Created and reviewed for accuracy by researchers at the Universal Life Church

District of Columbia Outline

Congratulations! If you've found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Washington D.C. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Washington D.C. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Washington D.C.

DC Wedding Officiant Quick Facts
  • ULC Ordination Accepted: Yes
  • Minister Registration Required: Yes
  • Minister's Residency: Irrelevant
  • Minister's Minimum Age: 18
  • Marriage License Waiting Period: 3 Days
  • Marriage License Valid For: Never Expires
  • Marriage License Return Within: 10 Days

1 How to Become an Ordained Minister in District of Columbia

If you haven't already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!

2 Officiating a Wedding in District of Columbia

Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk). Let them know that you are a minister of the Universal Life Church in Seattle, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage.

Select a marriage bureau

Choose the county you'd like to contact from the dropdown menu above to see their office’s information.

3 District of Columbia Officiant Requirements

After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our online store to purchase whatever documentation will be required. We typically advise ministers in Washington D.C. to get an Ordination Package and to add a Letter of Good Standing to her or his order. Minister registration is required in Washington D.C., you will be required to present proof of your ordination to the local authorities before any marriages you perform will be accepted as having been legally solemnized. As an added bonus, having this proof of your ordination will provide peace-of-mind to any couple that you intend to marry. Additionally, please attempt to leave at least 3 weeks between the date of the wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your materials in advance.

4 How to get Married in District of Columbia

District of Columbia's Top Wedding Spot

the District of Columbia's Top Wedding Spot

Federalist Decatur House built by Benjamin Henry Latrobe in 1818

Now that you've done all of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their Washington D.C. marriage license from the appropriate office. This license never expires, but there is a 3-day mandatory waiting period between when the couple receives the marriage license in Washington D.C. and when the ceremony may be legally performed. Please be aware that the signed license must be returned to the issuing office within 10 days of the completion of the wedding ceremony.

At the Universal Life Church we receive several calls from wedding officiants in Washington D.C., after they've received their license to marry by getting ordained online, asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony. Once the legal matters have been taken care of, officiating a wedding (while a sometimes-daunting task) can be a great deal of fun. We would suggest that new Washington D.C. wedding ministers concerned about the ceremony peruse one of our helpful wedding guides. The minister training section of our website should offer a helpful refresher for more experienced ministers.

5 Washington D.C. Wedding Planning Tips

Planning a wedding in Washington D.C.? There are a few things to consider. October is the most popular month for weddings in the capitol, so you will want to make sure you have your venue booked well in advance as the average couple takes 13 months to plan a DC wedding] This city is a unique setting for a wedding since the recognizable architecture and skyline give the opportunity to capture patriotic feelings in the wedding photos. The rooftop terraces of the city’s aerial wedding venues provide a unique background you can't get anywhere else. Having a wedding ceremony in D.C. can be expensive, as it is one of the most expensive places in the nation to have a wedding. The average cost for a venue s about $7500, with some cost-effective options ranging between $2000-$4000 during peak season. If you're in a money pinch and looking to save, the off season months will have the lowest rates. People often wonder how much a wedding minister should charge in Washington D.C., but the truth is there’s no simple answer – fees can vary widely ($400-$1500) based on experience level, amount of involvement, and other responsibilities the couple might need covered.

District of Columbia Marriage Code

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District of Columbia Marriage Code

Marriage in Washington D.C. is governed by Chapter 4 of Title 46 of the Code of the District of Columbia. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully solemnized thousands of weddings in the district. Below, you will find that we have reproduced a relevant excerpt of this code

§ 46-406. Persons authorized to celebrate marriages. (b) For the purpose of preserving the evidence of marriages in the District of Columbia, a marriage authorized under this chapter may be solemnized by the following persons at least 18 years of age at the time of the marriage: (1) A judge or retired judge of any court of record; (2) The Clerk of the Court or such deputy clerks of the Court as may, in writing, be designated by the Clerk and approved by the Chief Judge of the Court; (3) A minister, priest, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination or society; View the District of Columbia Statutes on the official state site.

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District of Columbia

500 Indiana Ave NW #6000
Washington, District of Columbia

Phone: (202) 879-1010
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