cobblestone streets and grand photo ops, and tons of amazing locales and outdoor opportunities for your guests. You'll need to know how to navigate all the legal requirements for making it official in Washington DC and the surrounding areas.

We've got everything from the nitty-gritty of how to get legally married in Washington DC, to a few of our favorite Washington DC weddings, to special tips for how to save money in Washington DC.

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Tips for planning a wedding in Washington DC

Budgeting efficiently in Washington DC is key as it is an expensive city to get married. But you can totally cut your costs by limiting your guest list, choosing off-season dates, and avoiding heavily trafficked weekends like the National Cherry Blossom Festival in March and April and Fourth of July which is hugely popular with tourists. Check with your venue AND local hotels to see if there any big events that could cause you issues with pricing, parking, and hotel block rates.

Ways to save in your Washington DC wedding budget:

  • Look into non-traditional venues like restaurants for hosting smaller gatherings.
  • Choose in-season flowers for your decor OR opt for no flowers and decorate with items that mean something to you instead (board games? Funko Pop?)
  • Prioritize what's important to you and minimize the rest: if great food and a good photographer are important, see if you can skip things like a limo, a huge cake, and expensive favors.

Washington DC has all four seasons represented so you'll want to be prepared. Rain is likely in all seasons so you'll want a backup plan for outdoor weddings. If you're worried about beating the heat in warmer months which can reach into the 80s, click here for some tips on staying cool.

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How to get legally married in Washington DC

All couples who want to get married in Washington DC must obtain a marriage license. You'll want to see all of the documents and requirements you'll need to fulfill at the District of Columbia Courts.

If you're having a friend officiate your wedding (yep, you totally can in Washington DC!), check here for information on how to get ordained in Washington DC.

Changing your name in Washington DC
If you're planning to change your name after the wedding, get a few copies of your license to have on hand when obtaining your new documents. Hit up your local Social Security office, update your Passport, head to the DMV, and update your voter registration.

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Washington DC wedding officiant requirements

Washington DC does require minister registration before performing a marriage. If you're getting married outside of the city, you should always check with the local city or town clerk to check that your officiant can perform the wedding in that jurisdiction.

Here's more on how to become an officiant in Washington DC.

Source and more info: American Marriage Ministries

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Offbeat Washington DC wedding vendors

You may think finding skilled wedding vendors in Washington DC is easy — it's a small city with an abundance of amazing venues! But you may be overwhelmed with options and might have to do some research to find vendors who work with all budgets and all styles. You can find offbeat-friendly Washington DC wedding vendors in our Vendor Guide including:

Don't miss our online vendors, too, for honeymoon registries, stationery, gifts, ketubahs, rings, guests books, wedding websites, and more.

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What did we miss about getting married in Washington DC?

Email us your wedding planning tips and favorite Washington DC vendors!

Ready to start planning a Washington DC wedding? Head to our Tools page for wedding planning resources, our big planning checklist, editable planning spreadsheets, and TONS of wedding planning help and info.

Wedding Planning Tools


Photo credits: Aarography; Barbara O Photography; Matthew Bender Wedding; Silver Market Photography; Maggie Winters; Anna Kerns

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