Are you thinking about eloping in the Washington DC area, but don’t know where to begin? Elopements are becoming more and more popular here in the DMV for lots of different reasons; the cost of a wedding is top of that list! DC has so many unique locations as a backdrop in the city and couples want to travel here to get married in the nation’s capital; who can blame them!? We have a few pointers and tips to help in the planning process so that you don’t miss anything important before having your own elopement!

Union Station DC Elopement- Jen S Photography (64) Union Station DC Elopement- Jen S Photography (13)

From our Union Station Elopement by JenS Photography

Never feel that your elopement has to be boring; just because your having a smaller more intimate affair doesn’t mean you can’t make it memorable or personal. The most important part of any wedding is the ceremony, and creating your own spin on your nuptials is what makes the day special.

Timing and Legality

When deciding where to hold your elopement, take into consideration the legality of your celebration. In DC and Virginia there is not a wait period for getting your marriage license, however in Maryland you must have your license for 48 hours before your wedding. Also, don’t forget to consider where you are holding your elopement. The ceremony location designates where your license comes from, not your personal residence. If you are getting married in Virginia, you can obtain a license from any county, not just the one you are marrying within.

Giving yourself ample time to research officiants that can legally marry you in your preferred state is also important. This will allow you to find someone who will take the time to work with you to build a ceremony that is not only legal but meaningful to you and your future spouse. Note that if you want to have your ceremony at the DC Courthouse the wait can be up to 6 weeks, so plan accordingly!

Capture the Moment

DC area Photographers and Videographers will often customize their packages for small intimate affairs like elopements or portrait sessions for a reduced cost, especially on non traditional wedding days such as a weekday. Even if your elopement is a smaller affair, you will want someone present to capture your vows and personal moments before and after the ceremony. Always trust a professional to these memories since they are more fleeting than a full out 6 hour wedding!

Union Station DC Elopement- Jen S Photography (3)

Size Matters

We have seen all different sizes for elopements in the DMV, from touching vows shared among the couple and the officiant exclusively, to smaller 10-20 person affairs on the steps of the World War I memorial. The size of your elopement is entirely up to personal preference so do what you feel most comfortable with! For those not invited to your private ceremony, it can sometimes ruffle some feather as they simply want to share in your special day and do not understand not being invited. Send those guests a well thought out email or note before announcing on social media to avoid any hurt feelings, and to share your wonderful news in a much more personal manner.

A little help goes a long way

There are a bevy of great companies in the DC area that offer elopement packages and pop up weddings, such as Pop! Wed Co for those who want to elope yet don’t want to do the planning. Options range from a small picnic for 2 under the shade of the national monuments following the exchanging of vows, to intimate dinners at DC’s hottest restaurants where you can swap vows between courses. Eloping does not have to be quick or secretive to make it fun and stress free!

Location, Location, Locations

If you can think it, I bet you can get married there! (Well, except for the White House – that might be frowned upon by Secret Service!) Always do your research to find out if you need a permit for small gatherings before making firm plans! We love the idea of any of the beautiful parks on the Potomac River, in front of the silver roses of Federal Triangle, or Yards Park in South East DC!

Good luck with your DC area wedding elopement, and make sure to see some more of our favorite ceremony planning articles!

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