As they say, Virginia is for lovers, and if you’re a native Virginian, you already know why. From the majestic blue Appalachian mountains to the miles of beautiful Atlantic Coastline, there’s so much about the Old Dominion that will make you fall in love.
If you’re considering getting married in Virginia, we think Norfolk is the perfect place to start the next chapter of your love story. This metropolitan city on the river is full of amenities for couples-to-be, from its diverse array of wedding venues to its fabulous food options.
Whether you’re planning your Norfolk wedding or you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding in town, you’ve come to the right place. We have all the need-to-know legal info about getting married and officiating weddings in the state right here in our guide, plus some extra tips to help make sure your day goes as smoothly as possible. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
Let’s start with the officiant’s responsibilities! If you are not already an ordained minister and you’ve been asked to officiant a ceremony, you can get ordained with AMM for free in just a few minutes.
All officiants in Virginia must also register with the circuit court clerk’s office to become authorized to celebrate the rites of matrimony before they officiate their first wedding, which requires a one-time fee of $31.00 for registration of the certificate. Give them a call at (757) 389-8942 to start the process.
You will also need to produce proof of your ordination, which we can send to you after you register to become ordained with us for a small fee.
Now that the bureaucratic fun is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is an honor, but can feel like a lot of pressure. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
On the day of the wedding, it’s your job to help the couple correctly complete and notarize the marriage license, which is a very simple form. Then, it is also your responsibility to return the license to Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office License, Permits, Finance & Jury Division at 150 St.Paul’s Blvd. on the 7th floor within 5 days of the ceremony. Don’t forget, or the couple won’t be officially married!
To start your marriage license application process, you can request a video call appointment with the county clerk’s office in which you and your partner will present an administrator your IDs, provide your personal information, and swear an oath. You can find a link for instructions on how to start the process here.
If you’d rather not bother with a video call, you can also just drop into the circuit court clerk’s office in person at 150 St Pauls Blvd on the 7th floor. Just remember, both members of the couple must appear.
Whether you schedule a video call or go to the clerk’s office in person, you’ll need to present a valid state-issued ID (driver’s license or passport), know your social security number or Virginia DMV control number, and be prepared to pay $30 for the marriage license application fee. For video calls, credit card payment is necessary. In person, you can also pay with cash or check.
At the end of your appointment, you will be issued your marriage license, which your officiant will help you complete on the day of your ceremony.
Issuance Office: 150 St. Pauls Blvd, 7th floor
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 60 days
Return: By officiant within 5 days of ceremony
Now for some wedding planning tips! When narrowing down your wedding date, try to avoid overlap with the major, highly-attended events that take place in Norfolk, like Harborfest in June or the Waterfront Jazz Festival in August. On those days, traffic and parking will be a nightmare for guests -- not to mention, hotel/accommodation prices will be higher for attendees coming in from out of town. If possible, it’s just better to avoid the headache and pick another date.
There are countless wedding venues to choose from in and around Norfolk, from casual party spots to more traditional establishments of the height of elegance. Here are some of our favorites:
If you’re envisioning an outdoor ceremony in Tree City, Norfolk’s famous Botanical Garden is the perfect spot, with 13 outdoor locations to choose from. There’s also the lovely Pagoda & Oriental Garden right on the river in downtown.
If you’re planning a more upscale, white glove kind of event, The Hilton Hotel (“The Main”) is where it’s at. Its downtown location and chic interior just ooze sophistication. Or, for a more old Hollywood glamour vibe, check out the charming Historic Martin Mansion.
But if you’re not really feeling a traditional wedding venue, you can also host a more casual afterparty-style reception at your favorite bar or restaurant, like everyone’s favorite rooftop brewery, The Grain.
Those are some of the top choices in town, but also note that your Norfolk County-issued marriage license is valid anywhere in the state of Virginia, so if you want to head over to Virginia Beach for a barefoot-in-the-sand kind of wedding, you can!
If you’re coming in from out of town and you don’t want to spend extra money to rent a car, no problem. Downtown is pretty walkable, but you can also utilize the light rail (the Tide’s) 7.5-mile route, which has 11 stops for many of the city’s landmarks. Lyft and Uber are also available in town if you want to skip the hassle. Of public transportation
Virginia has a fairly mild climate, which makes it ideal for weddings. The weather is beautiful from April to October, if you don’t count the occasional summer thunderstorm and some scorching days in August. If you’re planning an outdoor event, late May/early June or October are both great times to do so, as temperatures are ideal.
Yes. All officiants in Virginia must register with a County Clerk before they officiate a wedding. See ‘Step 1.’
There is no waiting period. Once the license is issued, the couple can have their ceremony on the very same day.
Yes, you can use your Norfolk-issued marriage license anywhere in the state of Virginia.
It’s the officiant’s job to return the completed, notarized marriage license to the circuit court clerk’s office within 5 days of the ceremony.
The office of the clerk of court that issued you the license can give you one, or the Virginia Office of Vital Records in Richmond can provide you one for a fee of $12 per copy.