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Last Updated: October 5th, 2023

10 Essential Facts to Know Before Officiating a Wedding in Washington DC

The facts below cover all the important aspects of what requirements you need to meet to be able to legally officiate a wedding ceremony in Washington DC.


Who Can Officiate Weddings in Washington DC?

This is the relevant exerpt from the Washington DC Code § 46-406.

" (a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Religious" includes or pertains to a belief in a theological doctrine, a belief in and worship of a divine ruling power, a recognition of a supernatural power controlling man's destiny, or a devotion to some principle, strict fidelity or faithfulness, conscientiousness, pious affection, or attachment.

(2) "Society" means a voluntary association of individuals for religious purposes.

(b) For the purpose of preserving the evidence of marriages in the District of Columbia, every minister of any religious society approved or ordained according to the ceremonies of his religious society, whether his residence is in the District of Columbia or elsewhere in the United States or the territories, may be authorized by any judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to celebrate marriages in the District of Columbia. Marriages may also be performed by any judge or justice of any court of record; provided, that marriages of any religious society which does not by its own custom require the intervention of a minister for the celebration of marriages may be solemnized in the manner prescribed and practiced in any such religious society, the license in such case to be issued to, and returns to be made by, a person appointed by such religious society for that purpose. The Clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or such deputy clerks of the Court as may, in writing, be designated by the Clerk and approved by the Chief Judge, may celebrate marriages in the District of Columbia. "

Basically, this means that as long as you are ordained through any church, you can officiate weddings.


Are Online Ordinations Recognized in Washington DC?

Yes. All online ordained ministers, including those ordained through AMM are recognized in Washington DC.

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Is Government Registration Required to Officiate a Wedding in Washington DC?

Yes. All officiants must register with the Washington DC DC Marriage Bureau before they officiate a wedding.


What Office Do I Register with Before Officiating a Wedding in Washington DC?

The DC Marriage Bureau in Washington DC is responsible for officiant registration.


What is the Minimum Legal Age to Officiate a Wedding in Washington DC?

All Wedding Officiants in Washington DC must be at least 18 years old.


Does my Residency Affect the Registration Process?

No. Your state or country of residence is irrelevant to the officiant registration process in Washington DC.


Does the Washington DC Government Provide an Application I Need to Complete?


Do I Need to Submit Proof of my Ministry Credentials to the Washington DC Government?

No. However it is a good idea to keep personal copies of your Ministry Credentials for your own records.


How Much Does the Officiant Registration Process Cost in Washington DC?

It will cost you about $25 - $35 to register as a wedding officiant in Washington DC.


How Long Does it Take to Register as a Wedding Officiant in Washington DC?

Depends. We recommend that you begin your registration Up To 5 Days before the wedding.

Washington DC Officiant Registration Step-by-Step Instructions

For a more detailed guide on how to complete the officiant registration process in Washington DC, check out our Washington DC Officiant Registration page by clicking the button below.



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