How To Perform Marriage in the District of Columbia

A Step-by-Step Guide to Officiating Weddings

Ministers in the District of Columbia : 1,721


Minister Registration Summary

Who Can Perform Marriage?
...every minister of any religious society approved or ordained according to the ceremonies of his religious society, any judge or justice of any court of record
Are AMM Ministry Credentials Recognized?
Yes | Order Your Ministry Credentials
Is government registration required?
Yes | Washington DC Code 46-406
With what office do I need to register?
Superior Court Marriage Bureau
Does my residency affect registration?
No
What is the minimum age for an officiant?
18
Do I need to complete a Gov. application?
Yes
Do I need to provide Gov. ID?
No
Do I need to submit my Ministry Credentials?
No
How much does registration cost?
$35
BECOME AN AMM MINISTER

4 Steps to Performing Marriage in the District of Columbia




Step 1 GET ORDAINED WITH AMERICAN MARRIAGE MINISTRIES

Getting Ordained with American Marriage Ministries is your first step towards performing marriage in District of Columbia. American Marriage Ministries is the only IRS Certified 501c3 Non-Profit that offers online ordinations. Getting ordained with AMM is free, quick, and easy!

Beyond ordination we provide all the information and resources you need to learn how to prepare for and officiate weddings. Whether it is your minister registration requirements, learning how to write a wedding ceremony script, or making sure you understand your legal responsibilities when completing the marriage license, we have you covered!

We welcome people of all walks of life. As long as you have a sincere desire to bring communities together through marriage, it is not important to us if you are religious or non-religious, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. Ordination as an AMM minister is about celebrating our commonalities.

As a Minister of American Marriage Ministries we encourage you to officiate weddings that reflect the values and beliefs of you and the couple. With over 658,818 Ordained Ministers and hundreds of thousands of successful weddings, what are you waiting for?

Apply For Ordination!


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Step 2 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MINISTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

ALL MINISTERS ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER WITH THE DC MARRIAGE BUREAU

Before performing marriage in the District of Columbia you must register as a marriage officiant with the Washington DC Marriage Bureau.

The Marriage Bureau offers two application pathways:





WHICH OFFICIANT APPLICATION SHOULD I USE?

The primary difference between the two applications is their cost. The Officiant application is $35 while the Temporary Officiant application is $25.

If you are not a DC resident or only intend to perform a single wedding we recommend that you register with the Temporary Officiant Application. If you do live in the District of Columbia we recommend that you register with the Officiant Application.

FILING YOUR OFFICIANT APPLICATION WITH THE DC MARRIAGE BUREAU

Once you have your application completed you need to submit it to the DC Marriage Bureau:

District of Columbia Marriage Bureau
Moultrie Courthouse Room JM-690
500 Indiana Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20001

The Marriage Bureau strongly prefers that you submit your application in person. If you are not able to submit the application in person, then contact the Bureau and provide details of your situation:

Phone: (202) 879-4840
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm M-F


There is no guarantee that they will allow your application to be submitted by mail however they may be more accommodating if you communicate your extenuating circumstances. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION!

Provided there are no complications your application should be approved the same day your application is received. Upon approval of your application you will have the authority to perform marriage in the District of Columbia!

KEEP RECORDS OF YOUR MINISTRY CREDENTIALS

You are not required to submit your Ministry Credentials with the DC Marriage Bureau. However, it is good practice to keep official copies for your own records. Proof of your ordination is essential in the event that the couple or government officials request to see proof of your ordination.

We encourage you to order your Minister Ordination Package to keep official copies of your ministry credentials. Your package includes your official Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing. Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by a church officer, dated, and notarized. Your Minister Ordination Package also includes your "AMM Minister's Manual", a valuable resource for guidance on how to officiate weddings.


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Step 3 LEARN HOW TO OFFICIATE WEDDINGS

Chances are good this will be the first wedding you officiate. This undertaking may seem daunting and we are here to guide you through the process. The Wedding Training section of our site will teach you how to officiate weddings like a pro.

We break down the process of preparing for officiating a wedding into simple, easy-to-follow steps. We start with explaining the structure of a wedding ceremony and provide sample wedding ceremonies to help you get an idea of what other people have written.

Once you have the first draft of your wedding ceremony script written, you can follow our guide on officiant best practices for advice on how to polish and practice reading your ceremony script.

ASKED TO OFFICIATE | OFFICIANT TRAINING MANUAL

If you are interested in a thorough resource that covers everything you could ever possibly want to know about officiating a wedding ceremony, we recommend purchasing a copy of our book Asked To Officiate. Originally written by two career wedding officiants, Asked To Officiate draws on their decades of experience officiating hundreds of wedding ceremonies.

Asked To Officiate is also included in our Signature Wedding Officiant Package. This package covers all the bases, including your Ministry Credentials, a Wedding Stole, Asked To Officiate, and your Minister's Manual.


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Step 4 OFFICIATE THE WEDDING!

By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. Have a fun and memorable wedding ceremony! After you have conducted the wedding you have one last and very important job… to complete the marriage license for the couple.

COMPLETING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE

This is your one legal responsibility. Fortunately, it is also an easy task to fulfill. Completing the marriage license simply involves completing your portion of the license and signing it with the couple in the presence of any required witnesses. That's it!

We understand that you want to do everything correctly. That’s why you are the officiant! If you want to know more about what fields you may have to complete on the marriage license and what you should write, check out our Wedding Officiant Guidelines for Completing Marriage Licenses.

RETURNING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE

After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to its issuance office. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister. When the couple receives their marriage license it should also come with instructions as to who must return it and how.

Different states have different deadlines that dictate when the completed marriage license must be returned, so make sure that this duty be done as soon as possible. In most states this is as easy as mailing the marriage license back to the county clerk. Below is more information about District of Columbia marriage licenses.




DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MARRIAGE LICENSE INFORMATION

Prior to the wedding ceremony it is the couple’s responsibility to file for their marriage license. The marriage license issuance office is usually located at the county courthouse. Your job as the wedding officiant is to sign and complete your section of the license. Once the marriage license is completed and returned to the office where it was issued, the marriage is recorded and made legal.

Marriage License Issuance Office

Marriage Bureau

Marriage License Fee

$35

Marriage License Waiting Period

3 Days to Receive

Marriage License Expiration

No Expiration

Marriage License Return

Within 10 Days from Wedding

What Does Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return Mean?


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