Washington DC Covid Wedding Regulations
If you are planning to officiate a wedding in Washington DC, check out our page Get Ordained in Washington DC.
Last updated: 20 December 2020
The information on this page is current as of the above date, but these regulations will change. We urge you to check with the Superior Court Marriage Bureau for the most up-to-date information.
To reduce in-person contact during the pandemic, judges are authorized to officiate civil weddings over video conference. However, ministers are not.
From the ceremony to the paperwork, Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on weddings - getting married is just different right now. Large gatherings are prohibited or strongly discouraged, for obvious public health reasons.
At the moment, the Superior Court Marriage Bureau is only open by appointment, please plan accordingly. Their office is processing applications for marriage licenses remotely and performing weddings by videoconference.
Couples must pick up marriage licenses in-person, at the Superior Court Marriage Bureau. The marriage license application can be started online, but couples must appear in person and present identification to collect the document.
Ministers must register with the Superior Court before performing marriage in DC, but the Marriage Bureau's officiant registration process can be completed online. An application form must be completed and notarized, then emailed to the Marriage Bureau.
These policy changes are temporary and tied to the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the moment we can not predict how long they will remain in effect.
For more information, contact the Superior Court Marriage Bureau. Additional information from the Marriage Bureau is available here.
Superior Court of the District of Columbia Notice of Clerk's Offices Operations:
https://www.dccourts.gov/sites/default/files/Superior-Court-Clerks-Offices-Remote-Operations.pdf District of Columbia Courts Application for Authorization to Celebrate Marriages: https://www.dccourts.gov/services/marriage-matters
COVID-19, social distancing, travel bans, lockdowns… Many couples are being forced to downsize their wedding plans and for many guests, the only way to attend is with their computers and mobile phones.
If your guest list is shrinking to just the couple and officiant, or maybe just the couple, Washington DC marriage laws regulate who must be in attendance, and how the ceremony is conducted. Here are some options to help adapt your wedding plans in Washington DC to celebrate a COVID safe wedding.
For the sake of clarity, we differentiate virtual wedding ceremonies (or Zoom/Skype ceremonies) from livestream ceremonies by who is in attendance. If the officiant is officiating the vows from another place via video, then we call that a virtual or Zoom ceremony, since the people involved in the ceremony are interacting over whatever video platform is chosen.
However, if the couple and the officiant are present, but guests are watching remotely, we call that a livestream wedding since the ceremony itself is happening in one physical place. You can read more about what distinguishes each option here.
You can livestream any activity or event, and it doesn't matter where you are in Washington DC, what you're doing or how many people are physically present with you. Some of the most popular platforms include Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.
As long as you have a tripod and a phone with a good camera on it, your guests will be able to participate remotely. Many of these platforms even allow guests to comment, chat, and interact in other ways.
We realize that this is not always ideal, but ultimately, if couples choose to move forward with scaled down weddings and smaller guests lists, these communications platforms let friends and family around the world know that they are still being thought of.
For folks planning on livestreaming their nuptials, Here's How to Livestream Your Wedding.
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